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  • Writer's pictureSciEnvy

A Day at the 2016 CEEDA Infohackit | Ulysse Pasquier, Seth Thomas

How can I communicate my findings in a relatable fashion? What can I do to make a concept simpler to a wider audience? Can I present my work in a way that is more engaging and impactful?

Researchers are often faced with these types of questions.

Scientific messages often get lost in the messy data that we are prone to producing. Even if you have the same artistic skills as I do, making something that’s pleasing to the eye can seem like a daunting task.

To remedy this, the EnvEast Enterprise and Innovation club (@EnvEastE3i) teamed up with the MADE Agency (@studio_MADE) to organise the Infohackit 2016. This action-packed one-day event brought together designers and scientists from the EnvEast and Cambridge ESS NERC DTPs with the aim of creating infographics on diverse research topics.

Eight teams spent the day sketching, scribbling and illustrating, all the while exchanging knowledge and ideas. This did not come without any reward as we were able to discuss with other groups over pizza before the final presentations!

Diagrams, animations, storyboards, 3-D graphics, interactive maps…we really had it all in end, showing how creative you can be when communicating scientific information. With only 12 hours of work, the quality of the final products was astonishing. Many participants even expressed their excitement at the prospect of using their infographic in their research. The InfoHackit had a great social media coverage and you can re-live our productive day and see all the infographics by checking out its Storify page.

The Infohackit 2016 Winners

If you are interested in this kind of event, I encourage you to follow the E3i club (@EnvEastE3i) as more can be expected in the near future!

Ulysse, was just one of the students present at a greatly attended infohackit session. Peter Moore Fuller, head of the MADE agency, was also in attendance at the event, and had this to say about the standard of work achieved

It was fascinating to see teams come together from across four universities and many different disciplines. Also very pleasing to see professional designers, illustrators and students from Norwich University of the Arts working so well with their colleagues from the research community. I was massively impressed with the standard of the presentations, and the volume and quantity of the work achieved was incredible. Skills on show included illustration (digital and by hand), animation, web design and data development. The main challenge in growing the event from 3 teams last year to 8 this year was engaging enough designers to participate. Design studios are very busy environments with sometimes several deadlines a day – and persuading people to come out for the day and work with researchers, sometimes for the first time, can be a big ask. However, the professionals, and the students who took time out of their regular schedules to participate were incredible, and we hope that events like these will create new ways of working together. Working in a bigger venue was fun, and the team at Open were excellent. The event definitely has room to grow there if it happens again next year. The first and second place projects were both brilliant, but completely different. The winning team were unique in targeting their communication at a consumer audience. As such, the animation they produced was simple, graphic, and made very simple evidence based assertions which would be very impactful, given a full campaign release.

Events such as the infohackit show the huge potential there is in improving science communication between audiences. As far as we know, it’s the only event of its kind in the region, and perhaps even the country. Just like Ulysse, I would urge you to take a look at the Storify page. It gives a glimpse of what everyone involved with EnvEast, The E3i Club, Scienvy, and Cambridge ESS are trying to achieve.


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