Using film to stimulate dialogue; Do try this at home

Published on
December 2, 2020

WUR scientists are eager to stimulate non-scientists to enter into discussions on the future of science. WUR is continuously seeking ways to engage society. One such way is to watch films on science or on issues that affect science together and to discuss the movie afterwards. This discourse turns out to inspire both the public and researchers in times of corona.

InScience festival

The InScience satellite film festival Wageningen took place in the Heerenstraat Theatre in Wageningen on Saturday 21 November. In keeping with the corona guidelines, of course. Luckily, the movie theatres had just reopened after the stricter measures were lifted. InScience is one of the biggest international film festivals for science films in Europe. It focuses on the interface between film, science and society. Guests discussed each of the selected three movies at a safe distance. Several guests stayed for more than one film.

Betina Piqueras Fiszman, consumer scientists and host of Picture a Scientist was very enthusiastic. ‘I am still very inspired after Saturday’s session. The fact that they were all students made it all the more inspiring! We should do this more often.’

Yannick van Gelder, who works at the Wageningen Data Competence Centre and hosted the film Coded Bias, considers it a win for both parties. ‘It is good to see how visitors approach a topic such as Artificial Intelligence (AI). This information can be included in discussions with colleagues and in further research.’

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CineScience movie talks

Since a few seasons, WUR organises the CineScience movie talks in collaboration with the Heerenstraat Theatre in Wageningen.

Have a look at the full programme

Every month, leading researchers exchange the scientific arena for a movie theatre and show selected films or documentaries. The researchers provide a scientific explanation, in which they not only shed light on the scientific content but also on their passion. After these screenings, there is always an opportunity for (lengthy) discussion.

Home cinema

According to Simone Ritzer, Programme Facilitator Wageningen Dialogues, these are excellent examples of how researchers and society can enter into discussions on issues that affect society a low-threshold way. ‘No matter how small or large the group you talk with is, entering into a debate with an open mind always leads to new insights. And a movie forms an excellent impetus to strike up such a conversation.’

She sees possibilities to organise something similar in a smaller setting (online). ‘Much like a book club, you could watch a movie online on, for example, Netflix with a small group of people, and then discuss it online. Suggestions for suitable movies are My Octopus Teacher, A Life on Our Planet and The Boy who Harnesses the Wind. Try this at home!