On Saturday 28th September, Dr Saloni Kirshnan, a lecturer at the RHUL Psychology Department, gave a talk, “The Evolution of Sonic Communication” at the Natural History Museum. This was a conversation with world beatboxing champion and musician Bellatrix. Saloni and Bellatrix explored a range of topics, including the differences between human and animal communication, links between language and music, and the emergence of the beatboxing culture. People also got to learn a little beatboxing, so they covered a lot of ground in 15 minutes.
Saloni told us:
"This was a really collaborative script, and I learned so much from Bellatrix. I was also delighted to see some people from Royal Holloway at the museum, thank you so much for coming!
It was a very different experience to the traditional academic talk. We didn’t have any slides, for one! The space and setting were also different, we were talking in the presence of a Stegosaurus skeleton so not your everyday lecture hall. The talks felt very relaxed, people just came and lounged in areas by the stage. Some of the audience were really interested in science, and others that were excited about seeing Bellatrix beatbox, and it was great to be able to reach these different groups. At the start, the organisers of Lost Lectures described the series as a cross between Secret Cinema and TED Talks, and I definitely got that “people by the fireside” vibe.
It was also incredible to be in the museum after hours. I felt like a child in a candy shop, because so many of the rooms that are always crowded were empty and I could explore them at my leisure. My tip is to definitely check out the Museum of the Moon while it’s here - it was stunning."