Do you have an ecological #FieldworkFail you’d like to share?

We are looking for ecologists to share their experiences of working in the field as part of our Fieldwork short comedy film project. If you’d like to take part, you can either do so by answering some or all of the questions in the form below, or you can arrange an hour-long interview with Suw – just pick a convenient date and time via Calendly.

Introducing Fieldwork

Everything you need to know about our latest creative project.

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

If you’d like to follow this project, you can subscribe to Word Count, Suw’s creative writing newsletter on Substack, a hybrid email newsletter/blog publishing service which we are using as part of our program of public outreach.
Word Count has four sections: a weekly writing newsletter, plus Essays, Fiction and Fieldwork. When you subscribe, you’ll be able to control exactly which emails you receive, so if you only want news about Fieldwork, you can unsubscribe from the other three sections.
Subscribing to a single section in Substack can be a little bit fiddly, but you only have to do it once.
  1. Visit
  2. Put your email address in the box and click Subscribe.
  3. Pick your subscription plan. A free plan is available.
  4. Skip the recommendations by clicking Maybe Later, or choose which additional newsletters look interesting to you.
  5. Select which newsletter sections you’d like to receive, eg, untick Fiction and Essays if you do not wish to receive those emails.
  6. Click Continue, then either share to Twitter or untick the box and continue.
  7. If you’re not already a Substack member, create a sign in.
  8. Visit your settings at and unselect Word Count: Mews, News & Reviews if you do not wish to receive Suw’s weekly writing newsletter.

You can also follow us on Twitter at either @suw or @iCOMET_York.