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A scientist walks into a bar: exploring science communication through science comedy

Bankes, Edward Thomas; (2020) A scientist walks into a bar: exploring science communication through science comedy. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Science comedy has gained increasing interest within science communication and public engagement [SC/PE], as a tool that might benefit both the public and SC/PE practitioners, providing new ways for the public to engage with science and offering practitioners new opportunities to perform science in public and become socialised into the world of SC/PE. This thesis focuses primarily on the role of science comedy in the development of SC/PE practitioners, through an ethnographic case study of a cohort-based SC/PE training scheme that taught SC/PE through comedy. Through observations of performance nights, training events and the group’s online communication over a 14-month period, as well as interviews with participants, the study focuses of three facets of training that emerged as concerns for participants’ learning: how to be a ‘good’ science communicator, how to manage the role of the ‘public’ in SC/PE and the notions of change, transformation and purpose in narrating practice. Through a theoretical lens drawing from science and technology studies, Bourdieu and Communities of Practice, the thesis characterises training as part of broader project to build a world for science communicators. The findings of this study suggest that the process of learning science communication consisted primarily in learning how to belong within a local community and to adhere to its rules, rather than a technical enterprise of skill acquisition or more abstract engagement with ‘publics’, ‘science’ or ‘society’. The meaning and use of the ‘public’ or the ‘purpose’ of SC/PE emerged as means of regulating this local space, as means to negotiate positions within the field and their relationships with one another. The contribution of the thesis is to highlight how SC/PE has been constructed and sustained as a site that might, often unintentionally, best serve the interests of science communicators, rather than the ‘public’.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: A scientist walks into a bar: exploring science communication through science comedy
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author [year]. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Science and Technology Studies
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10106126
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