Science Cafés have become pretty boring. The world needs exciting new dialogue formats. Here come the Finns with Confession Session. It is as simple as this: Learn from your mistakes!
The idea of the confession session is pretty simple: What if instead of listing successes, you reveal your worst mistakes? When we share learning from mistakes – our own and those of others – this honest peer learning boosts professional identity and bridges generations. Mistakes are not a problem but learning from them can be. We have organised a number of confession sessions for science journalists, but it can be done with scientists also. That requires you to have an audience of scientists of course.
General Structure: Single Event
In the original setup a throwable microphone was part of the concept, which is a blue cube made of foam. “Very good for confessing, because the soft fabric absorbs your sweat (and tears) and you can squeeze it, if that helps to calm your nerves down”.
Like with all great inventions, the idea is simple. The session creates an atmosphere that allows attendees to share their mistakes. This is a bit therapeutic, relieves the confessing person and, above all, the session offers a unique learning opportunity for all participants. This helps to develop a community spirit and professional identity. These events bridge the gap between new researchers and seasoned scientists.
Main Event Duration: A few hours
Very little preparation is needed as the participants are the focus and they bring their stories.
2.1 Staff & Volunteers
Staff and volunteers are not needed for the specific event.
Volunteer Requirements: Core organising team only. A confession session can be organised by a single person. It is however advisable to have at least two to run the session and a few participants in the audience to start the storytelling.
2.2 Venue Hire
Capacity: 20 – 100 people
Sessions are usually hosted indoors, but special outdoors events are possible. While a laboratory or other special setting is not required, scientists can be encouraged to bring props or little experiments to demonstrate their field of research. Make sure this complies with health and safety rules.
2.3 Partner Institutions
Partner Institutions: Not required
A confession session event may be part of a major conference or symposium, but it can also be run independently; there is no real need to team up with a partner institution. However, collaborations are encouraged as they can provide expert speakers as well as opportunities for unique events to engage new audiences — NGOs, universities, science centres and cultural events are key examples.
Yearly / Project Budget: 0 – 5000€
Confession events are normally not stand-alone activities but part of a series of events or major conferences. Therefore the costs depend on the other activities
|Budget Point||Details||Event Cost|
|Personnel Fees||The participants pay themselves||0€|
|Venue Hire||This could be part of a major conference with scientists or journalists. It will not work as well as a stand alone event.||0–2000€|
|Marketing||Design / printing of posters or buying advertising space in local papers / on social media||500–2000€|