Talks from active researchers and professional science communicators, Drs Jenny Rohn and Anne Osterrieder, helped to get our communicative juices flowing. Jenny highlighted the importance of scientists communicating with the public, the media and the government, drawing on examples from the “Science is Vital” campaign which she founded. Anne urged us to be imaginative when thinking about communication, even showing us her fantastic Vacuole Song video which is testimony to her belief in creativity (check it out at www.youtube.com/plantendomembrane).
We couldn’t help feeling inspired, and set to work on planning our outreach activities with gusto. Group discussion, led by expert facilitators, helped us to develop our ideas and plan resources. We each made a simple poster outlining our outreach idea and how we would deliver it to schools or the general public. A brilliant silent debate ensued, during which everybody commented on others’ posters using sticky notes. Getting a room of communication lovers together meant that conversation flowed freely and noisily all day, so the silent time felt alien but was a golden opportunity for us to reflect (and re-energise our voices). I was amazed by the wide range of ideas produced and can’t wait to hear about them in action soon!
Science communication is important for all scientists, and is part of our responsibility to society. The workshop will take place in June again next year so if you’d like to get involved, look out for notifications coming out early in 2014. The event this year was sponsored by the Society for Experimental Biology, the SociSiety of Biology, and the Biochemical Society.