Scientists share the funny side of their research

Plus: artistic surprises at the National Botanic Gardens

Dr Jessamyn Fairfield, an organiser of Bright Club Dublin and improv performer

Dr Jessamyn Fairfield, an organiser of Bright Club Dublin and improv performer

 

Science is a serious endeavour, but there’s room for joking around too. The rib-tickling aspects of research are encouraged at Bright Club Dublin, an event where scientists and engineers get onstage, mix with musicians and comedians and deliver a humorous routine about their research.

Later this month a new crop of volunteers will perform comedy routines on subjects including neuroscience, zoology and lasers. They will rub shoulders with professional performers as they step into the limelight.

But before they take to the stage, the academics undergo improvisation training with researcher-turned-performer Dr Niamh Shaw.

“I am trying to get people in a very comfortable frame of mind so that they don’t self-edit or self-censor when they are thinking about what they are saying,” says Shaw. “What usually happens is that naturally funny stuff comes out of people’s mouths without them even realising it, and they discover some of the quirks of the area of science in which they work. They can think off-the-cuff, and it’s a good place to start to overcome analysis by paralysis.”

Bright Club Dublin events book out fast, and the diverse line-ups prove popular with audiences, according to organiser and improv performer Dr Jessamyn Fairfield, a postdoctoral researcher in nanotechnology at the Amber Centre in Trinity College Dublin, which supports the initiative.

  • The next event is on September 23rd at 7.30pm in 4 Dame Lane, Dublin. Book tickets at eventbrite.ie

 

 

Artistic surprises at the National Botanic Gardens

For the coming month or so, the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, Dublin, will host the annual Sculpture in Context exhibition.

It will run until mid-October and it features more than 150 sculptures, including life-size works and large installations in the gardens, ponds and glasshouses and smaller pieces in the gallery above the visitor centre.

Sculpture in Context fuses nature with art, providing the artists with an opportunity to exhibit large-scale pieces in an alternative to the gallery setting,” says Felicity Gaffney of the National Botanic Gardens.

The exhibition aims to encourage visitors to engage with art and plants together in a natural setting, she adds.

“[It] encourages people to look at nature in a different light, and people are more inclined to stop and engage with plants and nature as they stop and look at the piece, at times wondering at the context and why a piece is positioned in a certain place.”

Entry to the National Botanic Gardens is free and artist-led tours through the exhibition take place on Saturdays at 3pm. General tours of the gardens, at 11.30am and 3pm daily, will include pieces from the exhibition.

  • A children’s drop-by activity, Sculpture in Chaos, will run in the new Children’s Garden on Saturdays, 2.30pm-4.30pm, throughout the exhibition. Sculpture in Context runs in the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, until October 16th. sculptureincontext.com
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