Popularizing Palaeontology: Current & Historical Perspectives
Workshop at CHoSTM, King’s College London, 14-15 September 2016.
From the beginnings of research into the earth’s deep history, palaeontology has been closely linked with public appeal. Reconstructions of extinct animals, narratives of life’s history and accounts of palaeontological discovery have been depicted across a variety of media and in a wide range of tones. Ideas and images from palaeontological research have been an important means of debating and understanding science, nature, environmental change and evolutionary development. On a more institutional level, appealing to public audiences has often been crucial for highlighting the importance of the discipline, and gaining funds through advertising and public sponsorship. In the course of this, palaeontology has consistently interacted with broader public ideas and understandings, sometimes collaboratively and sometimes tensely.
This workshop will bring together palaeontologists, historians and science communicators interested in these issues, aiming to link common interests in the humanities and the sciences. A number of panels will discuss questions like:
• How have issues of media profile and celebrity affected palaeontological research and its public presentation?
• How have scientific debates, theories and controversies interacted with popularization efforts and public understandings?
• Why have dinosaurs become so iconic in popular images of palaeontology, when did this happen, and what role have they played in public imaginations?
• How and why have palaeontologists presented new or unfamiliar organisms to the public, and what factors have affected the level of engagement with them?
• Which audiences have engaged with palaeontological research, and what techniques have been used to communicate with them?
Full programme available soon.
Current Speakers: Joe Cain, Mark Carnall, John Conway, Richard Fallon, Elizabeth Jones, Dave Marshall, Shaena Montanari, Darren Naish, Ilja Nieuwland, Elsa Panciroli, Marianne Sommer, Will Tattersdill, Marco Tamborini, Mareike Vennen and Mark Witton.
For more information, please contact Chris.Manias AT kcl.ac.uk. Talks are due to be recorded and freely available online after the event.