When the Dogs Don’t Bark – a review

Posted by Val | Wed, 15 Dec 2021

A member of the Young Norfolk Arts Collective recounts their experience of a Norwich Science Festival event….

On a rainy Thursday evening, I was getting ready to attend an event with a very intriguing and
enigmatic title: ‘When the Dogs Don’t Bark’. Not knowing what to expect besides the talk being
based on a book written by the presenter Prof Angela Gallop and generally its content about
real crime, I was very interested in discovering more about it.

When I arrived at the venue, I immediately noticed the long queue waiting outside the
building. As I mentioned before it was raining (or more accurately drizzling), but I was quite
concerned as I did not have an umbrella or a coat with a hood and was afraid that I was going
to GET SOAKED before the event even started. Of course, people around me did not show one
bit of concern about the weather and understandably so, as they are probably quite familiar
and unbothered by it by now. This dramatic reaction and type of concern refer more to people
who have not adjusted to the English weather quite yet (ME!). When my turn came to enter
the building and after surviving SUCH terrifying weather, I tried to find a seat where I would
have a good view and audio (especially important as I wanted to make notes) and waited for
the event to start. While I was waiting and thinking that this is the first event I am attending
since the pandemic started and how vital human interaction is especially after its long
absence, I realized that more and more people were coming in. This observation was correct
as immediately after, one of the staff kindly informed us that it was a fully booked show and
that all seats were reserved.

When Prof. Angela Gallop entered the room, immediately everyone stopped chatting and
shift her attention to her. She began her presentation by travelling back in time to when she
first started her career at Forensic Science Service Laboratory at Harrogate in 1974. There her
role was to exam evidence found at the crime scenes. Although this was a male-dominated
laboratory and field in general, she still managed to overcome any difficulties that came her
way. What impressed me the most was her will to work in a field in which she would be able
to actively contribute to our society. Her determination to investigate and accurately present
the facts followed her throughout her career specifically to, as she mentioned, cases for
example in which the supposed guilty was charged with a crime without the evidence being
thoroughly examined or perhaps the cause of death was too quickly and not rightfully

Of course, such research could and can only be achieved by team effort something
which she humorously highlighted does not appear in crime shows where the main character
ends up uncovering the crime all by themselves. More specifically in her talk, she focused on
the real process of solving a crime which is not nearly as romanticised or as speedy as it is
depicted in these shows. As a person who has watched many fictional crime shows over the
years and has enjoyed them at the very least, I appreciated her honesty which is extremely
important for people interested in criminology as it gives them real expectations before
entering her field.

She continued on analysing cases from the past which if I take into consideration the reaction and interest of the audience shocked the public at the time. Not
only that but she credited DNA as a ground-breaking tool for accurately and efficiently
revealing the truth about these cases. I found it quite fascinating when she referred to DNA
and how significantly it helped with solving many crimes that happened prior to its discovery!
I enjoyed her presentation, and I liked how engaging it was even for someone like me who is
not acquainted with this subject (besides the crime shows of course!). Talking about real crime
can be a quite heavy subject, however, she managed to keep it light and respectful. She gave
us a small glimpse of ideas and events mentioned in her book and I am very keen on reading

Overall, this was a fascinating event to attend. It truly motivated and encouraged me into
participating in events in which the topic is not necessarily something I am familiar with. And
of course, reminded me to also bring an umbrella when I leave the house!

Author Biography

Val is studying Art History with Gallery and Museum Studies at the University of East Anglia. She is an international student from Greece and loves exploring museums, watching art documentaries and having tea & cake dates with her friends. She is passionate about the construction of cultural institutions and how we can improve their current standards and make them accessible and welcoming for everyone.

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