Carnival of the animal senses
Running between 6pm-7pm, this was one of the evening events on Tuesday which I attended. Unfortunately, it was a miss for a topic which had potential to be very interesting and engaging.
The talk was run by Helen Czerski, who some of you may know or recognise from a few animal programmes which were run on the BBC.
The key points to remember when creating your own talk learnt from this were to firstly, to keep to the topic your discussing and perhaps not to stray too far away from the point. Secondly, it may be advisable not to use too many complicated diagrams as over information can throw an audience.
A key positive which came from this talk was her use of short videos, which are always a safe bet to improve your talk.
Tackling sport concussion
This event took place on the final day of the festival between 4:30-5:30pm, and was one I was really looking forward to seeing.
The reason for this being a ‘not’ was a common theme which can be learnt from the festival, the advertising was misleading! By advertising the event to “all adults” it failed to correctly inform its audience that you needed a high level of knowledge before coming to the talk. What was discussed was very much geared towards professions in the sports coaching profession.
It was also a shame that the room that had been allocated for the talk was very small and didn’t create a great atmosphere for those of us that watched. There were some difficulties with videos that didn’t play, however this is an inconvenience which will inevitably occur at these events at some point.
A key learning point is the importance of targeting your audience correctly. Doing this poorly can lead toconfused audience members and an unsatisfactory experience.
On the positive side, the talk had four speakers which created a ‘dream team’ like panel. In addition, the calibre of the speakers was of a high quality.
Hypnosis: Therapy or Quackery
This was an evening event which cost £6 to attend.
The talk was quite entertaining; however the way in which it was organised was quite messy.
The major stick out which makes this ‘not’ from me was the timing issue as over-running events can really drag down the positive aspects of a talk. Some parts of hypnosis were spent longer on than others and the talk did over-run to the extent we had to leave. This was disappointing as the engagement for the audience was left until the end and as we had to leave for a train we never got to get involved!
The second 30 minutes of Explosions in the sky
The reason for this being a ‘not’ was that for an event which was advertised as being suitable for “all adults” it wasn’t catered with the target audience in mind. By going into the complexity of different formulas and graphs with little explanation it can make an audience feel disconnected to the very interesting information that is being given.What stuck out for me was that you need to be very aware about the way in which you put across your research, in order for the general public to understand and engage with you. The only other notable ‘not event’ was ‘our dynamic sun’ for similar reasons to explosions in the sky.
Hopefully this will help you in gaining inspiration for your event at the Festival of Learning this year. One thing I noted from attending the BSF was the popularity of health related topics and having a clear, simple PowerPoint with a variety of visual aids. In terms of negatives, It is great to have an in depth talk about Quantum Physics aimed at the quantum physicsists out there… but you probably lost average man.