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Gulbenkian Theatre in Canterbury to host FameLab Southeastern Regional Final

By Cameron Tucker, KMTV

Sir David Attenborough, Liz Bonnin, Professor Brian Cox, Chris Packham, Professor Alice Roberts: just some of those regularly gracing our screens and educating viewers about the world around us. But could the next in this long line of illustrious science presenters be found in Canterbury?

Winners will need to exhibit the 3 Cs - content, clarity, and charisma
Winners will need to exhibit the 3 Cs - content, clarity, and charisma

That’s what a major competition taking place in April will seek to find out.

On Wednesday, April 3, the Gulbenkian Theatre in Canterbury will be hosting the FameLab Southeastern Regional Final. The prestigious event will pit the finest scientific minds against each other from a roster of equally prestigious universities, including Kent, Canterbury Christ Church, Brighton, East Anglia, Essex, Imperial College London, Oxford, UCL, and Queen Mary’s.

The final will be televised and live-streamed on KMTV. The broadcaster is also offering media training to all applicants ahead of the final.

FameLab is the largest science communication contest in the world. It’s part of the Cheltenham Festivals and is run in more than 40 countries, encouraging and enabling researchers to share their work with the public in creative and engaging ways. It’s like Britain’s Got Talent, but global and with researchers, instead of Diversity or Susan Boyle.

“It’s an honour and a privilege for us to be given the opportunity to host the FameLab Southeastern Regional Final,” said KMTV’s Head of Partnerships Jill Hurst.

Some of this year's hopefuls getting training at KMTV
Some of this year's hopefuls getting training at KMTV

“As an organisation, we pride ourselves on supporting all scholars to maximise the impact of their work through public engagement with research, not only using live events such as FameLab, but also through documentaries and children’s television series that are designed to connect a range of audiences using journalistically-led storytelling ,” Hurst added.

Out of more than 70 applicants from across the south east, 10 finalists will have just three minutes each to convince the judges that they have compellingly demonstrated the three Cs: content, clarity, and charisma.

The regional winner will then go on to compete at the FameLab UK Final, taking place between June 4-9. The winner of that will then represent the UK at the FameLab International Final held online in November.

The Southeastern Regional judging panel will be headed by Professor Simon Harvey, the Associate Dean for Research and Knowledge Exchange at the University of Greenwich’s Faculty of Engineering and Science. He told KMTV that his advice for competitors is “simpler is better”.

“If you lose your audience by using a term they don’t understand or an acronym they don’t know, then it’s nearly impossible to get them back. It’ll therefore be critical for the finalists to put the work in to translate the fascinating work they’re doing into a form that can engage people and really bring them along,” he added.

The competition brings together science communicators from all over the world
The competition brings together science communicators from all over the world

Harvey is also keen to point out the importance of inclusivity in science communication: “People need to see themselves. They need to be able to look at people presenting science and think, ‘I can do that. That could be me.’ Science and Tech is for everybody!”

Speaking on the partnership with KMTV, FameLab’s UK and International Manager Khazana Rasool-McLaughlin said: “It really helps in spreading the word. We haven’t had a partner in Kent before so this is really a great opportunity. It will have a ripple effect and is a chance to get people’s work out there.”

On the final, she said: “Be prepared to be entertained and have your minds blown. You will be guaranteed to learn something new or think about a topic in a different way.”

Tickets for the FameLab Southeastern Regional Final are free and can be booked at the following website: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/famelab-southeastern-regional-science-communication-final-tickets-850725913107?aff=ebdssbcategorybrowse

The final will air on Freeview channel 7, Virgin 159, kmtv.co.uk and on KMTV’s YouTube channel live at 6.30pm on Wednesday, April 3.

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