Session 2B - Play and performance

Room 3.22

Mun or bust: how Kerbal Space Program facilitates engagement between astrophysicists and lay publics

Osnat Katz (University of Manchester, UK)

Although more than 2.3 billion people worldwide play video games, there is still little literature on their use in public engagement. Interviews conducted with scientists who play Kerbal Space Program, a space simulation game where users build spacecraft and send them to different planets, show that creating a social space where scientists and non-scientists can interact facilitates this engagement. The game’s open-ended nature also helps to foster engagement, as do its mechanics. Understanding how game mechanics and dynamics may facilitate engagement between experts and non-experts may lead to better practice in creating games designed to engage lay publics.

The Great Escape: Exploring ‘Escape Rooms’ as science communication interventions

Hannah Little (University of the West of England, UK)

Escape rooms are a cultural phenomena, whereby a group of players are locked in a room and must solve a series of clues, puzzles, or mysteries in order to escape. They potentially offer a holistic, human centred and play-based approach to learning. In this contribution, we will present information on the scope and objectives of science-themed escape rooms, garnered from in set of interviews with institutions running them in museums and science centres across the UK and USA. We have found a range of objectives ranging from communicating science, attracting underserved groups, and financial gain.

Science, theatre and the power of context: A reception study of the play Life of Galileo  

Carla Almeida (Museum of Life/Fiocruz, Brazil)

Science & theatre has gained increasing attention in science communication in Brazil. But the academic literature on the subject is scarce and, largely, foreign. In order to understand the various facets of science and theatre interaction, a group of researchers in Rio de Janeiro are investigating the theme. At the conference, Carla Almeida will present the results of a study conducted with the public of Life of Galileo, by Bertolt Brecht, presented at Museum of Life/Fiocruz. The focus will be to show how spectators updated the play, making associations between the context in which Galileo lived and their own context.