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Bristol Bright Night

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - BGCN (Bristol Bright Night)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2015-09-30

"The 2015 Bristol Researchers' Night action brought the Researchers’ Night programme to the South West of England for the second time. Bristol is a cosmopolitan and ambitious city, and is particularly well-known for its Aerospace, Computing & Engineering industries (being home to Rolls Royce and British Aerospace) as well as Media, Art & Creative Industries, with artists such as Banksy, Aardman Animations and others.

The project brought together the two Universities based in Bristol, with the Bristol Natural History Consortium (which is a collaboration of research, media, policy and conservation bodies) and had the support of the City Council and the At-Bristol Science Centre. The main purpose consisted of enhancing public recognition of researchers and their work reaching out to the public at large in an inclusive and all-encompassing manner.

Creative opportunities were offered to engage with researchers and their work; one main target consisted of those who were not especially interested in science by bringing researchers and their work to public spaces in an entertaining and spectacular manner. Researchers and their work were brought to some parts of the city, through travelling street theatre, where there are fewer opportunities for communities to gain even a first impression of researchers and what they do.

Bristol’s programme for 2015 Researchers’ Night involved a wide cross-section of researchers across the city’s two universities centred on the theme ""Bristol Bright Night"" highlighting the innovative research undertaken by Bristol-based researchers addressing local and global societal challenges. The city’s waterfront was transformed into an ""Innovation Laboratory"" giving everyone equal access to ground-breaking research, in particular young and family audiences, taking advantage of the several nationally-renowned public venues within a short walk of each other in its historical centre such as At-Bristol (science centre) and the Watershed (cultural centre), which hosted the main activities of the 2015 event.

From afternoon to midnight citizens were engaged with the latest research that is taking place in Bristol. From discovering how alcohol effects perceptions of attractiveness to getting children to talk about the latest innovations in science and technology and from pop-up science theatre in the streets of Bristol to cooking and eating with researchers while discussing their work, Bristolians (and visitors) could see a city that bursts with research."

Target audiences
o Public at large regardless of age and scientific background;
o Young people from all areas of the city in order to promote interest in scientific careers;

Messages conveyed
o Researchers are amongst us;
o Research is exciting;
o Research impacts on everyday life;
o Research addresses society’s grand challenges;
o Researchers are ordinary people with an extraordinary job;
o Research is a rewarding career;

Main communication tools to rely on:
Off line -
o Media partnership with local newspapers (based on an existing strong relationship);Airing of announcements, interviews, advertisements, programmes on radio stations; Interview and report on television news stations;
o Contacts with academic trade press for running promotional articles, as well as professional institutions/journals;
o Active support by Bristol’s Mayor;
On line -
o Setting up of a webpage, constant updating and maintenance;
o Setting up, updating and animation of dedicated social networks profiles (Facebook, Twitter);
o Setting up of Twitter questions and answers sessions (on line discussions with researchers);
o Promoted posts and tweets on Facebook and Twitter
o Display of online press releases;
o Launch of a dedicated social media campaign;
o Display of existing videos of research in action through undergraduate, postgraduate and career researchers;
o Display of 2014 Bristol Bright Night promotional video;
o Weekly newsletters ( mailing list of over 600 recipients);
o Online banners on popular local events websites and email signatures

Promotional material
o Written promotional material such as leaflets, posters, banners and postcards
o Banners on websites and social networks, ads on Facebook;
o Mention of ""This European Researchers' Night project is funded by the European Commission under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions"" on all promotional material displayed;

Overview of the results
o Conception, realisation of promotional material: posters of various formats, banners, leaflets, promotional videos, invitations
o Public advertising: display of presentations( sets of slides) on Bristol’s Big Screen in Millennium Square (week prior to the event), bunting all over the city, tagging (#BristolBrightNight) on pavements around City Centre
o Airing of radio and TV interviews ( BCFM and Ujima Radios, Bristol- based regional television channel ""Made in Bristol"");
o Publication of press releases (August and September);
o Publication of articles , announcements in written press (newspapers and magazines);
o Revamping, constant updating and maintenance of project website namely detailed info on event, news, School's day information, , videos and pictures…, linked with several institutional and popular websites
o 11.233 hits and 8.368 unique visitors on project website during the 4 weeks preceding the event, representing an increase by over 25 % as from 2014);
o Publication of on-line weekly news articles (Bristol Bright night news page, social media);
o Revamping, updating and maintenance of social media profiles( Facebook, Twitter);
o 1.185 visitors mentioned as ""going"" to the events (event page);
o 282 followers on Twitter (increase by 161,58 % compared to 2014);
o Direct invitations addressing groups and organisations including youth groups, scout groups, food groups, scientific organisations, local schools, health groups, University societies…;
o Promotion during other public events (Association for Science and Discovery Centres National Conference)
o About 650.000 people made aware of the Researchers' Night and its objectives.


List of locations and venues involved
Bristol: Science centre At-Bristol, Watershed, Bristol 2015 Lab Space and the streets of the city.

Main types of activities planned
Competitions, hands-on activities, experiments, demos, simulations, Bloodhound Supersonic car, booths (market place), workshops, interactive discussions and talks, research–related films, science tapas, science cafés, theatre performances, Pecha Kucha, EU corners…

Detailed programme of activities
o Competition for school children in the academic year 7-8: research ideas and “my city” themes (best entries and winners announced during Night 2014, outputs featured during Nights 2015);

o Hands-on activities (demos, simulations, practical experiments), dedicated to research topics focusing on local and global societal challenges, including future cities, natural hazards, health and well-being, water, climate, food security;

o Activities of Bloodhound Supersonic Car selected by the Bloodhound Education Team, notably covering design, materials, aerodynamics…, under the possible form of Show and Tell activities;

o Transport and Engineering over time: ss Great Britain (visitor centre based within the worlds’ first trans-Atlantic steam-liner): history and transport and engineering innovation;

o The City environment: ”market place” with stands from the partners on the urban environment theme: tour of discovery of current issues around food, water, energy nexus, and exchanges with specialist researchers on topics such as energy, food, water, climate change (foodscape projects, World Health organisation “healthy cities”, international water security network, air quality management resources centre, centre for transport and society, centre fro blood management and resilience);

o Joint cooking workshop bringing researchers together with members of the public for cooking and discussing issues about food security, also based on a documentary;

o Interactive discussions and talks on set scientific topics with the potential of having research-related films;

o Science tapas: meeting researchers in an informal environment, potential topics and questions being suggested as ice breakers;

o Student-led event involving science theatre performances around Bristol, such as train stations, airport, shopping centres, and Researchers’ night’s main venues;

o Pecha Kucha talks around different topics such as science in daily life, and contribution that science can make to addressing current societal challenges;

o 10th anniversary of the Researchers’ night celebrations; cooperation for activities led by the European Commission and showcasing the results of the 2014 Young Researcher Competition and finalists of the 2015 Young Researchers Competition;

European corner
Number: 2
Location: next to the bar within the Watershed, the secondary being located in AT-Bristol
Activities planned:
o Presence of representatives of 3 partner organisations having specific European knowledge, having received briefing and training prior to the event;
o Permanent presence of MSC fellows presenting their research and illustrating the relevance of research in daily lives, promoting the European dimension of researchers and presenting the benefits they’ve gained from EU support and research mobility;
o European Researchers' Night MSCA roll-up (entrance of the event) complying with the following content and format requirements: 200 X 85 cm, and the mentions: ""European Researchers' Night"", ""Marie Skłodowska-Curie: an inspiration to follow"";
o An image provided by the European Commission;

Overview of the results
o Offer of over 100 activities in compliance with the plans as described in annex I part B to the Grant Agreement, namely:
o Schools' research fair (hands-on, experiments, contacts with researchers);
o Schools' bite-sized research talks(short presentation of research works, questions and answers);
o Opening event with representatives of the project and of the European Commission;
o Research Fair (35 different stalls with hands-on activities, experiments, talks with researchers);
o Bite-sized research talks(short presentation of research works, questions and answers);
o Stand-up comedy performed by a group of researchers;
o Musical performances, interactive hands-on sessions (4);
o Interactive Planetarium multi–sensory talk (images, films, talks by neuroscientists and digital artists, tasting of chocolate and insects);
o Green talks, water and marine security talks (environment, sustainability, water and marine security);
o European corners (information about EU and EU programmes sustaining research and researchers, exhibition of pictures, science poetry workshop, gastronomy and other recipes, talks with researchers (MSCA), cocktail;
o Documentary screening: the mask you live in and discussion with researchers;
o Resuscitation: workshops, discussion (views and attitudes);
o Street theatre performances (various research topics, interactive and humorous pieces);
o 249 researchers actively involved in the activities, of whom:
o 38 having benefitted from MSCA scheme;
o 33 having benefitted from a EU support (ERC and other HORIZON 2020- funded projects);
o About 2.370 attendees having taken part in the activities offered, amongst which 1.457 at At-Bristol; 100 at film screening, 578 in street theatre performances.


Description of the current situation
o Based on existing surveys such as the Programme for international student assessment(PISA) and the relevance of science education (ROSE);
o International data sets such as the National Science Foundation’s science and engineering indicators and ERUOBAROMETER;
o Surveys such as the public attitudes to science survey, and more occasional work commissioned by organisations as the Welcome Trust and Royal Society;

o Paper questionnaires for school children (2014, 2015), online questionnaire for teachers (2015), online questionnaire for general public (2014, 2015), paper questionnaire for general public (2015), snapshot’ exit interviews with general public (2014);
o Online activity monitoring numbers on various media channels participating in activities including the use of interactive public perception software with monitors change in attitudes;

Indicators and parameters to be applied
o Quantitative: number of attendees, typography of attendees (age, gender, occupation, and background), rating of the event, participation in various activities, hits on website, friends and followers on social networks, promotional items displayed, media coverage…
o Qualitative: public opinion about science and research, attitudes towards science, previous interest/engagement in science, motivations for attending the event, intention to attend future similar events, favourite and least favourite aspect of the event, suggestions for improving the event.

Selection of the sample
o Method: random selection;
o Absolute figures: around 10% attendees should answer questionnaires,;
o All activities were covered by at least one evaluation method. Evaluation covered activities throughout the day, in different venues.
I. Conclusions of the action

o The action reached the objectives pursued. The event was a huge success and high levels of in-depth engagement were observed by the evaluator, as well as reported by the majority of visitors;

Further efforts to be undertaken:
o Better and bigger signage within the venue would improve visitors’ experience;
o Improvement of overall descriptions of the activities, allowing a clearer understanding of the variety of activities and unique attractions.

Improvements/modifications would you consider with a view of a future similar event?
o Venue and location
 Keeping At-Bristol as a great venue likely attracting a large audience;
 Possible identification of other large venues to overcome capacity limits of having only one large venue, based on the experience of Bright Night pop-up theatre in one of the city’s theatres (the Hippodrome), which showed us the potential to expand in this direction.

o Theme should remain unchanged;

o Activities:
 Overall positive feedback on the range of activities offered;
 Nevertheless clear wish of some attendees to get more interactive activities;
 Remaining popularity of more traditional engagement activities (such as lectures and talks) within some audiences;

o Balance between science-linked and entertainment activities: improved balance in 2015 between traditional forms of science communication, such as lectures, and more experimental ones, such as the ‘Flavour and the Mind’ show;

o Involvement of researchers:
 Positive feedback from researchers about their active involvement;
 General will expressed to take active part in future similar events;
 Positive feedback about engagement and interest observed in attendees;
 Positive feedback regarding the event's organisation and the number of attendees;

o Partnership: further links could be developed with the host venues and the City Council;

o Internal relations and balances amongst partners: strong relationship amongst consortium members and further links developed with the host venues, At-Bristol;

o Awareness campaign:
 Improved impact compared to 2014, namely number of website hits, social media engagement and overall reach;
 Such increased impact also shown in increased number of attendees.

Overview of the results
o Collection and processing of feedbacks from different sources, namely: 123 adults' questionnaires (both paper and online), 122 children's paper questionnaires, 5 online teachers questionnaires, 6 interviews with researchers 10 observation sessions throughout the event in various venues, different times of the day and different kind of activity ;
o Main conclusions:
o Typology of visitors: from kids to elderly, with a lot of young children visiting with their parents, most attendees being interested in science, lag majority engaged with science-based events and activities;
o Knowledge about the event: 62,6 coming on purpose, 11,4 % passing-by or being at the venues;
o Overall positive feedback: concrete organisation (teachers, researchers involved, attendees), choice of the location/venues, possibility of direct engagement with researchers in an informal way;
o Limited criticism about lack of time for taking part in all the activities offered, mapping of the activities and signposting potentially improved;
o Most successful activities: planetarium and film screening (registrations an waiting list managed by online booking system);