Helen Barron takes the Unit’s outreach programme to Oxford’s streets

Helen Barron takes the Unit’s outreach programme to Oxford’s streets

Earlier this month, Unit scientist Dr. Helen Barron took her research to the streets of Oxford as part of an outreach event run in partnership with Soapbox Science, a novel public engagement platform that focuses on promoting women scientists and the science they do.

The event paired scientists with artists, encouraging them to work together to communicate challenging scientific concepts in new and exciting ways. A public space within Oxford was transformed into an arena where members of the public could take the opportunity to learn from, interact with, and question the scientists. Helen worked with musician Natasha Zielazinski and, together, they used music and song to communicate how memories are stored in the brain and expressed at the time of recall. Helen’s descriptions of her own research were interleaved with musical sessions in which audience members were invited to play the part of ‘neurons’. As neurons, the audience members used clapping and song to transfer information between themselves. This illustrated how electrical signals are passed between neurons, but also showed how ensembles of neurons can work together to support memory.

Helen commented “The event was great fun - it provided an opportunity for me to explore novel ways to communicate my research to the general public. Our audience were eager to hear about neuroscience research, to ask questions, and engage in debate. Soapbox Science events such as this one provide a great platform to raise the profile of female scientists, and I would encourage other scientists to get on a soapbox and try it for themselves!”

Related Group :