The Ö Project focuses on communicating the scientific discoveries of the SFB 1280 to the public in an adequate and interesting way. This is achieved through three core principles:
1. Local Outreach
WissensNacht Ruhr 2018: The Wissensnacht Ruhr is a biannual event in which many research institutions of the Ruhr area show their science to the public. The target groups are especially families with children and young people. In September 2018 we participated and got a booth in the Blue Square just in the center of Bochum. Various SFB-projects were on display and received tremendous attention.
Short Movie Event in cooperation with the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen: The International Short Film Festival in Oberhausen is famous for its highly original mixture of short movies of which many are very innovative and experimental. In 2019 we were able to approach and convince the organizers to add a further experimental streak to their fair. Together with the Institute for Media Studies at the RUB and interested scientists we curated a selection of short films that rotated around the topic’s trauma, memory, forgetting, or the inability to forget.
2. National and International Dissemination
Podcast “Kannste Vergessen?”: Festivals come and go. Podcasts stay; at least for quite a while. In addition, they can be downloaded or streamed at anytime from anywhere. Thus, we thought that they are an ideal device to broadcast our science to the public. However, podcasts have to made very professionally and they have to be accessible from a platform that is known worldwide. For the first aim, we managed to get Rainer Holl on board, an award-winning Poetry Slam specialist plus the technical audio crew of RUB. As a unique point, Mr. Holl adds lyrical miniatures to each recorded session. You may find „Kannste Vergessen? – Der Podcast vom Lernen, Vergessenund Erinnern“ on common platforms like Spotify and directly here on the website >>.
Vidcasts: With our vidcasts we followed three aims. First, we would like to reach out to an international audience and do so in a language that is intelligible to scientifically interested but non-specialized people. Second, we aim to attract young scientists from non-German speaking countries to Germany in general and to our research consortium in special. Third, our SFB should best be represented by the many young people who work hard and with all their enthusiasm for our scientific goals. You can find the Vidcasts directly here on the website >>.
3. Transgenerational Dissemination
Alfried Krupp Pupils’ Lab: With support from the Alfried Krupp Foundation, the RUB has established a successful pupils’ lab. Courses can be booked by groups of pupils, school classes and teachers with different course options for each group. We installed a course on the neural mechanisms of learning and memory. Our course addresses to the curriculum content fields biology and genetics of upper school students. The class has one EEG-based and one genetical topic. We start with a course introducing into “Cognitive Neuroscience of Learning, Remembering, and Extinction”, followed by an explanation how EEG patterns correspond to mental functions and how we can detect memory-related changes in EEG traces. More Information on the pupils lab can be found right here on the website >>.
Media and Teachers’ Congress Appearances: There was a substantial media interest in the activities of the SFB. We used the ensuing options to disseminate knowledge about our research with interviews in different kinds of print-based media like Stern, Spiegel, NZZ or various radio stations like MDR-Wissen, WDR5, etc. There is a further important area of knowledge dissemination; possibly even the most important one: Teachers. Their profession is to ultimately translate insights about learning and memory within school class settings. Therefore, we happily accepted the invitation of the RUB Teachers’ Day Conference to give a prime talk about our scientific insights on topics of learning and memory to ca. 400 teachers. Since this happened in October 2020, this obviously had to be done in online format.
Our research is financed by taxpayer’s money. Thus, it is the obligation of us scientists to tell in in an intelligible way what we have discovered.