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Wed 26 May, Thu 3 Jun, ... Wed 16 Jun 2021
15:00 - 17:00


Provided by: Researcher Development Programme (RDP)


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Engaged Researcher Online - Communicating And Collaborating Using Improv

Wed 26 May, Thu 3 Jun, ... Wed 16 Jun 2021


Improvised comedy, better known simply as “improv”, describes a wide variety of theatrical forms which all share the key characteristic that content, scenes, and characters are creating spontaneously by the performers. Successful improvisors embody a set of core skills, summarized by the phrase “Yes, and…”, which can be readily taught and learnt, and which can be used by practicing scientists and science communicators to provide a framework for more effective communication and collaboration. Although born in very different contexts, improv’s core skills embody the values underpinning the shift to more participatory and dialogic forms of public engagement in the UK in recent decades.

This training is an unashamedly entertaining and enjoyable introduction to improv for scientists hoping to do better when undertaking challenging intellectual tasks in front of others and when interacting with others when you wish to be—and wish to be seen to be—responsive to their perspectives and opinions. The training is not about being funny or making people laugh, but is instead about the underlying skills which lead to successful improv, and no one should be put off for a fear of “not being funny enough”.

As a highly interactive training, everyone must be minimally comfortable talking in front of others in order to get the most out of the course.

Target audience
  • PhD students
  • Post-docs
  • Researchers
  • Public Engagement Professionals

Number of sessions: 4

# Date Time Venue Trainer
1 Wed 26 May   15:00 - 17:00 15:00 - 17:00 Online James Dolan
2 Thu 3 Jun   15:00 - 17:00 15:00 - 17:00 Online James Dolan
3 Thu 10 Jun   15:00 - 17:00 15:00 - 17:00 Online James Dolan
4 Wed 16 Jun   15:00 - 17:00 15:00 - 17:00 Online James Dolan

Introduce you to a small toolbox of concepts and principles from improv comedy which, through practice, will help improve your communication and collaboration skills. The three core skill groups are:

  • attunement (i.e. the ability to pay attention to, perceive, and remain aware of others)
  • affirmation (i.e. the ability to understand, empathise with, and validate others’ ideas, perspectives, and worldviews)
  • advancement (i.e. the ability to build upon and enrich others’ contributions with your own).
System requirements

Please also make sure you have a good internet connection which allows, for the most part, for uninterrupted sound and audio via Zoom.

Information for Participants

Please make sure that you have a private space from which to join the sessions (i.e. one where you will feel comfortable making a variety of—potentially silly—sounds and movements without feeling particularly self-conscious).

This course is part of a study exploring the use of improv for science and science communication training, and participants will be asked to complete both a pre- and post-course survey and will be invited to attend a recorded interview with one of the Public Engagement Team. Although you do not need to take part in the study to sign up for this course, we very much hope that participants will consider taking part in the study. Further information, including Participant Information Sheets and Consent Forms, will be circulated prior to the beginning of the course.

What past participants said about this course:

You will have a great time practising listening and building collectively with the rest of the group. Improv is fun and a powerful tool for communicating with other people.

Surely in my daily life it has helped me to feel more confident when social interaction, when speaking to collaborators or colleagues.

It is really worth doing, for fun and for the sake of its impact on your communication skills.


If you have troubles joining the sessions or have any queries, please contact Giulia Bertolotti ( or Diogo Gomes (


Four two-hour sessions.

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