Gallomanor was approached by the Wellcome Trust to run a live version of I’m a Scientist as part of the Wellcome Trust / Barbican Wonder Season in conjunction with the BNA Festival of the Brain in March and April 2013.
The deliverables were:
- 2 Weekender heats
- Final in Barbican Cinema One with a paying audience
- IAS Zone to accommodate questions submitted by public during weekender.
Gallomanor delivered the events but a lack of questions from the public outside of the events meant we did not need the IAS Zone.
The events were a great success. The Weekender heats had capacity audiences; the final was sold out. We succeeded in recruiting excellent scientists, but it was harder than expected. We had to do more cajoling and encouraging than originally anticipated. This surprised us as we expected that more scientists would be keen to join in a Wellcome Trust event.
Key learning points:
- The live version of the event works really well
- Helen Arney was a brilliant MC
- Keeping the format simple works best and causes less stress
- Using coloured voting cards and getting the scientists to co-ordinate was the best idea this year
- Electronic voting cards work well too
- The public are not likely to submit questions in advance of an event. They need the context and a scientist to react to.
- Weekender events estimated audience: 150 at each
- Wide mix of ages from 1 – 80+, no bias towards men or women
- The final was sold out. 260 tickets were sold and 20 comps allocated to the Wellcome Trust and guests. On the night however, only 218 people turned up. Evidence based on responses from voting cards.
Of those there, 9.5% were attending the BNA Conference, and 65% were not scientists;
the audience enjoyed the final;
learnt a lot;
and now have more questions about brains.
These charts should be treated with some caution. 35% of respondents also claimed to have no brain.
The budget for the project did not include a formal evaluation, but anecdotally the scientists enjoyed the experience: