Even though I'm always promoting the power of digital media as a tool of communication I also love to attend live events that showcase the latest research and ideas in interesting ways.
So I thought it might be fun to start a monthly 'What's On' post highlighting some of the most interesting talks, debates, exhibitions and performances happening across the UK that relate to research communications in some way.
Apologies that the following list is somewhat London-centric. That's where I'm based so I'm more tapped into what's happening down here but I'll try to look further afield in future posts!
- Swearing Is Good For You: 7pm to 8.30pm, 8th Feb, Royal Institution, London
For something that is so good for us, swearing gets a bad rap. Science writer Emma Byrne will explore the close connection between bad language and our emotions. She will shed light on the latest in the neuroscience and origins of swearing.
The event will be hosted by Katie Silver of the BBC.
- Climate Change, Uncertainty and Predicting the Future: 11am - 12pm, 9th Feb, Cambridge Central Library
'The Prediction Machine is an interactive artwork based on end of the pier fortune telling machines, which tracks moments of climate change, prints out a climate fortune for 30 years time and asks you to make a promise in response. It is currently touring the UK and will be appearing on the first floor of Cambridge Central Library from Saturday 3rd – Sunday 18th February.
Come along to meet the artist Rachel Jacobs with Dr John King, Senior Scientist at the British Antarctic Survey and join a discussion about the future, uncertainty, climate change and the polar regions. Hosted by Cambridge Carbon Footprint.'
- Is God Really Dead? Why Belief Matters, 6.30pm - 8pm, 12th Feb, Old Theatre, London School of Economics
'Throughout most of the 20th century, there was a rumour that secularisation was a worldwide phenomenon; by the 21st century, however, diversification was emerging as a more prominent theme. But by then, many of the social sciences had abandoned the study of religion, being either blind to, or uninterested in, the ways in which religious, spiritual and fundamentally atheistic beliefs were affecting not only lives at the individual level, but also the political, economic and cultural institutions of society.
This talk will argue, with a variety of illustrations, that the sociological study of religions is essential for a comprehensive understanding of our contemporary global society. It will maintain that we must get to know them better.'
- RSA Salon: The True Cost of Food, 6pm - 7.15pm, 13th Feb, RSA House, London
'There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but at the moment we seem to be paying for ours twice. Getting a great deal at the supermarket belies the actual cost of reversing the damage caused by intensive agricultural methods, and bolstering the health service which assumes the costs of treating diet-related diseases.
Addressing these challenges requires meaningful public dialogue. This special RSA Salon is an invitation to a conversation about the sort of society we wish to build post-Brexit, and a collaborative discussion space to spark fresh insights and galvanize civic action.'
- Beveridge 2.0 Festival: 19th - 24th Feb, LSE
'Some 75 years on, LSE offers a series of public engagement activities to shine a light on the "Five Giants" identified in the Beveridge report, re-cast for the 21st century and for the global context. Originally described as Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness, today’s giants are framed as the challenges of poverty; health and social care; education and skills; housing and urbanisation; and the future of work.
We will also be considering the interconnectedness of the themes. Cross-cutting questions, such as the issues of rights and expectations of citizens with respect to welfare provision; questions of who decides, who provides and who pays for welfare provision; and sustainability – financial, environmental and social will be addressed, along with the identification of ‘missing Giants’ that a modern day Beveridge would prioritise instead.'
- Human Rights in an age of Trump and Brexit: 5pm - 6.30pm, Thursday 22nd Feb, British Academy Event, Queen’s University Belfast
'To what extent do the politics of Brexit and of President Trump affect human rights? Polarised debates about UK, European, and US politics and society have seen different anxieties expressed, and rival futures advocated. In this public discussion, two of the world's leading thinkers consider the continuities, complexities, and transformations involved in what some have seen as a new era of Western politics.'
- Whales Beneath the Surface: Throughout February at the Natural History Museum, London (kids go free!)
'Dive through one of the world's most compelling evolutionary journeys in this family exhibition.
More than 100 specimens from the Museum's collection will be on display together for the first time, from parts of a colossal blue whale to a small harbour porpoise.
Explore whales, dolphins and porpoises' extraordinary adaptations to their underwater environments, and learn how they are similar to us.
Travel back 50 million years to the beginning of the evolution of the whale. See how whales became sociable, aquatic mammals, some of which can communicate over vast distances.'