By Stats Busking, we simply mean ‘getting the message out’ by:
a) direct face-to-face communication in an ordinary setting: talking to friends, colleagues, family members about what Statistics is, what statistics are and why it’s so important we all have the stats understanding and know-how we need. If we all talk about our work, the difference that Statistics has made to society and the world around us, the benefits good statistical know-how can bring (and the disadvantages to being flummoxed by data), we’ll get the message out there that much quicker.
b) the organised but still informal communicating RSS volunteers regularly do at local science and other education (including school-based) fairs and family festivals e.g. as part of a national event such as the British Science Association Science Week, a local Science Festival or international network meeting. In the last year, our members ran events at the National Science Festival, ESRC’s Social Science Festival, Leeds Science Festival, the annual Bridges conference on connections between art and mathematics (a member runs poetry sessions at this each year) and the Glasgow Science Festival.
As mentioned above, you can make the case for/explain the importance of statistics anywhere: at the bus stop, the checkout queue, the office photocopier, over lunch…you can see where we are going with this …anywhere you can talk.
Running a stand and involving people in exercises can take a little more organising, and, in some cases, may require securing permissions before you get started but don’t let this deter you. A quick agreement with your manager or tutor is probably all that you will need to busk at work, on campus or in school. Securing a stand at organised opportunities for short periods of busking e.g. at public science festivals or exhibitions is pretty straightforward. You should easily secure agreement to busk at a stand at event receptions too. Museums, shopping malls, sports centres, libraries and places like London’s South Bank (the Maths Buskers set a precedent) represent opportunities as well.
For some immediate ideas on how to communicate ways in which statistics and statistical thinking can be useful, see the following tried-and-tested Stats Busking exercises.
The RSS-getstats campaign team will be organising events and workshops at science festivals and event receptions and we would be keen to hear from anyone who would like to support these activities by busking with us. Let us know – contact email@example.com – if you would like to join us.