Workshop 1:  explorations

King's College London, September 2016

The first workshop brought together historians of science, palaeontologists, artists, museum professionals and science communicators to discuss how the deep history of life have been communicated to publics historically and currently.  In doing so, we thought about how interdisciplinary engagement and discussion of this area could work, reflected on how popular conceptions feed into scientific research, and discussed the impact this has had upon changing ideas of animals, the environment and evolution.

Over the two days, we discussed 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?



Chris ManiaS


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Mark Carnall

The Other 97%: Making the Most of the Underwhelming Fossils in Museums

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Elizabeth Jones

A History of Ancient DNA Research: A History of Celebrity Science.  

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Debates & Theories

Darren Naish

Palaeoart Memes and the Unspoken Status Quo

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Ilja Nieuwland

Otto Jaekel, Gustav Tornier and the use popular science as a means of leverage for the reform of paleontology in early-20th century Germany.

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Thinking with dinosaurs

Mareike Vennen

'Making Dry Bones Live:' Entanglements between Science and Popular Culture in early Twentieth Century Natural History Museums

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Will Tattersdill

Different Things which Work the Same: Analogies of Prehistoric Life in Pixar's The Good Dinosaur (2015)

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Presenting Other Organisms

Joe Cain

Betting on Horses: George Gaylord Simpson’s Strategy for Defending Quantum Evolution

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Elsa Panciroli

No Small Problem: the challenges of popularising Mesozoic ratty things

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Mark Witton

Importance and Impact of Palaeoart in Palaeontological Outreach

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Historical Examples of Palaeontological Outreach

Richard Fallon

‘A Good Plan to Build after a Good Model:’ H. N. Hutchinson (1856-1927) and the Crafting of Palaeontology Popularisation at the Natural History Museum

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Marco Tamborini

‘Like anything that does not bring in any money, there seems not to be the slightest interest in natural history in Prussia:’ Fundraising for Tendaguru

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Current Examples of Palaeontological Outreach

Shaena Montanari

Dinosaur Doctors: Science Outreach In A Hospital Setting

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Dave Marshall

The Virtual Natural History Museum

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