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Pint of Science

Posted on 03/06/2014
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Behind the Curtain: Organising Pint of Science Festival for King's Geography

Pint of Science (PoS) is a 3 day festival aimed at getting leading scientists to talk about their work with the general public in the pub over a pint. There are 4 subject areas: Mind, Body, Earth and Physical. Geography students Anna Turbelin and Zhang Tianran coordinated and organised the King's contributions to this year's London arm of the Fe stival.

This is their story:

In January 2014, we were contacted by Lucy Stott and Pat O'Brien, th e King's coordinators for the Pint of Science festival asking if we would be interested in running 'Earth'. With no hesitation we decided to get involved with this exciting new, up and coming festival. The concept of sharing scientific research at the pub truly appealed to us! Not only does the pub provide a delightfully relaxed atmosphere for both the speakers and the general public, it also serves as a neutral ground to facilitate communication.

As managers for 'Earth' we were in charge of finding a pub venue for hire over 3 days in London, recruiting speakers and coordinating the nights. Finding a pub venue is a tedious but fun exercise. It has to meet certain criteria, i.e. by available for hire on those 3 nights, not be ridiculously expensive, relatively easy access, and the list goes on! We took on the challenge and after trying out a few venues we opted for the lovable Tamesis Dock floating pub on the Albert Embankment.

Recruiting speakers was quite a beneficial task for us as first year PhD students as we got to engage with members of the department and learn more about what the geography department offered. It was a challenge to find speakers available on the festival dates. One thing we were reminded of is that geographers travel a lot for fieldwork and conferences during the spring time!

Coordinating the nights was a great experience. Preparing the event on the first day is always a bit of a rush: we had to transport the equipment to the pub, ensure the venue was clearly sign posted, set up the chairs, etc. But once the microphone and the projector are working, the public is seated, their attention is switched on and the first speaker starts talking, then you can relax and enjoy the show. All the work done promoting and organising the event really pays off. The positive feedback and buzz generated by the event only makes us look forward to organising Pint of Science festival next year! 

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