I often wonder if all science starts with kids making potions.
All you really need is some red cabbage indicator and then everything in the house is being tested, including the cat’s fur with the cat still attached. When my son was little ‘playing chemist’ would keep him happily occupied for at least half an hour at a time. The joy that comes from splashing concoctions around and seeing what changes is the reason that I installed an old sink outside when he was three. That and the fact that cabbage indicator plus old lentils, plus dishwash liquid, plus mouth wash doesn’t flush down the toilet as well as it could.
The joy and ease kids have with everyday science is one of the reasons I love the ethos of the Story Collider, which is to bring science stories and scientists’ stories to life. Listening is like being a kid again, with access to a whole pile of wonder and awe at discovering science.
To take part in Story Collider, you don’t need to be an experienced performer, you just need a story to tell and a bit of passion and drive to tell it. Whether you understand the physics of light or just like watching moonshine glint off water, science is shaping your life and mine. And that means we all have science stories to tell.
Building on the success of the three New Zealand shows in 2017, 2018, and in March this year, we’re running a new Story Collider show in Wellington on 3 November 2019, using local producers and local storytellers. So, we’re looking for story tellers with story ideas. You won’t have notes, or props or a presentation, just you telling your tale for ten minutes at a local bar alongside four other brave souls.
We want teachers, chemists, actors, climate scientists, software engineers, anthropologists, illustrators, nurses, volcanologists, and more telling their stories. Your stories just need to be true, and, in one way or another, about science. Some will be heart-warming, some tear-jerking. We’re looking for people who want to tell others about the times things went wrong, and occasionally right, when their lives and science collided.
If you’re interested in telling your tale, there are some hints here. The story must be about YOU and it must have an arc. This means that you, the storyteller, experience change from the beginning to the end of the story. This change can be big or small — as momentous as helping your dad through a stroke or as seemingly insignificant as cheating on a maths exam but it has to be there in order to bring your audience along.
There is a small time commitment involved. Every storyteller works one on one with a Story Collider producer to brainstorm and shape their story. We will work with you to create something you’ll be proud to present. For examples of stories that our producers have loved, check out the Story Collider podcast page.
Putting a show like this together is very much like making potions in a sink in the backyard, people come together and make something wonderful and unique, in a place designed especially for it. Come and make your story a part of it!
If you would like to tell a story, send a two-paragraph summary of your idea to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 23 August. Please mention “NZ” in the subject line.
Featured image: Emily Campbell on stage, Wellington Story Collider March 2019. Credit: Sciencelens.