If you’ve ever been on a science field trip, you’ll know that, in amongst the experiments and data gathering, things can go hilariously wrong. The longer you spend in the field, the more likely you are to have had animals carry off your equipment, experienced unexpected malfunctions, or seen creatures other than your target species appearing in your camera traps.
We are collecting examples of #fieldworkfails from ecologists, particularly in the UK, and listening to their experiences of working in the field to inform the development of a comedy drama. The first output will be a short film script, which Suw Charman-Anderson will be writing, but we may also use data collected as the basis for other outputs, including this newsletter.
Our aims are both to entertain and to increase awareness of ecology as a subject and as a career path. Television and film can have a powerful effect on people’s perceptions of a subject. The X-Files inspired a generation of women to become interested in science, technology, engineering and maths with what is now known as The Scully Effect. Bones encouraged women into science, as has Black Panther’s Shuri.
Can we do the same for ecology?
Our new Fieldwork newsletter
I’m going to be chronicling the entire process of writing and making the Fieldwork short film here on the ALD blog and also in a Substack newsletter. I’ll talk about my background research, possibly sharing some snippets from my interviewees, and exploring life in a field station.
I’ll also be sharing my journey into the world of comedy writing, delving into the complexities (or simplicities) of character, structure and joke writing. I dabbled in stand-up comedy many years ago, so this isn’t entirely new to me, and I’m very excited by the idea of re-finding my funny.
If you’re interested in comedy writing, then this project is very definitely for you.
I’m an ecologist! Can I take part?
Yes, you can! Just drop me a line and I’ll let you know when our online survey and interview schedule is ready.
Fieldwork is part of the International Collaboration on Mycorrhizal Ecological Traits, organised by the University of York, University of Edinburgh, Dartmouth College and Ada Lovelace Day. It is funded by the National Environment Research Council (NERC), Grant Number: NE/S008543/1.
Subscribe to Fieldwork on Substack
- Visit https://wordcounting.substack.com/s/fieldwork.
- Put your email address in the box and click Subscribe.
- Pick your subscription plan. A free plan is available.
- Skip the recommendations by clicking Maybe Later, or choose which additional newsletters look interesting to you.
- Select which newsletter sections you’d like to receive, eg, untick Fiction and Essays if you do not wish to receive those emails.
- Click Continue, then either share to Twitter or untick the box and continue.
- If you’re not already a Substack member, create a sign in.
- Visit your settings at https://wordcounting.substack.com/account and unselect Word Count: Mews, News & Reviews if you do not wish to receive Suw’s weekly writing newsletter.