584   Insight talk

Is it time to escape? Examining "Escape Rooms' as science communication interventions

Author: Hannah Little
Science Communication Unit, The University of the West of England, United Kingdom

Escape rooms are a recent cultural phenomena, whereby a group of players are locked in a room and must solve a series of clues, puzzles, or mysteries in order to escape. From an educational perspective, escape rooms have been praised for offering a more holistic, human centred and play-based approach to learning, which is able to capitalise on the influence of game-based learning but via a technique that is not technologically driven in the same way that most modern gaming can be. The existing literature on escape rooms has concentrated on their commercial role in tourism, or as a tool used in formal education but what new opportunities do they provide for science communicators? And might they play a role in widening participation around science communication? In this contribution, we will explore their growing use in informal science communication: in science centres and museums. We conducted a set of interviews with institutions running science-themed escape rooms across the UK and USA. We asked about escape room themes, aims and audiences. The interviews were audio recorded and transcribed, and analysed with an inductive thematic analysis approach whereby codes and themes were derived from the data. In this presentation, we will present our findings on the scope and objectives of escape rooms in science communication contexts. We have found a range of objectives ranging from communicating science, attracting underserved groups, and financial gain. Our study provides an initial look at the use of escape rooms in science communication contexts; outlining how they can attract specific audiences and engage them with scientific content.

Co-author: Clare Wilkinson
Science Communication Unit, The University of the West of England, United Kingdom

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