MSc Science Communication & Future Media #MSF17 GameLab Residential

Last year, four University of Salford MSc students were let loose at the 2017 Manchester Science Festival GameLab event at MediaCityUK.

Our task, to take over the UoS Snapchat and Instagram public platforms. There were ethical issues to consider here, what with there being minors present, so posters warning parents that filming and photos would be taken were displayed around the site. Those who didn’t want to take part could wear stickers to make filmmakers aware.

Our a plan of action. For the Scicomm Space blog we decided to film a walk through of each floor, presenting the public’s view of GameLab. To take photos and conduct video interviews with the science communicators of what they were doing, their perspectives and aims at GameLab.

Click picture for video of Science in the House

With Snapchat and Instagram on phones and ipads, like a bunch of excited kids let loose in a sweet shop game faces on we were ready! Set! Go! Photos and videos were taken of Bioselfies, Science in the House, AquAIRum, Device D, What Colour is your Pain, and virtual reality was everywhere.

Damon took over Instagram. I filmed the walk through of the ground floor. Just as I completed filming,our first technical issue, the battery was low and the memory was full, preventing further filming.

Coffee and brainstorming a plan B was needed.

Plan B was to download the walkthrough footage to free up memory and charge the battery: which took longer than anticipated. I took over Instagram, I was a little keen. I took photos and videos of everything. Which I later learnt from the team debrief, that too much information in quick succession, was in fact annoying!

Click picture for video of AquaAIRum Installation Film

Instagram and Snapchat are platforms that utilises photographs, hashtags and minimal text to reach a wide audience: a contextual model for scicomm as it has a two way dialogue. I was new to Instagram. I had not utilised hashtags as well as I could of. Instead of going photograph crazy, I should of taken my time, been selective on what I posted with amusing descriptive captions. And maybe utilised hashtags to reach a wider audience on Instagram stories.

Click picture for video of Device D performance

Snapchat and Instagram were a challenge for scicomm as they were literally snapshots and brief videos. Instagram stories are only available for 24 hours and after that the content is no longer available. It was great was showing the public what was on at the event by creating a story of photos and videos: a one way deficit scicomm model (Hetland, 2016; Miah, 2017), but lacked depth. The MSc student Scicomm Space website blog post: GAMELAB INTRODUCTION (Wilshaw, Reid, Parnell & Aquilini, 2017) contains more information and connected media. A more in depth way to communicate science, that using Miah’s (2017) fourth model, could be shared on various social media platforms,with links to the post, enabling the contextual model of two way dialogue and public engagement model of wider public participation (Hetland, 2016; Miah, 2017) be utilised. The GameLab event used the public engagement and Miah’s fourth model (Miah, 2017) as it involved a wide public participation, citizen science and social media.

Click picture for more information

Reference list

Hetland, P. (2016). Models in Science Communication Policy. Nordic Journal of Science and Technology Studies. 2(2), 5–17.

Hill, M. (2016, September 27). The pros and cons of main stream media platforms [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.vertical-leap.uk/blog/pros-cons-of-social-media-platforms/

Lake, F. (2017, August). Videoing the public (including at events) — legal & ethical issues. Retrieved from https://www.fionalake.com.au/blog/social-media-and-farmers/videoing-the-public-including-at-events-legal-ethical-issues/

Miah, A. (2017). Nanoethics, Science Communication, and a Fourth Model for Public Engagement. NanoEthics. 11(10), 139–152.

Wilshaw, P., Reid, D., Parnell, M., & Aquilini, E. (2017, November 13) GAMELAB INTRODUCTION [Blog post] retrieved from https://scicomm.space/gamelab/2017/11/13/gamelab-walkthrough