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Science Cafés have become pretty boring. The world needs exciting new dialogue formats. Here come the Finns with Confession Session. It is as simple as this: Learn from your mistakes! These confession events can be done as part of a networking event, where a group of scientists share their experiences with one another. Usually conducted in an informal setting, where anyone can contribute a story.

This can be done using a talking stick or totem, those with the talking stick are the only ones who are able to talk at this time. Once a story is complete, the talking stick is then passed on to the next speaker.

Target Audience
  • Adult citizens
  • Families
  • Teenagers

You can do it with all those groups, but we did it with professionals from different fields like public engagement or the cultural and creative sector.



In order to have a greater icebreaking impact on the attendees, it would have been better to arrange this kind of community and identity-building workshop at the very start of the conference. This is true of all similarly interactive methods. If the group is small and the use of a microphone is unnecessary, anything easily throwable can be used as a “talking stick”. It gives a structure to interactions and keeps the discussion lively. Also, providing rewards for the confessions adds to the appeal of the session. These sorts of events could be organized online using a video conferencing app.


 Project Timeline

Time Activity
Months in advance ●      Venue hire and provisional setting of dates for the events



●      Contacting participants to confirm their availability

●      Poster design and Press release writing

Weeks in advance ●      Marketing: poster distribution, Facebook event



●      Meet with some “confessors” to chat about their presentation

On the day ●      Prepare audio equipment

 Single Event Structure

Time Activity
30-60 mins ●      One or several short informal presentations
30-60 mins ●      Open up to the audience to share their confessions
60-90 mins ●      Refreshments with an optional interactive session


In 2017, the confession session concept was experimented with at EXSITE 2017 in Porto, using a twist: The confessions were centred around the seven cardinal sins. At the European Conference for Science Journalists ECSJ 2017 in Copenhagen, the session was repeated with Mikko Myllykoski and his colleague Ulla Järvi in a similar fashion.

Official Site of the Fuckup Events Worldwide (