Soapbox Science

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Description

Soapbox Science is a public outreach platform that promotes women working in science and the research that they do. The events turn public spaces into an area for learning and debate in the spirit of “Hyde Park’s Speaker’s Corner”. Soapbox Science encourages scientists to explain their research to members of the public using non-traditional methods (for example, there is no use of a projector or slides).

Speakers typically make props at home to explain the processes behind their research. This helps to bring cutting-edge science to the public in an accessible, fun, free, and un-intimidating way. Unlike other science events, a ‘Soapbox’ audience will not have necessarily planned to come and learn about science – instead, they happen across a bunch of world-class scientists as they stroll down the streets! Because of this, the event is unique among science outreach ventures, in that it has the potential to inspire people who never usually get exposed to science. Moreover, it is accessible to anyone, irrespective of education or financial means. Finally, there cannot be a more ‘green’ and sustainable way of disseminating science and engaging with the public: there are no expensive exhibits, constructions, pavilions, props, or speaker fees; it is highly portable, reproducible, and flexible in its theme.

In case you did not know, a soapbox is a raised platform on which one stands to make an impromptu speech. The term originates from the days when speakers would elevate themselves by standing on a wooden crate originally used for shipment of soap or other dry goods from a manufacturer to a retail store.

Purpose

  • To explain
  • To foster dialogue and understanding

Benefits

It brings the opportunity to meet and interact with scientists in places you wouldn’t normally expect, and it increases the visibility of women in science. 

Soapbox Science helps challenge gender stereotypes that are established early in life by increasing the visibility of women in science and through locating events in accessible public spaces like parks, high streets, and beaches. With speakers ranging from PhD students to Pro Vice-Chancellors, Soapbox Science showcases the full spectrum of the academic career path and gives speakers themselves the chance to meet and network with other women in science. 

Preparation

  • Check the website Soapboxscience.org
  • You will need a soapbox, roll-up, information desk, other materials), for which Soapbox Science offers help and you could look for some sponsors
  • Organize and register the venue
  • Ask Soapboxers
  • Disseminate your event via a flyer, Facebook, Twitter

Examples or inspirations (videos, links)

https://youtu.be/eqC2DIB5Ccw

https://youtu.be/RtYl-tFK8YI

http://soapboxscience.org/soapboxscience-events/

Name of the Institution or person suggesting:

  • SoapboxScience
  • Wissenschafts kommunikation
  • All Citizens