Cosplay for Science: Utilizing Pop Culture Narratives as a Means for Science Educational Outside Traditional Learning Centers

Document Type

Conference Paper

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Annual Meeting


Brisbane, Australia

Publication Date



The intersection of popular culture and science is often not considered by the general public, yet narratives produced by popular culture have been an incredibly effective avenue when introducing scientific concepts into general knowledge. Multimedia franchises like the Jurassic Park series, Walking With Dinosaurs, and Arc: Survival Evolved have exposed audiences to palatable paleontological concepts and have brought dinosaur taxa into common vernacular. While not often accurate in portrayals, the scientific concepts introduced through these narratives can be used as starting points for engagement through informal science education with general audiences fostered by their familiarity. Cosplay for Science is a STEAM-powered science communication initiative created to employ well-known pop culture narratives as a means to make science education concepts more relatable and accessible, entice a broader audience, and allow scientists to be more approachable. Through the use of online media and in-person engagements, such as pop-up museums, Cosplay for Science events aim to highlight how science intersects with pop culture in high-traffic spaces not traditionally used for education. Cosplay for Science members aim to benefit from the familiarity and popularity of pop culture franchises with charismatic creatures such as dinosaurs to develop audience’s appreciation for paleontology and natural history institutions, and encourage audiences to think critically about science topics in their everyday lives by utilizing these inherent interests in unique delivery methods. Additionally, through the use of qualitative and quantitative surveys with audiences at our in-person engagements, the Cosplay for Science Initiative looks to study how pop culture influences audiences’ perceptions of science and develop best practices for utilizing it in science communication and education.

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