When Oscar met Nobel – Utilising performance skills when communicating science to the public.

Professional development


Friday 24 February


Tower Room


Gregory Rowbotham

Cosmos Consultant and Science Communicator

International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR)


The STEM acronym has taken hold quite firmly in the minds of educators around the world. This has led to a stronger focus on the importance of students being literate in these disciplines, as it makes them better able to thrive in modern society, even if their chosen career path does not directly fit into science, technology, engineering or maths. However, as Sousa & Pilecki (2013) point out in their book “From STEM to STEAM”, the application of the Arts into STEM based learning can lead to students being much more engaged and be able to relate with the subject matter much more deeply. In short, it can be argued that adding Arts to STEM teaching creates a more integrated, enjoyable and successful learning environment.

As a Science communicator it is very important to not only have an excellent grasp on your chosen scientific discipline, but be able to interact with your audience in an engaging fashion. If nobody wants to listen to you then you might as well not be speaking. Science Communication is not only verbal, but physical and emotional. Performance skills, both vocal and physical, will allow you to create a healthy dialogue with your audience. From voice training, public speaking or even improvised theatre skills, if you train yourself to communicate effectively by adding Arts to STEM then you will never run out of STEAM. Gregory will give some practical ideas on how to integrate performance skills utilising his year of experience performing and teaching Improvised Theatre.

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