Mug of Science was a brand new Pint of Science initiative this year, created to bring the informal and conversational style of science communication that we all know and love from the traditional Pint of Science festival directly to our phones and computers!
The Mug of Science Youtube series was originally pitched as being short informal discussions between local scientists and a Pint of Science volunteer over a morning coffee in a local cafe. The original goal was to create an episode for each day of May. It didn’t take us long to realise how much work would be needed for each episode and that this goal was unrealistic. In the end we agreed that 12 episodes would be achievable and allow an episode per day across the final two weeks of May. The Mug team not only met this goal but exceeded it, creating 15 engaging and informative episodes.
The Mug Team was relatively small and consisted of 5 volunteers, but were also helped out by CEO-extraordinaire Tom Carruthers. The team had little to no experience interviewing, filming or editing videos but learnt quickly on the job and had great support from the Pint of Science executive team. Armed with some cheapie lapel mics and selfie sticks/tripods, we trekked to cafes and universities to meet up with local scientists and film on location.
Understanding which “cameras” (aka our phones & laptops) were best and how to set them up each time was an exercise in problem solving! Some filming situations were challenging and included wobbly tables, bright lights coming from one side, loud street traffic, and busy cafe sounds and even rain! It was common to have last-minute, on the spot decision changes for shoot locations, or tables and chairs to get that perfect lighting! Luckily we also had expert guidance in the editing room to make up for our newbie filming errors and were able to produce some excellent episodes.
The Mug Team managed to release face to face interviews from a career-, topic- and gender-diverse group of researchers from 5 major Australian cities. A broad range of subjects were discussed from the cellular level to outer space! It was so interesting to hear about all the research that is happening across the country. Although there were so many great episodes, personally selected highlight episodes from the Mug Team this year include; Galactic Origins with astrophysicist Prof Richard de Grijs, Beautiful Symmetry with Emeritus Professor Cheryl Praeger, Space Computers with Dr Fiona Panther and, of course, the CEO Festival Wrap-up Special with Jirana Boontanjai and Tom Carruthers.
Reflecting back on everything that Pint and Mug of Science have achieved this year makes us all extremely proud. For a ragtag group of volunteers, to create such professional products and reach so many people has been such a joy! On top of that we also became such good friends throughout the process. Although like everything, it had its moments, being a part of the first Mug of Science series has been an amazing experience and we couldn't be happier with the results and engagement.
See you all next year!
Nattai, Ty, Larissa, Ruvi & Francisco
The Mug of Science Team, 2021