The Physiological Society
The Physiological Society picks a theme each year to guide their annual public engagement efforts and in 2017 it was the year of Stress. The society commissioned us to come up with an animation exploring the issue of Exam Stress, aimed at students of 15 - 18 years of age. The goal of the animation was to help students understand the science behind why they feel stressed around exam time and to provide a series of useful tips to help them cope with excessive stress and anxiety.
Engaging the Public Through Animation
As with all animations the first step is to create a script that will bring the subject to life. To do this we put together a team of writers and specialist science communication researchers to research and brainstorm ideas but because the animation was aimed at a very specific demographic - students in their mid to late teens - we wanted to seek their input from the outset, to make sure the final film really resonated with them and addressed the issues that they most needed help with.
We met a group of students from a London sixth form college for a general discussion about their perceptions of stress around exams and to hear their suggestions of what would make for a truly engaging animation about the subject.
The focus group was invaluable and gave us a really clear sense of what the content and style of the animation should be.
Bringing Science to Life
Having met with the students we set out to create an animation that would be informative, humorous, optimistic and bright.
Using bespoke illustrations we created a style that would allow the viewer to experience what exam stress does to students, as well as diving inside the body to see what's driving it.
IN order to ensure that the science was accurate we worked throughout the process with a team of consultant scientists who helped us to craft something that was engaging and entertaining but also spot-on from a science point-of-view.
The Physiological Society was really happy with the end result, with the animation performing well on social media, racking up several thousand views in its first few days. It is an evergreen piece of content that will continue to attract attention around exam time for years to come, serving to promote the work of the Physiological Society amongst young people.