Canadian Science Communication special – #cancomm #scicomm

In honour of Commander Chris Hadfield taking over the command of the International Space Station (which whizzes over our head about once an hour, in a low earth orbit of about 250 miles, and is often visible and frankly just cool) I thought I’d find out more about what’s going on in the world of science communication in Canada, cos I don’t know much about it. Turns out that lots has been happening lately, so that’s convenient :-]

1. Residence / workshop event: Science Communications 2013 – 21 July – 3 August, Banff
Application deadline: March 31, 2013

“Working with some of the world’s leading science communicators, participants explore the creative use of words, images, action and technology, with the goal of fostering a more engaging role for science in public culture. 

This is an immersive residency experience that is uniquely aimed at mid-career professionals in both science and communications. The program is structured around daily seminars and workshops on new forms of creative science communications. Emphasis is on group discussion and work, and participants will be urged to create outside their usual medium of scientific communication. At the end of the program, participants publicly present collaboratively created group projects using media such as the web, television, print, and three-dimensional scenarios that have developed under the influence of debates, visits, talks, and one-on-one dialogues.”

2. Canadian Association of Science Centres – CASC

3. Building Canadian Science Communication – One Blog at a Time (14 March 2013)
by Sarah Boon from the Canadian Science Writers Association (see 5, below)
Making the observation that few Canadians seem to attend the Science Online conferences in the US Sarah’s post talks about a session this year which particularly addressed the need for Canadian science communication. The upshot is that Canadian science bloggers have been aggregating and co-ordinating themselves, using the hashtag #cancomm and signing up to join the expanding Canadian scibloggers blog roll.

“The gist of the session was that Canada is a big country with substantial homegrown science-based issues: oil and gas development, fisheries management, hydropower development, agriculture/water use, and more. At the same time, there are increasing concerns around muzzling of Federal scientists, cuts to scientific programs designed to provide evidence for policy making (e.g., Experimental Lakes Area in Ontario, PEARL in the Arctic), and layoffs of federal scientists. This combination of issues points to a need for a strong Canadian science communication infrastructure. As science programs are cut and study results suppressed, we need to inform the Canadian public of what’s happening and why science is so relevant. However, we have few dedicated science communication outlets (magazines, science reporters, television shows) and few science bloggers to communicate that science. For a full session summary, see this Storify as well as Colin’s blog post.”

4. Canadian Science blogs and CanComm (“Communication with a science flavour and a Canadian twist”)

5. Canadian Science Writers Association – excellence in science communication in Canada “The 42nd CSWA conference will be held in Montreal at McGill in conjunction with the Association des communicateurs scientifiques du Québec (ACS) from June 6-9th 2013.” – There’s a tour of the Canadian Space Agency on Thursday 6th at 1.30pm according to the programme.

6. Blog post and news article about the ‘muzzling of scientists’ in Canada etc.

7. Follow the #cancomm hashtag on Twitter

8. Is there a list of vacancies pages for Canadian organisations that employ science communicators?
I’m not really familiar with the organisational landscape for job vacancies but if anyone has done something like this which covers the London (mostly) science communication vacancies pages, but for Canada I’d be keen to hear about it and will link it here. One alternative might be to go through the list and find Canadian alternatives for the different job sectors.

9. Science Communication 10-month diploma program – a joint venture between Laurentian University and Science North offering “North America’s Only Comprehensive Science Communication Graduate Program”, they’re also on Twitter @Science_Comm

What else can I add? Thanks.


New things added
Calling all interested in communicating science in Canada – Let’s meet online (5 April 2013) by Theresa Liao

Google+ group ‘Science communication in Canada

York University (Toronto) has had a graduate program for students in which they are trained to write clear-language summaries of research papers (rather than getting faculty to do this where there might have been fewer incentives for them to do so). The output has been published at ResearchSnapshot and they’ve written a paper about doing this in Scholarly and Research Communication (2012, Vol 4, issue 1) called Field note describing the development and dissemination of clear language research summaries for university-based knowledge mobilization.

I discovered this thanks to a comment from David Phipps (@ResearchImpact) on a blog post by Chris Buddle of McGill University (Quebec) about plain language summaries of science which I am currently enjoying (on 7 April 2013).

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