LSE Fringe

LSE Fringe is an initiative designed to support students and staff who would like to use creative methods to communicate about research. 

These sessions are open to both LSE staff and students. 

LSE Fringe is associated with the LSE Festival.

LSE Fringe 2024

Making memes for research communication

Tuesday 7 May (11.45am-2pm - including lunch) - LRB.5.02

Facilitators: Dr Nathalie Weidhase and Dr Poppy Wilde 

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Details

In contemporary digital culture, memes can be an engaging, accessible form of communication, political participation, and protest. Building on our previous public engagement work, in this workshop, we’ll explore the reasons behind this: the history, forms and functions of memes, and how their affordances as a creative medium facilitate political expression in the digital context. Memes can be particularly useful for encouraging younger, less conventionally politically engaged audiences to express their opinions, including in research focusing on broadly political themes, and to communicate findings of research with an activist angle. You’ll be introduced to platforms for meme generation and display, and explore some strategies to use memes in teaching, with research participants, and in research dissemination. You will then create memes, and we will then critically reflect on the ways in which the memes created express political opinion, how they ‘work’, and what makes them ‘shareable’.   

Participants will need to bring a device, preferably a laptop, or an iOS or Android mobile device. 

"Get them laughing and you get them learning": an introduction to using humour as a tool for bringing your research to engage with the public

Wednesday 8 May (11.45am-2pm - including lunch) - LRB.5.02 

Facilitator: Susan Morrison

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Details

Comedy and Academia are natural bedfellows. Comedy relies on the element of the unexpected, creating a setup to a surprising punchline. Academia depends on mining data to generate a new discovery or outcome.   

This workshop would introduce participants to writing comedy, stagecraft and how to ditch the Powerpoint habit.  

As a stand-comedian with more than 20 years’ experience on the stages of comedy clubs from Aberdeen to Bournemouth, I have a wealth of knowledge and experience in writing and performing live comedy. As the MC for the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas and a trainer/MC for The Bright Club in Scotland, I have worked closely with academics to help them ‘find the funny’ in their work or research methods. 

Using drawing to support research communication

Wednesday 8 May (11.45am-2pm - including lunch) - CKK.8.03

Facilitator: Dr Caitlin Kight

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Details

If you’re thinking, ‘I can’t draw!’, then this is the workshop for you. Not only will it prove you wrong (in a gentle and supportive way), but it will also show how even the simplest, silliest, and most amateur of doodles can be an asset when communicating your research.  

Over the course of the session, we will:  

  • Examine how drawing something can expand and enhance your understanding of it, allowing you to discuss it more confidently and in greater depth 
  • Explore a range of simple, accessible techniques that will build your confidence in creating and sharing drawings  Consider how drawing can indirectly enhance your communication by supporting mindfulness and reflection  

The principles and activities incorporated into the workshop are evidence-based, drawing (no pun intended) not just on scholarly literature but also on the suggestions and feedback of students and staff who have acted as co-producers in the facilitator’s research project, ‘Creative Toolkit for Education Contexts’.   

Participants of all drawing abilities are welcome! 

How to paint your research

Thursday 9 May (11.45am-2pm - including lunch) - CKK.8th floor foyer 

Facilitator: Dr Niki Barbery-Bleyleben 

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Details

"The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands but in seeing with new eyes." - Marcel Proust 

This multi-sensorial workshop will help social-scientists visualise their research questions and hypotheses through a form of abstraction, providing a visual metaphoric response to their research endeavours. The process will involve finding meaning around each participant’s individual research questions through an exploration of colour, form, balance and texture. 

We will consider insights from neuro-science, specifically the value that comes from engaging with the right-hemisphere of our brain. This type of engagement involves: (i) lateral, interdisciplinary thinking (ii) unlocking embedded creative forces that lay within us; (iii) activating all of our senses (iv) triggering our capacity to “see the whole” as well as “its parts”. 

Each participant will be provided with materials, including paints and art paper, as well as moodboards to inspire their artwork. Through dynamic group discussion we will then discuss “what we see” in our own work and the work of other participants. We will debate the merits of (i) communicating socio-scientific research in a non-written medium, (ii) the value of creating beauty as a unifying force for greater reach, and (iii) the significance of presenting research outcomes in alternative and emotive formats. 

Zine Making: recipes for storytelling

Thursday 9 May (11.45am-2pm - including lunch) - CKK.8.03

Facilitator: Tamara Hart 

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Details

Join visual anthropologist Tamara Hart in a workshop that explores zine-making as a creative tool in research.   

Zines are small, self-published booklets that amplify the voices of those at the margins. Inherited from political pamphlets of the abolitionist era, and adopted by punk feminist and queer movements, they are important community tools.    

In this session, we’ll craft pocket zines while learning about their use in creative research projects. As a tool, zine-making can help to narrativize experiences that are difficult to express. However, there is also an ethics of care that must be negotiated when making zines with participants: a sense of visual caretaking for community members. As zine-makers, we share tips, tools, and recipes for storytelling.  

The beauty of zines is that everyone can make them. No previous experience required. 

 

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LSE Fringe 2023

The second year of LSE Fringe saw a new selection of workshops take place on campus in mid-June. 

Details

Punk sonification: a DIY approach to turning data into sound 

Monday 12 June (12-2pm) - PhD Academy 4th Floor LRB  

Facilitated by Kate Dawson and Loud Numbers

Data sonification is the art and science of turning data into sound. Just as data can be visualised by transforming it into bars, lines and colours, it can also be sonified – transformed into pitches, sounds and audio effects.

With data sonification in your skillset, you can add audio to your visualizations, tell data stories with sound, or even create pieces of music driven by data. Sonification is a fantastic tool for reaching blind or partially sighted audiences, and it can also add a unique emotional resonance to your work.

This hands-on workshop will cover both the theory and practice of sonification. We’ll go over what sonification can do, the different types of sonification out there, what it’s best used for and which types of data work best in sound. We’ll also introduce you to an array of tools for making sonifications - and you’ll have the chance to make your own ‘punk’ sonification using just your voice, or the objects around you!

Previous experience working with data, music or sound is useful but in no way required – this workshop will be aimed at total beginners to sonification.

Participants will each need to bring their own laptop and headphones.

Podcasting your research 

Tuesday 13 June (10am-1pm) - PhD Academy 4th Floor LRB 

Facilitated by Dr Steve Cross 

Are you thinking of sharing your work via podcasts? This session will look at how to make your own audio for sharing, as well as how to get booked for other people's podcasts. We'll start with formats and ideas and build through recording techniques and editing to marketing and sharing your final product. This workshop is fast and introductory, and will equip you to start things off, as well as showing you places to go for more learning, development and support. 

Participants will need to supply their own laptops and headphones. They'll need working connections to the internet and to have downloaded Audacity https://www.audacityteam.org/

An introduction to using humour as a tool for bringing your research to engage with the public 

Wednesday 14 June (12-2pm) - LSE LIFE Workspace 4 

Facilitated by Susan Morrison 

Comedy and Academia are natural bedfellows. Comedy relies on the element of the unexpected, creating a setup to a surprising punchline. Academia depends on mining data to generate a new discovery or outcome. 

This workshop would introduce participants to writing comedy, stagecraft and how to ditch the Powerpoint habit. 

As a stand-comedian with more than 20 years experience on the stages of comedy clubs from Aberdeen to Bournemouth, Susan has a wealth of knowledge and experience in writing and performing live comedy. As the MC for the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas and a trainer/MC for The Bright Club in Scotland, Susan has worked closely with academics to help them ‘find the funny’ in their work or research methods.

Amygdala Dilemma: An Artistic Reflection on the Economics of Fear  

Thursday 15 June (12-2pm) - LSE LIFE Workspace 4 

Facilitated by Dr Niki Barbery Bleyeben  

For this workshop we will use an abstract painting exercise as an instrument for conceptual sense-making to create deeper levels of inter-disciplinary inquiry into the subject of fear and facilitate collaboration between dissimilar groups, fostering an appreciation for diverse and pluralistic points of view. 

As the war in Ukraine unfolds, global uncertainty has surged. But uncertainty is a nebulous concept. It reflects uncertainty in the minds of consumers, managers, and policymakers about future events (that may or may not happen). It is also a broad concept relating to macro phenomena like GDP growth and micro phenomena like the growth rate of firms, elections, wars, and climate change.  

Psychology and neuroscience tell us that uncertainty instantly arouses our fight-or-flight reaction. It fires up our amygdala. Our survival brain will do almost anything for the sake of certainty because we are hardwired to overestimate threats and underestimate our ability to handle them. But recent research in the field of neuro-economics is providing evidence that not all amygdalae are created equal, and as a consequence, some of us respond more cooperatively and manage our fear by taking a longer view on risk, whilst others respond more individualistically and seek short term remedies to attend to economic anxieties.  

Benefits for participants are: 

  • improved visual literacy and confidence around how to integrate art into one’s own research 

  • cultivation of creativity through cross pollination of ideas, observation, active listening, and experimentation 

  • access to collective intelligence and shared meaning 

  • a deeper understanding of the impact fear has on individual choice/decision-making and how this connects to the broader socio-environmental-economic paradigm.

Drawing and dancing your research; how to use creative art forms to engage the public and develop understanding

Friday 16 June (1-3pm) - LSE LIFE Workspace 2 

Facilitated by Geraldine Cox and Emma Bellerby 

Join visual artist, Geraldine and dance artist, Emma for a playful workshop that explores public engagement through art and movement activities. This workshop will be a chance to play with creative methods that engage the public with your research. We will take one broad topic and explore the links to both visual art and movement, first showing and then explaining the approach behind our work. You will leave the session with fresh and imaginative activities to communicate your research and most importantly, we promise it will be a fun way to spend two hours!

Absolutely no experience in either art or dance required, just an open mind and a willingness to experiment and join in. 

 

LSE Fringe 2022

The first LSE Fringe festival took place in June 2022.

Details

Exploratory diagramming: reading through drawing

Monday 9 May (12-2pm) - LRB.R.505

Facilitated by: Dr Dean Kenning

This is an exploratory diagramming workshop which uses diagramming and drawing as a mode of close reading of theoretical texts. Participants will explore various forms of diagramming e.g. abstract-schematic; sequential ‘storyboarding’, illustrative; interweaving of pictures and symbols. The participants will have the opportunity to try this approach for themselves with advice and support from an experienced practitioner.

What if the Entire World Lived in One City? A philosophical collective painting workshop

Tuesday 10 May (12-2pm) - The GenDen (old Bookstore)

Facilitated by: Niki Barbery Bleyeben

The act of collective painting, whilst immersed in philosophical discourse sharpens the mind through conceptual visualisation and implementation; an artist is allowed the space to bring multiple solutions to life using critical thinking skills. During the process, what the participants imagination will evolve and there will be moments of felt-frustration due to limitations/unexpected outcomes that occur during any artistic practice. Exploring solutions to address these limitations as a group builds important problem-solving skills in a fluid, non-judgmental space, which is vital to learning to think outside the box. Participants will be expected to participate in lively discussion around a set of primary questions. There will be a large canvass (120 x 80cm), which will have already been prepped with some aspects of the framework laid out. A combination of discussion, movement and painting exercises will flesh out ideas on how we might reconceptualise our global population into one seamless landscape: What if the Entire World Lived in One City?

An introduction to research poetry: exploring and engaging through verse

Wednesday 11 May (12-2pm) - Workspace 2 LIFE

Facilitated by: Dr Melanie Giles and Dr Abbi Flint

This workshop provides an introduction to the potential of research poetry, as both method and in research engagement, with opportunities for participants to start creating their own research poems.  Starting by considering poetry as a form of expression, and how that might relate to research, the facilitators will take participants through an exploration of approaches to research poetry drawing on their own practice and wider literature. Writing activities will provide participants with the opportunity to put these ideas into practice, e.g. using short-form poetry in research diaries, using poetic transcription when working with text-based sources, and poetic responses to objects and artefacts (provided by curators from LSE Library archives). Participants will be invited to start their own research poems responding to these prompts.

Harnessing digital storytelling to engage a wider audience 

Thursday 12 May (10am-12pm) - LRB.R.505

Facilitated by: Chris Thomson

This workshop looks at the power of storytelling and how you can harness it to improve your ability to reach out and engage all kinds of audiences. You will explore the fundamentals of effective storytelling and how they relate to research activity. You will be introduced to a flexible but free suite of creative tools to help you shape your digital stories, and get started on creating your very own research story.

You will need to bring a device, preferably a laptop but an iOS or Android mobile device will work too. If you are using a mobile device you will need to download the Adobe Creative Cloud Express app.

Reimagining your research with Dreams: using the PlayStation game to illustrate and disseminate research

Thursday 12 May (12.30-2.30pm) - LRB.R.505

Facilitated by: Sarah Brin & Toby Gale

In this workshop you will watch a demonstration of the Dreams platform, led by members of the Media Molecule team. You will have the opportunity to discuss how the platform can be used to illustrate and disseminate research outputs.