On 5th May 2022 the Science Museum will be celebrating the History of Science Day, a day of special opportunities to explore the Museum’s collections, and public conversations about many aspects of the History of Science. I’m thrilled to be part of a Panel discussion on Media & the Public History of Science – registration will open shortly.
Public Lecture & Panel: “‘Parallels with the Pandemic’: Living through Coronavirus and World War Two”
I am looking forward to be part of this panel to be speaking about my research into the common warfare framings of the pandemic & comparisons with World War II alongside war historian Jo Fox, and Risk Communication expert Brooke Rogers, chaired by Colin Philpott – tickets are free, but registration is essential; they’re available here [edit: the recording is now available on YouTube].
The event description reads: “During the two years of the Coronavirus pandemic, many comparisons have been drawn between the experience of living through Covid and living through the Second World War. Fear, restrictions on liberty, concern over shortages and several other anxieties were hallmarks of both. Morale and people’s varying willingness to comply with regulations ebbed and flowed during wartime and during the pandemic. One characteristic of the pandemic has been the use of military language to describe the ‘battle against Covid’.
So what lessons if any can be drawn from the two experiences – war and pandemic – which may be useful for future crises?
Joining us to discuss these issues are Brooke Rogers OBE, Professor of Behavioural Science and Security in the Department of War Studies at King’s College; Jo Fox, Professor of Modern History and Pro Vice Chancellor (Research and Engagement) and Dean, School of Advanced Study, University of London, and Franziska Kohlt, Researcher in Science Communication at the University of York. The event will be chaired by author Colin Philpott.”
Covid narratives research in The Guardian
It was great to see my research on Covid narratives, and how they have shaped our understanding – and misunderstanding of the pandemic, and how it might end in The Guardian. If you’re interested in why some of the narratives framings of the novel coronavirus by UK government and media – especially the warfare framing – are not at all helpful in helping us navigate our way through and out of the pandemic, you can read the full paper here.
Wrapping up 2021 – and looking ahead to 2022
In 2021 I have most of all been really grateful that, in a still immensely challenging year, I had the opportunity to pick up some of the postponed projects of 2020, and also pursue new opportunities, expanding on my research in science communication, history of science and literature.
Amongst others, I had the opportunity to discuss both my research and practice in science communication, informed by the history of science, at COP26 and the Bristol Festival of Technology.
I saw a long-term project developing the “Adventures of Manuscripts” series with French-German TV channel Arte finally came to fruition, with all four episodes finally airing this year, after many Covid delays.
The year 2021 was also the anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass. we held a major online conference, and are looking forward this year to publishing a new Companion to Through the Looking-Glass, including many of the conference contributions – and more (more soon!).
I had the opportunity to speak about so many difference aspects of Alice and Looing-Glass from Fashion, to commemorative coins with the Guardian, the Yorkshire Post, and Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
Finally, I am beyond honoured to be joining Oxford’s Continuing Education Department for taking on their summer course ‘Lewis Carroll’s Oxford and the Surprising Histories of Alice’s Wonderland‘ – and there are more news, linked with that (more on that, also, soon!).
Here’s to 2022!
Science Communication, Faith & the Climate Crisis: In Conversation at COP26
I will be one of the participants of “Catholics at CoOP26”, where I will reflect on science communication at COP26, effective climate communication, and how to overcome the challenges in this field, sharing insight from my work at the ECLAS project and science-religion narratives in Science Communication.
I am honoured to be in conversation alongside:
- Dr Lorna Gold is a climate campaigner and author. She is vice-chair of the Laudato Si’ Movement, and a member of the Vatican Commission on the post-Covid World.
- Dr Carmody Grey is Assistant Professor of Catholic Theology at Durham University. She specialises in theology and science, with particular interests in life sciences, ecology and evolutionary biology.
- Dr Franziska Kohlt is a researcher in science communication and the history of science at the University of York and an ECLAS postdoctoral research associate.
- Fr Joshtrom Kurveethadam is Coordinator of Ecology and Creation at the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
- Cardinal Pedro Barreto (To be confirmed) is Archbishop of Huancayo, Peru, vice-president of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network, and an advocate for the rights of indigenous peoples.
The panel will be chaired by Bishop John Arnold, Bishop of Salford and lead bishop for environmental issues for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. The meeting will be livestreamed & recorded.
Lewis Carroll’s Oxford & the Surprising Histories of Alice’s Wonderland course, University of Oxford
From June 2022, I am taking on leading this fantastic programme at the University of Oxford’s Continuing Education Department (you can peruse the course contents here). The course will offer a fresh, thought-provoking take on the place of Lewis Carroll & his most famous books in their time, and their continuing appeal in ours. It will explore the role of Oxford in its creation, but also how looking at the Victorian contexts that inspired it – from science and medicine to music and logic – but also how that can help us navigate intellectual and social challenges of the past, but, hopefully, also illuminate our own – and teach us how to think, learn, talk and write about them.
Lewis Carroll & Looking-Glass feature in the Yorkshire Post
A lovely feature about Lewis Carroll & his Yorkshire connections appeared in the Yorkshire Post yesterday – for which I was interviewed. They give a shout-out to our Looking-Glass Sesquicentenary conference also (registration is now open btw! Have a look at our programme too!)
You can find the article on the Yorkshire Post website (sadly paywalled) or you can have a cheeky look at my Instagram for pictures of the print article.
Science, Imagination & Communication at Bristol Festival of Technology and more
I’m incredible honoured to be discussion why Science, Imagination and Communication are inseparable in conversations with two brilliant physicists at events over the next two weeks recordings of the Science & Imagination event on MacDonald and the Bristol Festival are now available.
I will be exploring this theme together with Professor of Natural Philosophy and Fellow of the Royal Society, Prof Tom McLeish through the life and works of George MacDonald – a trained scientist, theological thinker, educator and writer. Even though he is recognised in his literary influence, as the major source of inspiration for H.G. Wells, the Inklings J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis – and often credited with the conversion of the latter to Christianity – we rarely speak about his as a scientist, because of preconceptions that lead us to believe the two as contradictory or mutually exclusive. Exploring the ways in which MacDonald believed they were, rather, mutually constructive, can prepare us to challenge and interrogate our own ways of understanding science, and how we think we know “science” and “scientific fact” – especially, when these are understood as opposition to “fantasy” and “storytelling”.
‘The Adventures of Manuscripts’ – New TV documentary
After a long pandemic delay, French/German prime culture channel ARTE’s new series – L’Aventure des manuscrits/ Das Abenteuer der Manuskripte – is now out and available for streaming – and I am in it!
The first instalment is dedicated to the history of Alice in Wonderland’s manuscript – and I appear in the film speak about the writing and publishing history of the book. Filmed at Oxford just before the pandemic, the documentary stars even the famous Oxford Dodo, thanks to the generosity of the Oxford University Museum for Natural History who let the team film there.
The documentary is available in French and German (all interviewees speak English, and if you look up the documentary on YouTube, you can enable auto-translated English subtitles!). It’s very beautifully produced, and I hope you enjoy it!
CFP: Insects in the Popular Imagination of the 21st Century [updated]
Simon Bacon and myself are excited to circulate a CFP for a collection with the preliminary title ‘Insects in the Public Imagination of the 21st Century’.
The planets last hope, messengers from Hell, environmental revenge or the post-human future insects are vital to our continued existence on the Earth yet trigger all manner of anxieties around the precarious nature and integrity of our psychological and physical selves. This collection looks at the place of insects in the popular imagination, across cultures and mediums in the 21st Century and what it might say about our relationship to the natural world and possible post/non- human futures.
At this stage just send a notice of interest or a 300 word abstract if you’ve got something ready by the end of March 2022, final essay wouldn’t be needed til 2024.
Message or mail us on: firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com