Stars and Stories
To engage festival goers at the Green Man Festival with astronomy through storytelling
1. Provide 5 storytellers with a day's training from a professional storyteller in the best ways to approach and engage the target audience of independent adults. The storytellers, recruited from a group of experienced planetarium presenters, will be provided with basic story structures and encouraged to develop their own ways of delivery through the training.
2. Reach 100 people over the course of the three day Green Man festival per storyteller, meaning 500 people in total.
3. Evaluate the impact of the project with a view to repeat it at other similar music festivals.
Summary of activity:
Trained up 5 storytellers and attended the festival, owing to the terrible weather conditions our targets were not quite reached, but still engaged 308 festival goers with constellation star stories.
This project was supported by an IOP public engagement grant
We recorded interaction numbers and the length of interactions. Took email addresses from particularly interested people to sign up to a quarterly newsletter about the night sky, complete with attached questionnaire for qualitative data
What went well:
1: Our approach of using storytelling with star spotting worked as a way to peak our audience's curiosity about space. Stories naturally led on to discussions on physics, from stars to black holes and relativity
2: Roving storytellers had most success at engaging people, there are many people willing to listen to you at a music festival
3: Cloudy weather does not mean you can't engage with people, there are always people willing to listen. Rain, however, does spoil things.
What was learned:
1: Experienced planetarium presenters work well as storytellers, those with less experience tend to struggle under pressure and without perfectly clear skies
2: Find a focal place that people tend to gather and sit around as your main place to approach people. Those with spare time will be more than happy to listen to you.
3: Ensure that all people at the festival are aware you are using laser pens - security will confiscate them as they are prohibited