Thank you, Boston!

The day after the election, we held an incredible two night event just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. It was a timely, empowering experience rich with art, technology, science, and conversation. Read through the highlights below, then check out our plans to take the show on the road.
 

Somerville, MA | November 9 & 10, 2016 All photography by Erica Derrickson. See contributing artists here.

Somerville, MA | November 9 & 10, 2016 All photography by Erica Derrickson. See contributing artists here.


GUEST BOOK

‘It’s Only Human’ featured scientific concepts brought to life through art. The aesthetic integration made us see science in a new way, and the scientific dialogue made us look at the art in a new way. It was utterly unique and truly exciting to take part!
— Dr. Leah Somerville, Associate Professor of Psychology, Harvard University
It’s easy to think of science and art as competing ways to see the world. “It’s Only Human” makes plain the opposite truth: science and art richly complement each other in explaining our complexity, subtlety, and humanity.
— Andrew Watson, Educator & President, Translate the Brain
I had no idea what to expect from the “It’s Only Human” show. When I walked in, I was immersed with breathtaking art; art that made me think. That’s what art should be. It should make us think. And the entire point [of this show] is to make the audience reconsider how we interpret reality and the world around us, and how we confront our own biases.

I initially expected ‘biases’ to mean interpersonal or relational, but this show went FAR AND BEYOND that expectation and showed me simply how my brain will make assumptions based on my experiences, giving me the opportunity to reframe and reconsider how others may experience the world. It was truly a life-changing experience.
— Craig Bidiman, Health Education Specialist at UMass Boston & Founder, Art of Survival
This exhibit did everything I hoped and expected it would. It was engaging. It was interactive. It was important and timely. One couldn’t possibly leave the exhibit, having paid any attention, and not understood that we are all biased. Timed at a political moment when awareness of our own and others’ biases were bubbling to the surface, the exhibit provides a sort of anchor; It acknowledges the natural and unavoidable existence of bias while also not rationalizing their existence as acceptable.
— Dr. Amy Vashlishan-Murray, Associate Professor of Science, Emerson College
The People’s Science have achieved the rare feat of making science education both fun and sophisticated, allowing adults to satisfy their curious inner child while maintaining their street cred. A must see!
— Dr. Rodrigo Braga, Postdoctoral Fellow in Cognitive Neuroscience, Harvard University
I am so impressed with how this show came together into an engaging, interactive, and educational experience that I will remember and talk about... Great job, please do more!
— Natalie Koscal, Medical & Biological Illustrator
This show uniquely brought together the beauty of art and the insight of science. A truly amazing experience
— Dr. Barbara Braams, Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychology, Harvard University
This exhibit converts narrow mindedness into tolerance while challenging the open-minded. The diversity of media engaged all our senses.
— Raphaël Pestourie, PhD Candidate in Mathematics & Applied Sciences, Harvard University & MIT
This was by far THE BEST exhibit I have ever been privy to... I was enlivened and inspired by the focal points chosen for each component of the exhibit... Keep trying. ‘I celebrate you baby, I have to praise you like I should.’
— Matt Pearsall, Lab Technican, MIT (who gets extra points for quoting Moby)

ABOUT THE SHOW

On November 9 & 10, 2016, we launched our first installation of the "It's Only Human" exhibition.

Over 250 guests from across the Boston, Massachusetts community gathered to explore, discuss, and consider ways to navigate human bias. We paired inspiring work from artists with curated scientific research to create a window into the self that most people rarely see. Acclaimed psychologist, Dr. Mahzarin Banaji, met with guests and signed "Blindspot", one of the books that inspired it all. The talented Dr. Choukri Mekkaoui shared one of his incredible, large-scale interactive images of the real human brain. We used interactive technology and immersive mini-experiments to catch our guests in the middle of their own minds’ quirks. We started with the fundamentals, like visual illusions, and built our way up, step by step, through false memories, through media bias, through  group influence, and finally, to complex issues like prejudice, stereotypes, and power structures. Guests spent hours combing through what one attendee lovingly dubbed "a deconstructed book", soaking in every image, every trick, every insight.

By the time we got to the hard stuff, people were ready for it; they craved it even. Somewhere between the emotional power of the art, the mind-bending science, and the moments of disequilibrium, we found it: a way in. A way for all of us to join together and talk to each other about our individual and collective shortcomings. A way to normalize bias so that we can try our hands at navigating it. A way to stop avoiding bias - to just admit it - so that we can start to do better. A way to plant a seed that could, in time, change everything. 

We are so proud of this event, and so grateful to our community for embracing its mission and supporting this important cause. We couldn't have done it without you, Boston. Next stop, everywhere.

help us take the show on the road

All proceeds benefit The People's Science, a 501(c)3 dedicated to developing creative and practical STEM engagement opportunities and 21st century information literacy tools. We work to address social, personal, and environmental issues by counteracting the underlying mechanisms that drive them.



EXHIBIT DETAILS

We worked with a diverse team of artists, scientists, educators, and designers to offer a unique experience that was both educational and reflective. We also offered strategies for how we might leverage these insights to craft a better future.

ART

Abigail Ogilvy.png

Original art inspired by the biases of self, society, and information was showcased. The show was curated in collaboration with local gallery owner, Abigail Ogilvy of the Abigail Ogilvy Gallery. Learn more about the artists that participated in the Cambridge Show here.

SCIENCE

We synthesized scientific evidence under the guidance of our scientific advisory board to feature interactive exercises about the science of bias. From the gold dress to the need to conform, guests enjoyed immersive experiences revealing the ways we filter the world around us. 

CALL TO ACTION

All proceeds of this event benefitted The People's Science. To support this initiative, we featured a silent auction, art print sales, and a once-in-a-lifetime raffle. The event raised over $15,000. Learn more about our mission here.


EVENT DETAILS

We believe that our events should celebrate the local communities that support them. In addition to local artists, we featured local artisans, makers, food, music, and libations throughout the evening.

VENUE

   

Warehouse XI • Somerville, MA
Our launch event would not have been possible without the gorgeous space and generous support of our venue, Warehouse XI.
 

DRINKS

Beer • Wine
Wine and beer was available, thanks in large part to a generous donation by Aeronaut Brewing.

FOOD

PennyPacker's Fine Foods
Delicious, complementary food was available for guests. 


SPONSORS


 
 

WE'RE JUST GETTING STARTED.
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LEARN ABOUT OUR NEXT STEPS
Read more about where we're headed here. You can email us at hello@thepeoplesscience.org to tell us how you'd like to get involved.

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