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Genomics Forum · News

Forum “gets creative” about factual life-science writing



Visiting Research Fellow organises “sell-out” workshop as part of “Innovative Learning Week”.


The ESRC Genomics Forum is set to explore how factual scientific writing can be made as creative and engaging as possible, thanks to the work of one of its Bright Ideas Visiting Research Fellows (VRFs).

As part of the University of Edinburgh’s Innovative Learning Week, science writer and editor, Barbara Melville, will be leading a day-long workshop exploring creative writing techniques that can be used to engage the public in facts about the life sciences. The event – which takes place on Thursday 21 February 2013 – will focus on how the creative principles behind works of scientific fiction can potentially be applied to scientific fact, in order to bring information about biosciences to life.

The workshop has proved so popular amongst its target audience of students, scientists and science communicators that all available places have been filled, and consideration is therefore being given to hosting similar events in the future. It’s anticipated that some of the creative, factual science writing produced by participants in the initiative will ultimately be featured on Genotype – the Genomics Forum blog.

Speaking about the workshop, Bright Ideas fellow Barbara Melville said:

“The life sciences are developing rapidly, resulting in many discoveries that could have significant impacts for society. But all too often the science behind these important advances is seen as either boring or unfathomable.

“As a scientific journalist, who also has a background in fictional literature, it became apparent to me that it might be possible to apply some of the techniques used in developing fiction to bring a different approach to factual science writing. I hope the workshop will demonstrate that writing about science doesn’t have to be staid, and it is possible to make even complex scientific information accessible to a wide public audience.”

As well as undertaking a Visiting Research Fellowship at the Genomics Forum during February 2013, Barbara is also currently Writer-in-Residence at the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, Edinburgh. Following on from the workshop, she hopes to develop a dedicated website that specialises in supporting and publishing creative, non-fiction science writing.


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