Rachel Cruickshank Barcelona Fun Science
Rachel Cruickshank is a freelance Scientific Events and Innovation Manager, and the Founder of Barcelona Fun Science. She has been a member of Betahaus for almost 3 years. She is originally from London, and has been project managing scientific events and content since University, when she studied Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry.
About your project:
Hey Rachel. You’re now working on a project called Barcelona Fun Science. Can you tell us a bit more about it?
When I first moved to Barcelona I wanted to find ways to explore the city and find out more about the city and what was happening in the science and research community here. Using a platform called meetup.com, I found some events for people with common interests, but there wasn’t an organised community for people who wanted to find out more about science in a fun way, so I started one!
Since I started the Barcelona Fun Science meetup group in 2016, it has massively grown, and we now have nearly 900 community members. We host free events, workshops, field trips, visits or quiz nights at least once every month, often working with local scientific partners who teach us about their area of expertise. The community is open to everybody who is interested in learning about scientific ideas, even if they never studied a scientific subject, and we have an incredible mix of international people like me who want to learn more about the city, and also locals who want to learn about science, meet people with shared interests and also to practice their English.
We believe that scientific ideas should be accessible and fun to learn about for people who never studied science, and in addition to the community the Barcelona Fun Science team also works with scientific businesses and research institutions to help them to communicate with adult audiences about their content.
What was the latest meet-up, “Risk, Uncertainty & Communication in Computing Systems”, hosted at Betahaus about?
The event we held at Betahaus last month was one of the community workshops. We welcomed anyone at Betahaus who wanted to come, as well as our regular community members.
Meet-up member and software engineer Dr Ernest Artiaga brought hands-on games to this workshop for us. We cracked out some of our favourite childhood games to learn more about what a distributed system is in computing, how managing uncertainty and unreliability is an essential part of being a software engineer, and challenges in getting parts of computers which are not physically connected to each other to communicate information and take actions together.
As many of the community are curious people who have not studied science before, we use lots of games and hands-on activities to help people to learn and to have fun at the events. We design interactive activities which make complicated ideas easier to understand, and are also important to show people that science does not have to be very technical and difficult.
We will take a break in the free events in July and August because a lot of people in the community are away, and then we will start again in September.
Why did you chose Barcelona?
In addition to running Barcelona Fun Science, I work remotely as a Scientific Events Manager for international pharmaceutical companies. My main client at the moment is based in Ireland, and as my partner also works remotely we decided to leave London and come to live in Barcelona, which is an incredible city.
You’ve been at Betahaus for almost 3 years. What does it mean for you and what made you stay here?
As a remote worker, I often feel a very long way from my team. There are a lot of challenges associated with working remotely, and it can be quite difficult to care for your mental well-being. Sometimes you can feel very lonely and isolated, particularly when the rest of your team are together. Working from Betahaus really gives me the structure of leaving the house and coming into a beautiful workspace, with other people who are also working which can be really motivating.
The social side is also really important. When I first moved here, I didn’t know anybody in the city at all. So Betahaus was really fundamental for meeting people, making friends and starting to feel less of a tourist and more like a local.
With the atmosphere at Betahaus, I can also learn more about the practical side of being an entrepreneur and growing my project. Guidance and help from people in the community was really helpful when I was just starting Barcelona Fun Science.
How did life at Betahaus influence your professional and personal growth? What did you learn here?
For me, the difference for Betahaus compared to other workspaces is the social part of the community. There are people to have lunch with, regular social events, parties, Christmas lunch and even an annual fancy-dress fun run! Other coworking spaces hold professional events and training workshops (which Betahaus does too), but Betahaus is really a place where people meet real friends and that is something really incredible when you are new in a city.