ComSciConCAN will feature four exciting panel discussions revolving around different aspects of science communication. Each panel will have four experts who will introduce themselves, give you some background on who they are and what they do, and will answer some preset questions developed by ComSciConCAN organizers. The floor will then be opened up for an interactive discussion where participants will be able to ask organizers their own questions. Descriptions of the four panels are below.
Communicating with Diverse Audiences:
Advocacy for science communication must be mindful about the unique perspectives and challenges faced by underrepresented groups. This panel will bring together diverse voices to show why representation matters. The panel will also provide tangible tips on how to present your science in more inclusive ways (i.e., thinking about text readers, photo descriptions on blogs, etc.). There will also be discussion of understanding when you may not be the most appropriate person to communicate a particular message to a particular audience and understanding how, in those situations, you can transition from becoming the active communicator to a facilitator that helps others share the message.
Speakers: Eugenia Duodu, Ana Sofia Burrows, Jacques Kiourac & Hilding Neilson
Communicating through Policy and Activism:
As scientists, many of us find ourselves in a position where we must be able to communicate key research findings to those responsible for making political and policy decisions. Further we may even want to leverage primary research to take on advocacy roles and help shape how our government views science, science funding, and the relationship of scientists with the public. This panel will bring together experts with experience in science policy, those who use science to influence policy choices, as well as those who engage in activism and advocacy work around key issues.
Speakers: Katie Gibbs, Vanessa Sung, Carrie Bourassa, & Rachael Maxwell
Communicating through Education / Outreach:
Science education can come in many different forms, from formal education in school to science outreach events, public engagement, hands-on learning, and media. Strategies for teaching and communicating science in each of these environments will be unique. This panel will include a range of educators with different areas of expertise to discuss their approaches to science communication. The panel will provide strategies and examples of effective communication in each of their roles. There will also be discussion of the unique challenge in Canada to provide quality science education in two languages (French and English), and how we can communicate more effectively between these groups.
Speakers: Julie Bolduc-Duval, Lauren Hollis, Shoshana Jacobs, & Amber Sandy
Creative Storytelling / Media & Journalism:
This panel will bring together journalists, storytellers and scientists with media experience to discuss science communication through journalism and storytelling. We will explore the changing landscape of science journalism and some of the challenges of communicating science in the era of fake news. We will also consider the role of traditional storytelling in sharing knowledge with diverse audiences.
Speakers: Hannah Hoag, André Picard, Hendrik Poinar, Jennifer Gardy
To reinforce concepts discussed in panels, we are working to plan several hands on workshops that will involved a deeper exploration of topics discussed. These workshops will be run by experienced science communication experts. Workshops include:
Media Interview Skills (Dan Riskin):
As a science communicator, you may be asked to speak about research well outside your own area of expertise. In this workshop, we’ll rehearse the scenario where you are given a press release about a study, and then asked to give a short interview about the work. We will focus on crafting talking points - often talking points that don’t match the talking points emphasized in the press release. We’ll also explore how to “own” a subject area that is not your own (without pretending to be someone you aren’t!). What does it mean to be an “expert,” anyway?
Data Visualization (Jodie Jenkinson):
This presentation and workshop will introduce attendees to the principles of information design, including the clear, concise, and truthful presentation of data. Our discussion will address the strength and limitations of human visual perception and cognition, the principles of visualization design, and the critical interpretation of information graphics, considering both refinement of design and accurate representation of data. Participants will learn about the role of visualization design in supporting the exploration of data, revealing of patterns, and effective communication of these insights to different audiences.
Video Production (Jocelyn Bently):
Are you ready to unleash your inner Attenborough? This crash course in videography will leave you feeling prepared and energized to create your own films. There will be something for all experience levels.
Science Policy (Katie Gibbs of Evidence for Democracy):
Science should provide the foundation for evidence-informed decision-making in our society, both in characterizing problems and in informing the manner in which they are addressed. However, in practice, this process does not always work as well as it could. Many scientists feel far removed from the policy process and don’t know how to engage with policy-makers. Using concrete examples, this session will give an overview of the policy process and provide strategies for how scientists can effectively convey policy relevant research to the public, media and decision-makers and advocate for the use of evidence in the policy process. This workshop will leave participants with new tools and increased confidence taking their research out of the
ivory tower and into the hands of decision-makers.
Performing Science Communication Research (Chantal Barriault and Michelle Ried):
Recent research has demonstrated that effective science communication needs to take into considering how people learn, what they value, and how design and language can impact engagement. Science is rooted in evidence, and to be successful, so should science communication. In this professional development workshop, participants will discover evidence-based science communication practices, become familiar with the research that supports these practices, and use a practical framework to guide them in their own communication efforts.
Creative Storytelling (Lisa Hunt and Cherilyn Vanberkel from Steel City Stories):
Stories connect us. They help to explain and humanize lofty concepts. They build connections between storytellers (or researchers) and their audience. Stories can help others understand why science, both big and small, is important. In this workshop, representatives from Steel City Stories will help participants discover what personal storytelling is, learn the fundamentals of telling a good story, and share some of their stories with the group.
Jim Handman, executive director of the Science Media Center of Canada will present a keynote addrerss, "Scientists are frrom Saturn, Media are from Mars - How to bridge those worlds and effectively communicate your research"
Careers Mingle Dinner
Networking can be a hard, but important part of conferences. To help participants get the most out of the amazing experts attending our event, we will be holding a careers mingle dinner. This speed networking event will feature science communication experts seated at tables. Participants will rotate through tables in small groups and have the chance to ask their questions. A more informal networking event will follow.
Art & Science
Science and art can unite in beautiful ways to create stunning experiences. This art gala will feature fusions of art, science, and technology from participants, artists, and scientists.
Featured Artists: Karyn Ho, Julia Buntaine Hoel, Myron Groover