2016 was a busy year for The Catalyst, and alas, not every project has been mentioned so far. However, we're still proud of them! Here is a list of events within which The Catalyst either devised, performed, or did a mixture of the two.
Our monthly science improv show at Cinema Oblo, which is now a roaring success!
The Catalyst performed at the second Debunking Slam in Zurich. Taking place at the BQm Kulturcafe & Bar on the ETH Zurich campus, four speakers debunked misconceptions on various topics, even working in Judas Priest lyrics! The Catalyst then devised, as is our custom, improv sketches based on these talks to entertain the audience and take the topics on new tangents. A big thank you to Skeptiker Schweiz for hosting us!
We were invited to teach workshops on science communication, elevator pitching and presentation skills for CUSO, HEC Lausanne, iMM in Lisbon, at doctoral schools and events (e.g. Life Science Career Day) around Switzerland. A bit of business, but we are happy to spread the science-improv bug through these training courses!
2016 saw the 11th edition of Les Mystères de l'UNIL that focussed on the theme of The City. Nearly 10,000 people, including 2200 students, participated in this open-door event at l'Université de Lausanne where 300 researchers put on 24 workshops and 9 laboratories to fascinate one and all.
For our part, The Catalyst was involved in devising and performing an interactive debate. This debate centered on an imaginary city that had just been discovered in the mountains of Switzerland. Due to the depletion of a mysterious mineral that had once protected the city, the inhabitants came to Lausanne to seek help in developing their city, Kryptopolis, to make it thrive once again. Students were asked to listen to arguments from different perspectives on urban development, including topics such as commercialism, electricity generation and transportation, and then to vote for their most preferred option. In this way they helped the inhabitants design the Kryptopolis of tomorrow. It was amazing to see how passionate the students were about designing the best city!
We brought together the Lac Leman improv community for a weekend of skill sharing and fun. We had the pleasure to welcome members from the Renegade Saints, Shark Pockets, ZigZag and of course us, The Catalyst.
Two of our members went and represented at this amazing event, running a session on Science and Improv.
As the Science Slam Basel team say:
"Giving excellent science talks is not magic, it's practice."
This was the second time The Catalyst has performed at Science Slam Basel, and for the second time we were met with contagious support and enthusiasm. Once again the speakers presented enlightening talks that both educated and entertained. It was clear that all of their practice led to some magical performances. Drawing on this inspiration, The Catalyst performed a series of improv sketches that were well received.
We performed for charity at this event organized jointly with the Shark Pockets and Renegade Saints. We were thrilled to raise some money for Terre des Hommes, a charity that helps children in crisis.
Dec 5 2016 - Aug 15 2017
This was a new concept for us that certainly broadened our science entertainment skills.
In collaboration with the Musée de zoologie in Lausanne, The Catalyst designed the Escape Game as an accompaniment to the museum's exhibition Parasites! Like other escape games, participants must use the information in the room and their intelligence to solve a series of puzzles, and finally to escape! Our game asks the potential escapees to become parasites; to infect the exhibition host; and to use the material displayed in the exhibition to proceed through puzzles and the parasitic life cycle to finally escape the host. This was a challenging project that pushed our creative and intellectual skills to the limit, and we're proud to have created our first escape game. Well, two actually. That run simultaneously in a large room full of interesting details that could be relevant to one escape game but not the other, or perhaps they're relevant to both and the host is throwing out red-herrings to slow us down so it can finally catch us in a dramatic crescendo finale. Or not. My head is spinning.
Published by Mark Venning-Slater