‘Perspectives’ is a series of talks in which a current theme is discussed by various guests from the UT and one of the members of the Executive Board. The first episode, titled ‘Science at the Heart of Public Discourse’, will feature scientists Femke Nijboer and David Fernandez Rivas, who both have a lot of experience with media and science communication.
‘We want the events to be very interactive,’ says the coordinator Hinke Mulder. ‘We have room for about fifty people to join physically in the DesignLab, but students and staff can also join the discussion online. Our main goal is to gather different perspectives on the same topic and learn from each other.’
Perspectives were initiated because the Executive Board expressed the wish to be in touch with the UT community. Is that correct?
Vinod Subramaniam: ‘As a board, you want to be in touch with the community and you need to find different ways to do that. Classic methods, like sending an email to all employees and students, don’t necessarily work, and so you need to look for a range of communication possibilities. We have had good experiences with talk show-like events, we have noticed it has more reach, and so we thought it’d be nice to try this new format.’
What is the main idea behind the new series?
‘University is about discussing different perspectives. The university environment is about having an open debate and sharing – what can be opposing – perspectives. We can use this input to tackle different issues. The first episode of Perspectives is dedicated to scientific communication, the relationship between academia and the public, but for the future we’d like the topics to come directly from the community.’
How do you envision using the outcomes of the show, as the Executive Board?
‘It will help us to understand what topics are really important to the community. For example, wellbeing has been an important issue, but has the focus shifted from one aspect of wellbeing to another? Knowing that can help us finetune our approach. It is important to us to get input from the broader community: students, support staff, academia staff, PhDs. And we want to talk about the topics that the community wants to talk about. I hope the show becomes a part of everyone’s consciousness and they join in.’
The second edition of Perspectives is scheduled for the 14th of June. The topic of discussion will be decided by the audience during the first show.