In its second iteration on 14 April, the Dublin edition of Bright Club will be bringing comedians and science researchers together to make some of the most interesting scientific topics accessible to all.
Back in February of this year, 100 people flocked to 4 Dame Lane in Dublin to see a host of names familiar to those in both the comedy circuit and Dublin academic circles present in a humourous way subjects like neuroscience, engineering, zoology, linguistics, live drawing, music, and, for next week’s show, the math comedy of Dermot McMorrow.
This is how Dr Jessamyn Fairfield, the Dublin event’s founder, sees how her work as a postdoctoral researcher in Trinity College Dublin (TCD) in Amber (who have provided funding for the Bright Club series) complements her role as stand-up comic, when the two are considered so wildly different.
“There’s a difference between talking with humour about your research and making fun of your research and humour can be such an effective tool for talking to people and conveying ideas,” she told Siliconrepublic.com. “How many people learn their news from The Daily Show or Last Week Tonight compared with serious news shows?”
A scene from last year's event. Image via Sandra Duffy/Bright Club
Bringing together different fields
Using her connections in both academia and comedy, Jessamyn will once again be bringing together academics who want to explain their research through comedy, but also comedians who want to tackle more difficult subjects than they might be used to.
For the former in particular, Jessamyn sees it almost as a duty for academics to engage in events like these given their roles not just in terms of developing ideas, but sharing these ideas with the public.
"The idea [of Bright Club in Dublin] just really appealed to me as I also feel very strongly about outreach, in that it’s very important for researchers who are generally public funded to talk to the public about what they do and why it’s important and what it means in accessible and digestible bits,” she says.
Diversity in both science and comedy
Given that it is an event aimed at opening science and research to the masses, it begs the question as to whether, as the event’s organiser, Jessamyn puts a similar importance on having as diverse a panel as possible?
"It’s very important to me,” Jessamyn says. "The only tricky thing about organising an event in tech is who says yes. I wanted to have a good gender balance and wanted to have a good race balance and to get more than just the usual suspects who would want to get involved in this both in the academia side and comedy side.
“I think it’s important to show the diversity that exists in both academia and stand-up comedy that it’s not just a 25-35 white, straight man’s game.”