Monday, 9 January 2017

Getting Creative With Science

‘Science is not finished until it is communicated’ 

- Sir Mark Jeremy Walport, Government Chief Scientific Advisor

Dr Millie Mockford from Animal and Plant Sciences believes that effective communication is essential for a wide range of careers, and that it is a fundamental responsibility for scientists.

This passion has resulted in an innovative Level 2 module called Talking the Talk: Getting Science onto Film, that has immersed her students into a previously unknown world of storyboards, cutaways and 'two shots'. 

The Digital Academic Content Team in CiCS had the opportunity to speak to Millie and her colleagues involved in this module - you can find out more about it in the video below:

Students were given the task of creating a short film suitable for a general audience (think The One Show!) to explain how an aspect of modern biological research is relevant to them personally. Not an easy task, especially considering this had to be done in a week. There was no scope for a David Attenborough – esque 6 month shoot here.

During the week long course, students had practical advice from Matt Pitts Tucker, (a graduate from the department and now a freelance Producer / Director), training from the University of Sheffield Enterprise Academy, a visit from Mike Dilger and editing workshops from the Creative Media Team in The Diamond. 

Alongside all of this, students were researching, planning and scripting their videos, arranging interviews with contributors, scouting locations, filming in and around Sheffield, searching for appropriately licensed images & music, and editing together the finished videos. 

"To see the students being curious, and expressing their creativity through a new medium, that's fantastic" - Prof Mike Siva-Jothy, Head of Animal & Plant Sciences

The students worked closely with the Creative Media Team in the Diamond during the production phase of the week. The team has a whole range of camera equipment available for hire, and provided an editing workshop, as well as ongoing support with the post production. The Creative Media Team is an invaluable resource for this kind of project, and their services are freely available for all students across the university.

"I think I'll look back at this module as being one of the highlights of my university career" - Student from the module

The finished films, along with some videos that explore the key themes of the course are available on iTunesU.

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