NSF Transmedia Project

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a modern myth; a 200-year-old science-fiction story with themes of human creativity, societal responsibility and scientific ethics.

Two centuries later, these themes continue to resonate in our technological age.  As citizens with access to incredible tools for creation and transformation, we not only need to understand the fundamentals of science and technology, but also to develop the skills to actively participate in the policy discussions that surround these fields. Arizona State University, with a grant from the National Science Foundation will take on this challenge, pairing the compelling nature of the Frankenstein narrative with digital and hands-on activities to invite deeper conversations about questions of scientific innovation and responsibility.

The award – Increasing Learning and Efficacy about Emerging Technologies through Transmedia Engagement by the Public in Science-in-Society Activities will advance new approaches to the design and development of STEM learning in informal environments, across digital and physical platforms:

  • The Digital Museum: Collection objects from a broad range of museums and science centers about Frankensteinand science-in-society topics that enable members of the public to create and share their own virtual exhibits.
  • Frankenstein’s Footlocker: A museum kit supporting creative and making activities, promoting reflection on related social and ethical issues, and exploring emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, robotics and bioengineering.
  • Frankenstein’s Workbench: A set of at-home maker activities, online challenges and competitions involving hands-on science and other creative activities.

Across these multiple engagements, the Transmedia Museum will prompt participants to consider the questions that emerged in Shelley’s Frankenstein and continue to inform issues in contemporary society.

  • What is life?
  • What does it mean to be human?
  • Why Do We Create?

With an interdisciplinary team of researchers from across the University and advisors around the nation, CSI continues to work through these elements, activities and prototypes to create a product befitting Shelley’s original, groundbreaking masterpiece.

Partners:

  • The Bakken Museum
  • The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia
  • Science Museum of Minnesota
  • Arizona Science Center
  • Mesa i.d.e.a. Museum
  • Arizona State Library System
  • Children’s Museum of Houston
  • Scottsdale Cultural Council
  • Phoenix Comicon