Aurator: audio diaries across synthetic biology’s disciplinary boundaries

Britt Damm Wray, University of Copenhagen
Sydney 2018: Issues, people and publics

Aurator (, is an interactive web platform for listening and speaking back to the privately recorded audio diaries of multidisciplinary experts who work in synthetic biology. Aurator emerged from my PhD research at the University of Copenhagen that focuses on the role of affect and emotion in how science communication events unfold. In this experiment, several natural scientists, a social scientist, an artist, a biohacker, an entrepreneur, a watchdog, and a bioethicist were each sent an audio recorder in the mail as well as an open-ended question once a week for twelve weeks that asked them to reflect on their feelings towards synthetic biology, which users can listen and respond to with audio recordings of their own on the interactive platform. At 4S, I would like to create a workshop environment where people can learn about the interactive audio diary methodology used here for STS-based science communication research. I would also like to spend time looking at how Aurator worked to foster engagement between experts and laypeople, and how it did not work, in varying situations. The University of Warwick’s Integrative Centre for Synthetic Biology is now developing Aurator further for its public engagement efforts, contributing to an institutional interest in emotional and affective storytelling as a framing device for online science engagement.