On Wednesday 27 January 2016, APECS, in cooperation with the High North Academy (HNA), arranged a panel discussion dedicated to science communication during the Arctic Frontiers conference at the UiT The Arctic University of Norway.
The four speakers – all science communication advocates, shared their experiences and insights on communicating science from a broad and wide range of perspectives. Lawrence Hislop (CliC), having a large experience on image (video, photograph, etc) highlighted the importance of captivating the interest of the public through good and appealing aesthetics besides ensuring great content of information. The bits that he managed to show from his vast work proved his point of view. On the other hand, Magnus Svendsen Nerheim (University of Bergen), surely made it clear the importance of knowing your... “stuff”! – in an easy going and highly persuasive statement of the importance of having an “elevator pitch” clear and ready to be shared under ordinary life circumstances. Magnus emphasized by giving a fair example: himself!
The hot topic of the ongoing power of social media was brought into topic by Alexey Pavlov (Norwegian Polar Institute) who shared great tricks and tips to reach the general public through several types of social media and how to grow, ensure and enhance a well-established social account. He also surprised the participants with the brand new social media app Periscope, which has a promising future for sharing science online. Finally, Sara Aparício (APECS Portugal), shared her journey on communicating science to younger audiences: the challenges that come with early listeners and how to overcome them with methods and strategies to keep the audience engaged. She also reinforced her view of science communication as a duty towards future generations and how her method “PEA” (playing-engaging-adapting) actually helps on general public communication – regardless of age or backgrounds.
The session was followed with a very exciting discussion between the panel and the public regarding experiences in communicating science and new tools. One of the main topics focussed on the challenges faced by scientists on keeping up with their work and feeding the always-hungry social media along the way. A very tricky balance of time consumption and work productivity!