Bath Spa researchers took part in FUTURES2020, an online festival aiming to bring academic research to life. Dr Kayla Rose, our International Projects Manager, tells us more.

On 27 - 28 November 2020, researchers from Bath Spa University were part of European Researchers’ Night at FUTURES2020, a unique public engagement collaboration between the University of Bath, Bath Spa University, University of Bristol, University of Exeter and University of Plymouth. 

The European Researchers’ Night project engaged a wide range of people in research and innovation, showcasing the South West of England’s rich cultural heritage. Funded by the European Commission under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions, the programme of over 30 events spanned more than 300 cities across 30 European countries.

Bath Spa’s contribution

Bath Spa researchers led and contributed to events managed by both Bath Spa University and University of Bristol. Here’s a quick round up:

Writing Futures!

Paper Nations, in association with the Research Centre for Transcultural Creativity and Education (TRACE) at Bath Spa University, delivered Writing Futures! – an online workshop for year 5 and year 6 classes at Roundhill Primary School in Bath. 

This workshop built upon the success of the 2019 Writing: Futures! event, created by Chris Vick and Sophie Dumont, and Dare to Write? creative workshops, created by Bambo Soyinka (Professor of Story at Bath Spa) following extensive research with authors and educators about what inspires and supports writing to flourish.

The workshop was led by children's author Chris Vick and poet and short-fiction writer Sophie Dumont, who introduced school children to the concept of storytelling through discovery. Children were empowered to write their own simple short stories and poems, and share their work with their peers to improve their writing and confidence, while exploring how to use creative writing to create new worlds and explore them. There was a really positive reaction from students and teachers, and Paper Nations will be bringing the workshop to more schools in the near future. 

Curiosity Carousel - Future Food

Originally scheduled in person, Curiosity Carousel was reimagined as an online conference, delivered on two virtual floors with around 30 projects represented by the consortium of universities. Dr Anil de Sequeira (External Affairs Coordinator for Biology) talked about his work on Future Food – What will be on our plates? as part of the Curiosity Carousel. He also developed We taste with our eyes?, an at home activity for parents and their children delivered as part of the Discover and Discuss event.

“I was excited to be part of this event and enthuse the public and young minds of the joy of doing science and its role in aiding to solve the global challenges, connecting citizens of the world through our use of digital tools, as we continue to battle with Covid-19”. Dr Anil de Sequeira

Curiosity Carousel - And....Action! 

Dr Sarah Hobbs (Postdoctoral Research Assistant) and Dr Ian Thornhill (Lecturer - Environmental Management and Nature Conservation) brought their RESPiRES project to the Curiosity Carousel as part of a virtual table entitled And....Action! Exploring people's interactions with urban nature through films made on phones

Dr Hobbs gave an introduction to the project, focusing specifically on their participatory compilation of videos from Bristol volunteers showing their interactions with blue spaces, for example ponds, rivers, lakes, and streams, and discussing how they value them. Thereafter, the visitors to their virtual table were invited to select and view one of these videos and discuss any element of the project with the RESPiRES team. 

It was a great opportunity for the RESPiRES team to showcase a novel component of their study, and to promote an online survey to a wider audience to build on this area of research. If you too would like to tell the RESPiRES team about the blue spaces near you, they would love you to take part in their ongoing survey.

Researchers' Tales

Richard White (Senior Lecturer – Media Practice) performed a short story about his research and what it means to be a researcher in front of a live audience via Zoom.  As a walking artist working with media and developing performative critical heritage interventions, story is a key element in his practice, so he jumped at the opportunity to participate in a preparatory two day storytelling workshop led by Clare Muireann Murphy, an internationally-renowned storyteller. He offered a story about researching for a walk retracing Isaac Newton’s walk to school in Grantham, reflecting on the Enlightenment, Enclosures and another Grantham scholar, Margaret Thatcher.

“It was a tremendous experience, brilliant convivial learning as all good learning should be. As well as all the science stuff I learned by just being in the room and all the amazing life stories and motivations of the researchers, I really learned about storytelling. And it really is in the telling. Getting into the groove of the openings and closings, transitions and cycles, skipping ducks and drakes stones of ideas and information in a reasonably entertaining way. And not writing it down! Performed!” Dr Richard White

European Discovery Map

Additional contributions by Professor John Strachan (Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research and Enterprise), Professor Amanda Bayley (Professor of Music) and Dr Kayla Rose (International Projects Manager) can be seen on the European Discovery Map.

Further information about the project is available at FUTURES2020.

Disclaimer: The Bath Spa blog is a platform for individual voices and views from the University's community. Any views or opinions represented in individual posts are personal, belonging solely to the author of that post, and do not represent the views of other Bath Spa staff, or Bath Spa University as an institution.



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