This example comes out of a poet-in-residence scheme as part of a campus-wide engagement programme exploring the issues around the personal genome and society. The programme aimed to involve everyone working at the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus so included Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute staff and also staff from the European Bioinformatics Institute.
The poet in residence was Fiona Sampson and she visited campus several times and was commissioned to write eleven poems. Anyway, one of the Sanger Institute researchers and also the engagement project committee's chair, Dr Jeff Barrett, said the following about his encounters with Fiona:
"The idea of inviting a poet to campus had raised many eyebrows, and I also wondered what inspiration an artist wielding abstract words would find in our concrete world. Almost as soon as we started talking, however, I found myself off my familiar script of explaining what research I do, and instead talking about why I do it. That one conversation changed how I view my own science."
Neither Jeff or Fiona were the intended audience; the project was meant to engage campus staff and they were really just the people facilitating this engagement through their involvement in the poet-in-residence part of the wider project. Also, the result wasn't a change in research perspective, it was a change of script as Jeff says - a new way of thinking about how he presents what he does. “
Thanks to Louisa Wood for this example