Kavli Centre for Ethics, Science, and the Public
The Hopes and Fears Lab

The Hopes and Fears Lab

What if … we took the data, the test tubes, the graphs, the squiggles on whiteboards, the lab coats, the safety glasses and the weird stuff in bottles out of the picture when we talked about science?

What if … we built a Lab that doesn’t look like a lab?  

What if … we asked career scientists and members of the public to join us in this Lab and talk about their feelings?

(We know. Horrifying, right?)

The Hopes and Fears Lab is a conversation experiment.

It is designed to be a place where everyone, whatever their background, can meet as equals and talk about the implications of cutting-edge science on the future we all share. 

It is designed by an artist to provoke creative, ‘out of the box’ thinking.  Actutally, it’s even made of boxes. Ordinary, everyday cardboard boxes which encourage us to unpack something together – in this case, our attitudes, our worries, our excitement, about science and what it can do for us.  

With a bit of luck, sitting down in The Hopes and Fears Lab might even help us move our assumptions about science, scientists, ‘the public’, and our future to a new place, together. One cardboard box at a time.

This Lab can pop up anywhere we want it to. We build it differently every time, depending on the people who join us there. 

It’s cheerful and playful and open. There’s no test at the end, no experts, and no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers. Just a lot of great questions, and careful listening.

This Lab lets us share what we feel rather than what we know. 

And that’s the first step to ending up somewhere really interesting.