Physics and Rock’n’Roll : Expanding to New Audiences
January 22, 2021
A team of CERN staff and associates has organised public engagement and education activities at a variety of non-scientific venues. The core team now brands itself the Big Bang Collective, and local partners are engaged in each case, bringing in local knowledge and expertise. The principle recurring festivals that have been targeted are the WOMAD Festival (Charlton Park, UK, since 2016), joined from 2019 by Roskilde (Dk), Colours of Ostrava (Cz) and Pohoda (Sk). The goal of this effort is to engage new audiences who normally would not be drawn to science festivals and to investigate our ability to communicate scientific messages to broad, diverse audiences. Most of these festivals aim to present the broader culture, rather than just music; but none have a specifically scientific theme. They attract differing demographics, requiring individual customisation of the programme. In each case, the audience is not attending for the science, and have different prior levels of engagement. The results have been impressive, with ‘meaningful engagement’ (i.e. interactions upwards of 15 minutes) with over 20,000 people in 2019. We describe the presentation material and format, the hands-on workshops, and other methods employed, as well as lessons learned on how to best optimise audience engagement in each case.
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