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Center for Environmental Filmmaking, American University
Director/Producer Larry Kirkman, firstname.lastname@example.org, larrykirkman.com
Editor/Producer Shannon Shikles, email@example.com, shannonshikles.com
“Clear and simple is not enough,” argues Rush Holt in my new video, SciComm: Raising Our Voice for Science in Public Policy. “It has to be meaningful,” he says. “It has to communicate the science in a way that people feel they can take it in, not just understand it but embrace it and care about it, in other words believe that it is relevant…What scientists should be doing is not just simplifying their research, but rather enabling everybody else to think like a scientist, to think on the basis of evidence.”
I’m new to Science Talk and I’m hoping this 12-minute video, which you’re free to use and share, is a starting point for exploring mutual interests and potential collaborations. The video is a project of the Science Communication Lab in the Center for Environmental Filmmaking at American University.
In the March for Science, I found an intensity, an urgency, and a desire to communicate the fundamental importance of science to all aspects of our lives. We asked scientists why they are demonstrating and how they define the challenges of science communication practice, training and strategy.
Scientists need to answer the call. We must listen to our neighbors, families and friends as they share their interests. We need to let that be the lead in for us to share our stories. Who we are and why we do what we do, how science works and why it matters.” — Shirley MalcomMarch for Science 2017: Kate Schuler, Anthony Brunner, Julia Moroles and Larry Kirkman.
Their starting point is “listening” and understanding the interests and concerns of people we are trying to engage and inform. Shirley Malcom interprets the rallying cry, “science not silence” at an American Association for the Advancement of Science pre-rally for the 2017 March: “Scientists need to answer the call. We must listen to our neighbors, families and friends as they share their interests. We need to let that be the lead in for us to share our stories. Who we are and why we do what we do, how science works and why it matters.”
Heather Tallis agrees: “Lack of information is a much bigger challenge than opposition. It’s much more important for us to take a positive view of reaching those people who have interests, who have power, who have opportunities, who simply don’t know what the options are that science would advise.”
Chants of “this is what a scientist looks like” animated the 2018 March for Science and frame the discussion of diversity and representation in the video. Sonia Zárate makes the case that people will listen if they are engaged by scientists who look like them. She says: “Science for the public good is about making sure that all voices are included in science. It belongs to all of us.”
Lynn Scarlett sums up: “This is about the well-being of all of us, it’s not about about political divides, or particular policy solutions even. Science lies at the root of human progress.”
How is this video useful? What audiences, platforms, networks? What is your advice for my next video(s)?
I want to go beyond profiles and interviews, to document communication best practices, to capture dialogue, one-on-one and in small groups, to show how scientists and science advocates learn to be more effective communicators and listen to them reflect on their experiences in public education and advocacy.
I want to tap into the latest science communication research revealing new ways to engage, inform and persuade the public. Where is the science of science communication being applied?
I want to put this work in historical perspective, from Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring through tobacco and climate, using archival material and interviews with scholars, journalists and science communication strategists.
I’m looking forward to Science Talk ’20 in Portland. Let’s talk.
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