Imperial College London

Imperial scientists team up with White City residents for ‘experiment in funny’

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LOL-Lab performance

Imperial researchers and local people came together to try their hand at stand-up comedy in White City.

There were two types of people at LOL-lab: scientists, local people and people who can’t count. Dr Nathan Green Imperial academic

Over the course of three weeks, participants were given a comedy crash-course by stand-up comedian and comedy writer, Simon Watt, as part of a unique community engagement programme called LOL-lab. 

LOL-lab aims to break down barriers between Imperial’s academics and local people, creating a platform where they could come together, interact and support each other.

Participants were given a unique insight into the art of making people laugh as they developed their own jokes, perfected their comic timing, and built up their confidence. 

Simon WattThe programme came to a side-splitting climax with a charity comedy night at The Queen’s Tavern pub in White City, which raised more than £400 Hammersmith & Fulham Mind

LOL-lab was piloted last year by the NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) Patient Experience Research Centre (PERC), a part of Imperial’s School of Public Health. PERC aims to promote communication between patients, researchers and clinical staff to help drive improvements in healthcare. This year LOL-lab was expanded to include academics and students from across the College, as well as local residents from White City 

Dr Nathan Green
Dr Nathan Green

The programme was founded by Dr Nathan Green, Research Fellow in Imperial’s School of Public Health, and supported by local stand-up comedian Nina Joshi-Ramsey. 

Dr Nathan Green joked: “There were two types of people at LOL-lab: scientists, local people and people who can’t count.” 

Local resident Sandra Anlin participated on the programme. She said: “I knew that I can write humorously but didn't know if I could write a funny stand-up routine. Three workshops with the amazing Simon Watt and two sessions with support from Nathan and Nina later, it would seem I can!”

"Imperial really are changing lives in all sorts of unexpected ways!" 

LOL-lab participant

Will Kendall, Societal Engagement Officer at the School of Public Health, organised this year’s programme along with Priya Pallan from the White City Community Engagement team. He said: “LOL-lab is an excellent and innovative way of improving communication between academics and the public .Comedy is a medium for breaking down barriers and getting people talking to one another about things in common. 

Woman playing ukulele while participating in LOL-lab “An aspect of this year’s event that I really enjoyed was hearing residents discussing their perspectives on scientists and the world of research in general. We believe the public have a right to be involved in healthcare and biomedical research and I hope this is the start of a relationship we can build between the College and the White City community.” 

Earlier this year, Imperial launched an ambitious fundraising campaign to support the development of a new, innovative and interconnected School of Public Health at the College’s White City Campus, which will bring cutting-edge research expertise and evidence-based solutions to the public health challenges that affect the local community. 

If you would like to explore working with the Community Engagement Team in White City, please email whitecity.community@imperial.ac.uk

LOL-lab performance

Reporter

Deborah Evanson

Deborah Evanson
Communications and Public Affairs

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Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 3921
Email: d.evanson@imperial.ac.uk

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