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Title: A scientist walks into a bar : exploring science communication through science comedy
Author: Bankes, Edward Thomas
ISNI:       0000 0004 9353 4123
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2020
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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’.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available