SciCommTO Conference 2020
- February 21, 2020 - February 22, 2020
- 10:30 AM - 5:30 PM
- Centre for Urban Innovation & George Vari Engineering Building
- Open To
- Professionals & enthusiasts of science communication - students welcome!
Sorry, registration is sold out!
Welcome to the first ever SciCommTO Conference!
Origins of SciCommTO
In 2016, a small group of intrepid scientists were hanging out in the MaRS atrium, discussing opportunities to bring science to the public in an engaging way. Believing that science should be a fundamental part of Canada’s culture and society - and not just the purview of scientists - SciCommTO was born. Run by a savvy group of volunteers, the network expanded over the years to include not just scientists, but artists, journalists, event planners, content creators and others from communities both within and outside academic science and the GTA. Now managed by RCIScience and Ryerson University’s SciXchange, we are delighted to bring you what we hope will be the first of many SciCommTO Conferences!
The SciCommTO 2020 Conference
The SciCommTO Conference 2020 brings together a diverse group of delegates and organizations with over 120 journalists, practitioners, academics, influencers and researchers attending. The conference is your space to challenge, argue, debate, inform and connect with some of the best talent and thinking in Toronto’s science communication scene. We hope you have an informative and thought-provoking time, and leave full of new ideas, with lots of new friends and colleagues!
We are humbled by the amazing people who submitted workshop proposals for this pilot initiative. What a stimulating and diverse programme we have - all made up of sessions that have been suggested and run by you. SciCommTO is a network that is truly run by its members, for its members – so thank you for putting forward a huge range of session ideas.
With a mix of panel discussions, workshops and presentations, our schedule features a host of opportunities to wade in and learn more about inclusive storytelling, content creation, evaluation techniques, youth engagement and so much more. Everyone has a story. We hope this conference helps you find or refine yours and share it with us.
And don’t forget to join us for our favourite science variety show, Spark After Dark, on Friday night. Featuring science-themed musical performances, makeup tutorials, drag, demonstrations and games, this is your chance to relax and soak up some of our local SciComm heroes in action!
Lastly, we’d be remiss if we didn’t thank IdeaMosaic for their organizational support, and NSERC for the generous grant that allowed us to get this dream off the ground.
We look forward to meeting you! Sincerely,
Executive Director, RCIScience
Programs Manager, RCIScience
Dr. Emily Agard
Science Outreach & Enrichment Coordinator, SciXchange
Schedule - Friday, February 21
Centre for Urban Innovation, 44 Gerrard St. E.
10:00 - 11:15 AM | CUI 317
This workshop is designed to introduce students and professionals to the science communication realm prior to the official start of the conference. It will give a brief overview of the Canadian context and introduce key players, accronyms and concepts that will be encountered over the course of the conference.
Attendees can expect to meet some cool people who share an interest in SciComm, reflect on their own SciComm goals and values, and learn a bit more about the sector. All are welcome to attend.
11:15 AM - 12:15 PM | CUI 303
Show & Tell + Registration
This informal session is one of the ways we will be highlighting the amazing work of the SciCommTO Network and various science communication initiatives throughout the GTA! You'll meet experienced science communication presenters, content creators and artists. Be sure to arrive early for registration (happening at the same time) to be able to peruse our Show & Tell which includes initiatives from science education and creative events, to SciArt and even a confectionary delight!
Lunch served prior to the panel | CUI 317
If you had a million dollars to spend on one area of Canadian science communication, what would you spend it on? Panellists pitch their ideas and you, the audience, vote on the winner.
2:00 - 3:30 PM | CUI 317
'Podagogy': The Power of Podcasting as a Tool for Science Communication
Have you ever considered starting a science-themed podcast? Or wondered what features listeners find most engaging? Drawing on evidence-based practices, this workshop explores the key science communication strategies that popular science podcasts use to get listeners interested in science learning. Discover how to create engaging content through practical, hands-on activities, including how to get people involved in your podcast, how to connect with guest speakers, and how to run a dynamic podcast interview.
2:00 - 3:30 PM | CUI 303
The Art of Telling Better Scientific Stories
This workshop provides practical strategies from linguistics and rhetorical studies to help you craft a variety of scientific communications for a diverse range of audiences. Understand models for better communication based on careful linguistic and rhetorical analysis of published articles, abstracts, and other genres. Explore strategies for online forms of scicomm, including blogs and crowdfunding proposals, and discover practical tips on crafting compelling narratives that ethically communicate your science. All levels of experience welcome.
2:00 - 2:45 PM | CUI 219
Fostering Dialogue for Public Engagement with Science
As scicomm moves away from the “knowledge deficit” model and one-way communication, dialogue is a collaborative process. It sees all participants - experts, laymen, extroverted, introverted - as having knowledge and a voice to contribute, stressing active listening for mutual understanding. This interactive session builds on established research to engage participants with creative, non-traditional activities that seek to give everyone a voice, not just those comfortable speaking, and to build skills in effectively facilitating dialogue about science.
2:45 - 3:30 PM | 1st Floor Atrium
Are we selling or selling out science?
There's a natural tension between use of scientific communication by institutions and other agendas such as philanthropy. This session will address the issue from both sides - the need to attract awareness and support and the need to ensure what is communicated is not hyperbole or exaggeration. This relates to trust in science, especially when there is misrepresentation of facts and over-promising of, for example, cures.
Panellists share their experiences establishing careers in science communication. From consulting to writing to influencing, discover more about the unusual career landscapes in science communication, and how you can stand out from the crowd. More panellists will be added soon!
4:45 - 5:30 PM | CUI 317
More sucessful than speed dating and less awkward than networking, our Speed Mentoring round will have you meeting all sorts of science communication enthusiasts! Bring your business cards or remember to charge your phone, because you'll want to keep track of the great folks you'll get to meet.
When you registered for the conference you identified yourself as a 'Mentor' or 'Mentee'. If you don't remember, we'll have the list to cross reference and you can always ask an organizer for advice if you're unsure. If you change how you identify yourself, no worries either.
Mentors: We'll ask those with science communication experience to share a bit about their background and careers in SciComm thus far. Be concise, as you'll only have a few minutes. You'll want to listen to the Mentees interests too, of course!
Mentees: You'll rotate around the room talking with each Mentor for a few minutes. Be sure to bring your burning SciComm questions and mention what your career and/or conference goals are.
Spark After Dark
Supermarket Restaurant & Bar, 268 Augusta Avenue
7:00 - 9:30 PM
Admission to this event is included in your conference registration. Extra tickets can be purchased online, external link, opens in new window.
This is a prime opportunity for us to put theory into practice, with a diverse group of Torontonians taking the stage to get creative about the world around us in the form of spoken word, comedy, song, dance, and more. Join us for an entertaining event and great networking opportunity!
Schedule - Saturday, February 22
George Vari Engineering & Computing Centre, 245 Church St.
9:00 - 10:30 AM | 3rd Floor Atrium
A panel discussion exploring the state of science communication in Canada and other countries, including the UK and US. What are some of Canada's unique challenges and opportunities, and what can we learn from our peers elsewhere?
10:45 - 11:15 AM | 3rd Floor Atrium
Who is a Scientist? Why does it matter?
Science communication cannot be dissociated from the scientists behind it. In a world where facts matter less than we might like them to, let's deconstruct the image of a scientist and how it fits into our society, examining 'typical' attributes and habits of scientists, and co-creating a shared vision of who a scientist is - and why it matters.
10:45 - 11:15 AM | ENG-101
Hook, Line and Sinker: How to Write a Headline
The first way most people will interact with your scicomm project is through a headline. Whether it's an article, an event, a video, or a tweet, you have to give your audience a reason to read on. In this practical workshop, experienced science communicator Jon Farrow will introduce some best practices for writing headlines, before splitting into groups to critique existing headlines and craft new ones. Come with some lacklustre headlines or descriptions that need sprucing up and a grudging appreciation for clever wordplay.
10:45 - 11:15 AM | ENG-102
You Need More than One Trick Up Your Sleeve: Communicating to Diverse Practitioner Audiences
What we continually rediscover is that diverse audiences require diverse methods of engagement. In this presentation, Dr. Laura Huey shares some of the different tools and strategies used to increase access to research among practitioners, and to enhance their understanding of how research works and how findings can be used to inform policy and practice.
11:15 - 11:45 AM | 3rd Floor Atrium
Understanding Science Capital
The term ‘Science Capital’ sprang out of the UK about 5 years ago, but what exactly is it and how does it help us understand patterns in science participation? Join us for a look at how this conceptual tool evolved beyond education research for broader use in practice and policy. Come prepared to reflect on your own science capital and embrace a new way of thinking, or describing, your approach to science communication and STEM engagement!
11:45 AM - 12:45 PM | 3rd Floor Atrium
Reaching Diverse Audiences
We all know that we need to know our audience when designing an event or program. Many scicomm programs are created with the intention of reaching diverse communities in order to funnel strong, diverse, scientific minds into STEM fields. But how well do we know the audiences we are trying to reach? Participants of this workshop will have the opportunity to learn from members of diverse communities about how best to reach and engage community members.
11:15 AM - 12:45 PM | ENG-102
Leveraging Creative Storytelling
While there are many approaches to good science communication, storytelling is a powerful tool for connecting with audiences. Using a combination of lecture slides and written and oral group exercises, this workshop will discuss the ways and theory behind why storytelling can be used to effectively communicate science. Topics covered will include general communication tips, what narratives and narrative arcs are, and how we can use narrative elements in different mediums.
11:15 - 11:45 AM | ENG-101
Breaking the Habit: Embedding Inclusive Practices in Scientific Communication
In this interactive workshop we’ll view basic strategies and understandings of inclusive communication through a SciComm lense. We will cover issues of privilege, performative allyship and bystander intervention, and share actionable strategies to use our privilege as an advantage to embed inclusion in scientific communication.
11:45 AM - 12:45 PM | ENG-101
Social Media for SciComm: Tips & Tricks
Neuroscientist & Science Communicator Samantha Yammine (@science.sam / @heysciencesam) shares her best practises for audience-first storytelling, alongside tips and tricks for engaging folks with your science through social media! Whether you're a daily tweeter or it's your first time sharing science publicly, come ready to hone modern communication skills that can be applied to any career and any type of science.
1:45 - 2:30 PM | ENG-101
Indigenous Knowledge and Science Communication: Creating space for community specific science programming
A presentation about bringing Indigenous knowledge and science together, with a look at how to appropriately approach the topic, why community specific programming is so important and how the science community can support it.
1:45 - 2:30 PM | ENG-102
Interviewing: The Art of Asking Questions
Many producers of scicomm content are not experts on the topic they want to communicate, so they have to talk to the experts. The process of interviewing can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. In this practical and informal session, experienced interviewers will field questions about questions and provide tips for making the most of a researcher's precious time, covering everything from interview preparation to the art of the follow-up.
1:45 - 2: 30 PM | 3rd Floor Atrium
Creative Solutions to Misinformation
This workshop will outline a novel strategic framework for science communicators to address the spread of misinformation. The group will then engage in a facilitated discussion game to explore the pros and cons of specific strategies.
2:45 - 3:45 PM | 3rd Floor Atrium
Measuring Up: The Art of Evaluation
“We measure what we value and we value what we measure.” Even with the best of intentions, funders won’t continue to support projects that aren’t getting results. Counting visitors, feedback forms and cherry picking quotes are tools that can provide some insight, but never give the whole picture. This workshop will look at innovative and robust approaches to evaluating SciComm activities. Explore evidence-based techniques that help prove we’re achieving what we set out to do and quantifiably improve how we’re doing it.
2:45 - 3:45 PM | ENG-101
Visual Communication Toolkit
This workshop highlights the key elements needed to create effective visual science communication products. The first half will focus on fundamental principles of graphic design including layout, colour theory, typography along with image/icon sourcing and accessibility. The second half will cover the application of these tools in creating science communication products including infographics, academic posters, and social media campaigns.
2:45 - 3:45 PM | ENG-102
Communicating With Intent
Recent research has demonstrated that effective science communication needs to consider how people learn, what they value, and how design and language can impact engagement. Our "Communicating with Intent" framework focuses on identifying the values and needs of specific audiences in order to shape communication goals, essential messages, frames, and delivery. Participants will leave with a deeper appreciation of what it means to "know your audience," and a practical tool to guide them through the essential message development of future presentations.
4:00 - 5:00 PM | 3rd Floor Atrium
What's Curriculum Got To Do With It?
When creating science communication content, youth are often seen as the “low hanging fruit”. While they may be one of the easiest audiences to access, they are, in reality, one of the most challenging groups to engage well. Research shows that having positive interactions with role models from an early age can shape academic and career goals, so science engagement with this high stakes group needs to be done well.
Explore some ways to effectively engage youth in formal (school) and informal (community) settings and build a roadmap to engage youth at their level.
4:00 - 5:00 PM | ENG-101
Hold onto your butts - this is a Spielberg crash course in 60 minutes. There will be something for all levels of experience. Together, we’ll create a short video for social media.
4:00 - 5:00 PM | ENG-102
Scaling Your Talk
Ever wondered how to you can scale your talk in length or depth? This workshop will combine theory and practice to provide you with tools to scale your talk depending on your audience and the time frame you are given. You can tell the same story and convey the same message in 3 minutes or 3 hours. Participants are encouraged to come with a story or research idea in mind.
More About SciCommTO Conference 2020
70% of Canada's top jobs require some level of Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM)
Only 22% of students plan to pursue STEM education in post-secondary
Our biggest global challenges are grounded in STEM issues (like climate change and vaccinations)
We need professionals who can communicate science accurately and reliably now more than ever!
Experienced science communicators and newcomers alike join forces to tackle the biggest issues in science communication today!
Building networks among scientists, technologists, engineers, mathematicians and communication professionals alike is essential to developing a healthy and vibrant science culture in Canada. Innovation in science communication (or ‘SciComm’) won’t happen without connecting these communities, sharing Canadian experiences and learning about related work from around the world.
That’s why RCIScience and SciXchange at Ryerson University have partnered to bring you the SciCommTO Conference 2020 - a cross-sector meeting bringing together practitioners from a range of science communication disciplines.
Our goal is to bring people together to shape an engaged Canadian science communication community through idea exchange and sharing best practice. The SciCommTO Conference 2020 will feature tips for storytelling, content creation, freelancing, how best to communicate with different audiences (eg. youth, different cultural groups) and much more!
Attendees will learn how to ground their practice in research and evidence to reach a diverse range of audiences. This pilot initiative from the SciCommTO Network will focus on moving the sector forward. With a look to the future, we’ll also learn from the past, explore case studies from other countries, and consider perspectives and learnings from those outside of the SciComm sector.
What is Ryerson doing about Coronavirus?
Right now the University is opperating as usual. The latest update from Ryerson University about Coronavirus can be found here., opens in new window Public Health Officials continue to advise that the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus in the Greater Toronto Area remains low.
What if there is an emergency on campus during the Conference?
In an emergency or if you have an immediate safety concern please call 9-1-1. For other safety concerns while on campus you can contact Ryerson Security:
External phones: 416-979-5040
Internal phones: 5040
Location: Victoria Building (VIC), 285 Victoria Street, 1st floor
I'm nervous walking to or from the subway to the conference. Is there someone who can help?
Ryerson Security provides a free "Walk Safe" program to all Ryerson community members and visitors. Please call them at 416-979-5040 to request a Security Officer to accompany you to/from College or Dundas Subway Station.
Are bursaries available to attend the SciCommTO Conference 2020?
Discounted tickets are available for students. Additional discount requests should be made in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org demonstrating need.
What networking opportunities are there at the conference?
There are two networking opportunities on Friday February 21. The first is a speed mentoring session at the end of the day, followed by the social event, Spark After Dark, in the evening. There will also be an opportunity to network during conference refreshment and lunch breaks.
What is the conference for?
The Conference aims to build capacity within the science communication community in the Greater Toronto Area. Specifically it will:
- Address key issues facing those doing and researching science communication, youth outreach and public engagement.
- Link this diverse group together, to share best practice, new ideas and move the sector forward.
- Help the community to find inspiration and connections from culture and each other.
Who is the conference for?
We welcome anyone who works in or has an interest in public and youth engagement with science. That includes people who work in all sectors, as well as freelancers and small consultancies. The Conference will include sessions for all levels of experience, from seasoned pros to those new to the sector.
We hope discussions encompass the many pillars of science communication, from live events to new media, writing and research and that they recognize different levels of expertise in each field.
When and where is SciCommTO 2020?
- When: Friday February 21 - Saturday February 22 2020
- Where: Ryerson University. Specific building(s) TBC.
Spark After Dark will take place on Friday February 21 at Supermarket, 268 Augusta Avenue, Toronto, ON, M5T 2L9.
Is the venue physically accessible?
Yes. More details coming soon - please contact email@example.com if you have any questions or concerns.
What does a ticket include?
The conference fee helps us cover administrative costs and includes:
- Access to speakers' presentations
- Lunch on Saturday
- Evening entertainment (access to Spark After Dark)
- Access to follow up conference materials
Please note that the conference fee does NOT include accommodation.
What if I can only attend one day of the conference?
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a discounted rate for one-day attendance.
What is Spark After Dark?
Once described as a ‘chaotic cabaret of science’, Spark After Dark is essentially a showcase combining science with creativity. It’s a prime opportunity for us to put theory into practice, with a diverse group of Torontonians taking the stage to get creative about the world around us in the form of spoken word, comedy, song, dance, and more. Find more information about spark after dark here., external link, opens in new window
If I can’t attend, can I cancel my ticket, or give it to a colleague?
Cancellation of a conference place must be made in writing to email@example.com, and acknowledged. Any cancellations advised less than 14 days prior to the conference will not be refunded but a colleague can attend in your place.
I’m interested in volunteering at the conference. What can I do to help?
If you are interested in volunteering during the conference or at Spark After Dark please email firstname.lastname@example.org
SciCommTO@gmail.com | Nathan@IdeaMosaic.ca
All correspondance about the Conference should be directed to Nathan at either of the emails above.
SciXchange, Ryerson University
Would your organization like to join this growing community of science communication enthusiasts and support the development of this important network of professionals and students? There are great sponsorship opportunities available. Please contact us (Nathan@IdeaMosaic.ca) for further details.
|Level||Amount||Presence in Toolkit||Logo on Promotional Material||Tickets to Conference||Booth
Additional Sponsorship Opportunities
Photobooth Sponsor - $1,000
The evening event for the SciCommTO Conference will be Spark After Dark, external link, opens in new window, a live showcase featuring comedy, songs, skits, and more - all with a scientific twist.
- Presenting sponsor for the photobooth during the evening event of the conference - Spark After Dark
- Logo on printed and digital pictures
- Recognition as the photobooth sponsor (during event and on social media)
Student Sponsorship - $45 - $225
Departments can sponsor up to 5 students with free tickets.
- Logo on promotional material (posters, slides)
- Recognition as a student sponsor (during event and on social media)
Thanks to the following Departments for sponsoring students: Ryerson University, Department of Math | Ryerson University, Department of Chemistry & Biology