Doctoral College

Single pink-iced cupcake covered in white chocolate curls

Creative research communication or cake-related cookiness?

In the light of Wonkhe’s recent blog post “Communicating research creatively. With Cake.” a few thought processes stirred within me…

  1. This looks a lot of fun. And tasty.
  2. Having baked a few birthday cakes in my time, I can imagine this taking some time, not just in the baking and icing but the conceptual design work…
  3. Who would I be communicating my research to? School colleagues? Open Day visitors? University Marketing department? Peer review by social media?
  4. One could imagine a certain newspaper whose name rhymes with ‘fail’ frothing at the mouth at the thought of any researcher taking precious time out from their righteous, publicly-funded task of defeating all forms of cancer just to create a sugary treat (which eaten in sufficient quantity will of course, cause all forms of cancer, thereby doubling the impact of their delinquency, etc etc etc (feel free to insert any other misconceptions, half-truths, deliberate misrepresentations…).
  5. Would this be more appropriate for explaining research in the Arts and Humanities or Engineering? Theoretical physics or physical geography? Do you ban all creative arts DRs on the basis they have a functional headstart, or does madeira sponge create a level playing field?
  6. Is this a part R1, part R2 or part R3 activity? Or post thesis submission?
  7. Are there other creative ways of communicating research for the non-bakers out there? Stamp-designing? A stand at the Chelsea Flower Show? A book of Haiku? An art exhibition?

It may sound as if I’m a bit sceptical. Maybe I am, a little, because research doesn’t always result in that one simple outcome that popular media demands, and I don’t want people’s research efforts diminished. But it could be fun to explore what counts as creative communication, edible or otherwise.


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