Published: 26-11-2020 10:35 | Updated: 26-11-2020 10:39

Comedy, ventriloquism and music fill this year’s Culture Day

KI Culture Day 2020 is a cultural Christmas cracker packed with music, art, comedy and science. The two-hour event is being organised with the Stockholm House of Culture and City Theatre (Kulturhuset) and will be live streamed to the public on 2 December at 3.00 p.m.

You’re bringing together on stage Emma Frans, stand-up comic Sandra Ilar and ventriloquist John Houdi – it sounds like a crazy combo!

“It’s a wild idea but all three are good communicators who like to inject comedy into their message. The idea is to combine stand-up and ventriloquism with a discussion on using humour as a communicative device when talking about health and science. It might seem a little left-field but we have to be a bit  daring,” says Mats Lekander, professor of heath psychology and a member of KI’s Advisory Board for Culture, which is arranging the event. 

Why is important to promote scientific communication like this?

“It’s difficult for us to communicate properly substantiated, balanced knowledge about health. Lecturers and writers of the more popular kind often simplify things so much that the message is no longer true. Yet they reach so many people. So we want to discuss how we can be better at getting across balanced, scientific knowledge in a way that makes it appealing.” 

The President is opening in his capacity as Edvard Munch expert. Tell us more!

“The opening talk is about sickness in art, science and music. President Ole Petter Ottersen is an expert on Edvard Munch and will be describing how the artist depicted disease processes. Then I’ll be talking about the science of how we can recognise disease in others. This will be followed by a musical interlude at which three of our doctoral students, all classical musicians, will be playing a piece by Mendelssohn, who himself was suffering from ill-health. There’ll be more music later with Lindy & Bon Bon Band. And talking of disease, we have of course adapted the programme so that it can be done in a Covid-safe way.”

One of the aims of the KI Culture Day is to encourage more people at KI to bring culture into their lives. Why is this?

“We need to encourage staff and students at KI to expand their outreach toolbox by drawing inspiration from the world of culture. We’ve held several popular science lectures during the year with the Stockholm House of Culture and City Theatre, and they’ve drawn terrific audiences. The latest lecture on chronic fatigue syndrome clocked over 8,000 views in a matter of hours.”

You’ll also be awarding a new prize – the KI Cultural Award. For what?

“It’s an annual prize awarded to a person or organisation at KI in recognition of their work to promote cooperation or contribution to cultural initiatives at KI. The winner of the award receives a handmade diploma by artist Ina Schuppe Koistinen, researcher at KI, and a sculpture by doctor and artist Rebecka Lagercrantz, also from KI.”