Seeing Science: Visual Strategies for Dealing with the SciComm Reality that Facts Don't Work (Alone) with Bethann Merkle, MFA
When: September 20 12:30-14:00 ET
Where: Zoom event (Free & open to all)
Session Description: If our science is going to inform decision-making and innovations, we must reach, and resonate with, a wide range of stakeholders, including funders, practitioners, educators, policymakers, diverse public(s), and the media. Catching and holding stakeholders’ attention, and then effectively sharing our science with them, is a complex challenge. We’re faced with alternative “facts,” short attention spans, and information overload. Worse, a growing body of data tells us that people are not persuaded by numbers. We also know that visuals are compelling enough to dominate our decision-making. People think in images and have since pre-history. Meanwhile, research across numerous disciplines has documented disconcerting trends: much more than numbers, we are quantifiably more influenced by prior beliefs, social pressures, and convenience. So, how is our science going to make an impact if no one understands it, let alone believes it? This interactive session connects participants to effective, inclusive approaches to sharing science. Participants will explore cross-disciplinary and multicultural examples, interactive activities, and foundational best practices in graphic design which can help them productively use visuals to communicate science. The session will involve discussion, breakout rooms, and "mini-lectures" on key principles and tools in visual science communication.
Speaker Bio: Bethann Gerramon Merkle, MFA is an award-winning artist/communicator fascinated with science and sustainability. Merkle focuses on illustrations that demystify how ecosystems work and editorial projects that connect our everyday lives to the natural world. She is passionate about teaching researchers, teachers, and the public how to incorporate the arts and humanities into science work and lifestyle. Twitter, @commnatural; Website, https://commnatural.com/