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Tue 16 Mar, Tue 23 Mar, ... Fri 9 Apr 2021
10:00 - 12:00

Venue: Online

Provided by: Graduate School of Life Sciences

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Engaged Researcher Online Training: Communicating and Collaborating using Improv

Tue 16 Mar, Tue 23 Mar, ... Fri 9 Apr 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, PostDoc and PEP's


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


Number of sessions: 4

# Date Time Venue Trainer
1 Tue 16 Mar   10:00 - 12:00 10:00 - 12:00 Online James Dolan
2 Tue 23 Mar   10:00 - 12:00 10:00 - 12:00 Online James Dolan
3 Tue 30 Mar   10:00 - 12:00 10:00 - 12:00 Online James Dolan
4 Fri 9 Apr   10:00 - 12:00 10:00 - 12:00 Online James Dolan

The aim of this short course is to 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); and advancement (i.e. the ability to build upon and enrich others’ contributions with your own).

For queries about the training

This session will take place on Zoom. We will be sharing the link to join the session a day before the training. If you have trouble joining the session or have any queries, please do get in touch with: Selen Etingu-Breslaw ( or Diogo Gomes Martins (

Booking / availability