ISOS Retreat 2018

July 2018

The doctoral Retreat is a time to get away from the daily grind, meet other doctoral candidates you don't yet know, take a dip in the Baltic and grill together. In this relaxed atmosphere, we got creative! Invited experts from Graphic Drawing, Science Video Making and Science Poetry inspired and guided us to see our science from a different aspect and to work with creative tools to communicate science


We did it! Creative science communication at the ISOS Retreat

"It's communication, stupid!" was the advert for our doctoral retreat, attended by candidates from ISOS and the SPP "Climate Engineering". But how? Through drawing, poetry, science videos...we spent three days in the creative ambience of Travemünder Strand learning techniques but also using the perfect weather to play volleyball, Frisbee, and take dips in the Baltic. Professional lecturers took us through three workshops to present our science in new forms:

Graphic Drawing:
Have draw-phobia since primary school? This was not a problem for Sonja Niederhumer and Grant Johnson from Graphic harvest, South Africa, who inspired us with simple techniques and a few tricks (and some background african music!) to create graphic posters tailored to our science. We learned to think with the pen – to develop new ideas while drawing and to simplify research concepts into icons. The results were meaningful and creative pictures to tell our science story. A group of very happy budding artists left the workshop with their posters that visualized science in a new, creative way.

Science Video Making:
Storylines, unusual perspectives, "B-roll", and editing with open source tools – we got an impressive insight on how easily our smartphones can be used for creating a 'scientifc' video. Matthias Süssen expertly took us through the steps. After getting familiar with our devices, we learned some theory on how to shoot and which angles to use. Then we went off to film our own videos! We put our research topics into a couple of concise sequences and developed a story around the pictures. For many, the greater benefit of the course was not only to learn about theory and practice of shooting video sequences, but also to think about their research from a different perspective.

Science Poetry:
Sam Illingworth, Senior Lecturer and professional science poet, introduced us to his theme: "We want to get inspired and discover new ways to use words [...] and to tell the story of our research to the public through poetry, to inspire them with our scientific enthusiasm to understanding nature ...", Easier said than done; Sam started us off with reading science poems of all kinds, analyzing their structure and their effect on us. Soon we were creating our own List Poems and Nonets. The familiar atmosphere of our group and the superb venue of the retreat inspired us all; "we found confidence in our ability to create and learned to reassemble our thoughts and discover unexpected allies. We want to pursue poetry further!"

We returned inspired and empowered with creative communication tools. We all look forward to the next retreat and encourage those who have not yet had the opportunity to be part of it!

ISOS Doctoral representatives
Katriina Juva, Joshua Kiesel, Arne Lohrberg and Florian Petersen