What is this project all about?
Science is awesome, not only because of the work, but also because of the international exchange.
I think there is hardly any other field of work where you can meet so many nationalities, different cultures and languages. I enjoyed it very much to be with so many foreign people (in my research institute there are scientist from more than 40 nations) and it always was my strong wish to understand the cultural background of my friends and colleagues. But while many different ideas and traditions can enrich your life a lot, others might be more difficult to understand and accept.
Even if you work together with people for a long time it is still difficult to really understand someone's culture. Like one of my lab mates used to say: “It's like you can't imagine a blooming landscape in Asia by holding just one of these flours in your hands in Germany”. Often, a lack of knowledge of the culture of our colleagues gives us a hard time accepting each other.
This lack of cultural knowledge is what I want to address with my project. To understand a country’s culture you have to experience it. So, I will start at the place that we share: a science lab.
I'm curious about the things we have in common, but more importantly, I want to learn about the differences in the everyday lab life and private life. My video documentaries would be windows to the many different cultures and ways of life of scientists from around the worlds.
In the end, this could help scientists to understand each other better and sow acceptance for all sorts of cultural difference.
The things I would like to know about scientific work in foreign countries are:
What is the structure of science institutes, their hierarchy and funding, how are they equipped, possibilities, salary, job opportunities in science and industry, international exchange of ideas, public acceptance…
What I will NOT focus on:
While the lab life in general will be in focus, I will not focus so much on the individual research projects and results.
I also want to understand the cultural and social contexts:
What are scientists’ different religions and traditions? What are the roles of family and what are the social interactions like. How are food, sports and gestures unique?
In some countries other aspects are interesting:
Is there freedom of speech, how does science work in times of revolution?
What are the aims and who is this project for?
As described above, with my documentaries I want to open a window to the home country of many of our colleagues. It will give you the possibility to see how people do science in other countries and why they are how they are. In the end this will hopefully increase people’s acceptance for differences and encourage people to be more curious about their foreign colleagues.
The audience of my videos can be the whole scientific world; and even for people from other fields it will be interesting since I won’t focus on complex research data.
The countries on my travel route are: Germany, India, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Jordan, Israel, Spain, Portugal, Colombia and Ecuador. However, the route is not 100% fixed yet and thus subject to changes. Due to the political situation in Israel at the moment I might have to reconsider my route through the Middle East.
My goal is to shoot at least 8 videos about 8 people from different countries. I’d like to follow them for 1 or 2 days and get a closer insight to their lives. All videos will be made in English and they will include stories around the scientists’ labs and cities, and maybe, if I am lucky, even their homes. I have contacts to universities and research institutes of half of these countries already and will do all I can to increase this number.
I will start my trip on the 10th of January 2013 and in the beginning of February I will shoot the first video in Mumbai/India!
Please forgive me if my English is not 100% correct sometimes. I’m not a native speaker :-)
Why should you support this project?
The Western World is generally viewed as the place where Science is happening. Therefore, this unique project gives you the opportunity to learn about countries which are seldom mentioned for their scientific achievements. For instance, most people have no idea of what the conditions for researchers are in Asia and South America. My project will enable me to share all my experiences first hand with you!
Besides my idea of providing a basis for intercultural exchange in general, you would also support a project that paves the way for a dialog between scientists from different countries and from different fields. It has a great potential for knowledge transfer and interdisciplinary education.
But in the same time it's my goal to shape my videos in a way that they are interesting to watch for everyone. It's a science outreach approach that transports science topics out of the often locked up lab universe to an interested community and to a broader non-scientific audience. It's a chance to improve the general understanding and acceptance of science and scientists.
Another important point that is definitively worth supporting is that you'll get a picture of science political and ethical thinking in other countries. This is important to mention, because too often other values and priorities are only comprehensible and tolerable if we know about their cultural background.
In other words: You would support science communication, intercultural exchange, science outreach and interdisciplinary knowledge transfer. You would help bringing the international scientific community closer together and building bridges to a non-scientific audience.
What will I do with the funding?
The last 2 years, I saved all the money I could for this journey and at the same time my idea for this project to visit scientists around the world grew and solidified. In the end it evolved into a movie project :-). I will pay for the flights and my every day expenses during travelling myself; but I need to improve my camera and digital sound recording equipment.
My current calculations are: 800 € for the whole hardware and software equipment (camcorder, memory cards, spare battery, wide angle lens, external microphones, online data storage) and 150 € for my expenses for each of the 8 videos. Most of the film editing will be done afterwards and I might need some professional help.
As I said, you are NOT funding my travelling, just the costs for the project! In case I should get more money, I might be able to shoot more videos. :-)
And please remember: If the funding of the project will not be 100% successful, you will get your money back. No risk for you!
Who are the persons behind this?
My name is Christian Stern and I have worked in science for 5 years. This year I finished my PhD thesis in cancer immunology in Braunschweig, Germany. At my research institute (Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research) I met many foreigners who were fantastic colleagues and became good friends. Ever since then, I was interested in cultural exchange and I'm experienced in travelling. Via my colleagues here I also have contacts to many of the institutes I want to see.
Of course I’m not a professional cameraman, but I know how to use my gear. I can promise that I will get the best out of my equipment. I will use a Canon Legria HFM506 Camcorder + external microphones for a clean sound during interviewing.
My two team members here in Germany will help me with the online data storage, the project blog and the email contacts with the scientists I will meet in case I’ll be in a region with no internet or otherwise temporarily unavailable.
I really want to do this project and I can't imagine anyone better than me doing it ;-) Thanks for your support!
Check out my website for all further info: http://oneworldonelab.net/
FAQs: How long are you going to travel: January 10th – August 2013 (=~8 month, not 100% fixed yet) What is the money for: The 2.000€ are only for the project (camera + sound equipment +expenses while interviewing), not for my travelling! My travel money I saved during the last 2 years and I’ll cover flights, accommodation, food by myself. Funding: If the funding is not to 100% successful (less than 2.000€), all supporters will get their money back! I will only get the money if the funding is to 100% successful. I won’t have access to the money until the funding period is over (23.01.13). Will their be free access to the videos?: Of course! That’s the idea behind this. They will all be on youtube and on a blog or homepage that are I will create for it. How to donate: Chose the donation you like on the right side or enter an amount. Then quickly register. Unfortunately this site is available only in German. This should help all non-Germans (The screen shot is from another site but has same content): http://img593.imageshack.us/img593/1228/donationenglish2.jpg After registration you can pay via PayPal, Credit card and bank transfer from all countries (English: http://img641.imageshack.us/img641/933/donationenglish1.jpg ) Thank you!