The Edinburgh International Science Festival returns in April packed with useful events for communicators.
As a Science graduate, I’m always amazed at how allergic professional communicators can be the world of science and evidence based practice. Research and insight (specifically from the study of psychology) can spark great ideas or remedy a bad one. As we move into world where proof of our effectiveness will be the expectation not the exception there has never been a better time to get to grips with a bit of scientific thinking.
Events like the Edinburgh International Science Festival are here for this very purpose. They make big ideas accessible without stripping their potential or trivializing them as soundbites.
So to help, I’ve read the programme for this year’s festival back to front and selected a handful of events that will enlighten, entertain and count towards your professional development.*
- Spotlight On: Serious Games (Friday, 17 April) takes a look at gamification and how it is being used in business, healthcare and the arts. How can gamification be used in your comms activity?
- Communicators exist to change people’s thoughts and behaviours. But what exactly are we messing with? The truth is we don’t really know. A panel discussion (Tuesday, 7th April) with a philosopher, a neuroscientist and an artificial intelligence pioneer looks at how the meaty mass of nerve cells and connections in our brain gives rise to the sensations, thoughts and emotions we call consciousness.
- In Games For Everyone, By Everyone (Wednesday, 8th April), Dr Jo Twist, CEO of the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment will discuss diversity in computer games. It’s not just the PR industry that is trying to become more diverse and equality is high up the agenda in Scotland.
- Are you trying to get your head around big data? Big Solutions in Big Data (Thursday, 16th April) take a look at the challenges and possibilities around turning big data into behavioural insight. How this could shape communications will be up to you.
- Social Media: Spying? Sentiment? Source of data? (Thursday, 9 April) Three good questions that organisations big and small deal with everyday. This discussion includes the opportunity to explore academic tools being developed to curate and analyse social media.
- Public relations is increasingly interested in algorithmic computation. Everyday we are faced with algorithms such as Google Search results, Facebook post displays and spam filters on our emails. Are you comfortable with ideas behind the growth of ‘web intelligence’ (Tuesday, 14 April) through increasingly sophisticated algorithms?
- Public relations is often described as an art and language as our pallette. There is a long and interesting body of science around language and how it work that is useful for communicators. Speaking Our Minds, (Wednesday, 15 April) examines the fundamental question of what comes first, language or thought.
If you don’t see anything above to whet your imagination then have a look at the full programme and let some science into your life. There’s everything from the science of music to the science of food to discover.
*Probably – in the end, it’s up to the CPD people .