Symposium for Science Engagement: Communicating the Urgency of Planetary Health

a collage of images from the event that show participants talking and enjoying activities.
Image by Joni Dufour and Owen Egan.

Canada Science Writers' Association logo.Falling Walls Engage logoMcGill logo

Thank you to everyone who participated! If you are interested in learning more about Canada's Falling Walls Engage Hub, please contact Brett Hooton at brett.hooton [at] mcgill.ca.

About the Symposium:

Falling Walls Engage Hub Canada and the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada (SWCC) teamed up to offer a creative and inspiring event on May 2, at McGill University in Montreal. The Hub event was planned to complement and lead into the McGill Space Conference on May 3-4, 2022.

Entitled "Symposium for Science Engagement: Communicating the Urgency of Planetary Health," the event brought together 40 participants, who represented six countries and 23 organizations!

Science and environment writers and outreach professionals took part in a day of workshops, networking, and presentations devoted to discussing the challenges we face in supporting planetary health, and the potential for change through science engagement.

Sessions and presenters:

Sessions featured leading Canadian and international communicators and scientists, including Oscar Contreras-Villarroel, Director of External Relations for the Giant Magellan Telescope and Manager, Engage Hub Argentina; Anthony Morgan, 2020 Falling Walls Engage Finalist for Science Everywhere; and Ursula Eicker, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Smart, Sustainable and Resilient Communities and Cities, among others.

Presenters led discussions on numerous topics, including:

  • Building sustainable and resilient communities and cities

  • Climate change and the arts

  • Youth engagement through science outreach and communication

  • Community outreach initiatives by three of the world’s major telescopes

Symposium attendees also enjoyed a unique interactive experience with Milton Riaño, McGill’s first Climate Change Artist in Residence.

Symposium Presentations + Workshops

SYMPOSIUM SESSIONS

Welcome and introductions

  • Brett Hooton, Manager, Engage Hub Canada
  • Benoit Boulet, Associate Vice-Principal, Innovation and Partnerships, McGill University
  • Niklas Marzinek, Senior Project Manager Community and Hubs, Falling Walls Foundation
  • Rhonda Moore, President, Science Writers and Communicators of Canada (SWCC)

Session 1: Panel on Planetary Health

  • Patrick Cortbaoui, Managing Director, Margaret A. Gilliam Institute for Global Food Security
  • Ursula Eicker, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Smart, Sustainable and Resilient Communities and Cities
  • Dror Etzion, Associate Professor of Strategy and Organization at the Desautels Faculty of Management, and an Associate Member of the Bieler School of Environment
  • Moderator: Rhonda Moore, President, SWCC

Session 2: Youth engagement through science outreach and communication

Session 3a: "Garden of free-floating emotions": Workshop with Milton Riaño, McGill’s first Climate Change Artist in Residence

Inspired by Glenn A. Albrecht’s book, Earth Emotions: New Words for a New World, workshop participants will have a guided opportunity to explore the links between the health of our planet, bodies and minds through art and technology. During this one-hour workshop, we will create a collective garden of free-floating emotions, using small drones and recycled materials. This activity will be mediated by Milton Riaño, Colombian new-media artist and first climate change artist-in-residence at the Redpath Museum (McGill University).

Session 3b: "Outdoor Outreach"

Join long-time outreach practitioners, Ingrid Birker and Jacky Farrell, as we explore ideas for communicating science through outdoor games, gardens and guided tours

Session 4: Swayed by Science: Reflections by Past Winners of Falling Walls Engage

Session 5: Community Outreach by Major World Telescopes

Closing remarks

  • Brett Hooton, Manager, Engage Hub Canada

 

About Falling Walls Engage Hub Canada: 

Based in Berlin, the Falling Walls Foundation is a unique global hub connecting science, business, and society in the name of tackling the greatest challenges of our planet. Falling Walls Engage is one of only several streams of programming that the foundation offers, and it is focused on connecting “creative individuals and organisations who actively involve the public with science to generate mutual benefits for science and society all around the world.” Launched in 2020, McGill is the host of Falling Walls Engage Hub Canada. Promoting inclusion and increasing the diversity of voices in the field of Science Engagement and communications remains the Hub Canada’s central priority. In addition, the team has a long-term goal of becoming a valuable resource – through networking, training, and relationship-building – for Canadians changing their communities through their innovative outreach initiatives in support of science and science-based policymaking. 

 

About Science Writers and Communicators of Canada (SWCC): 

Science Writers and Communicators of Canada is a national association that welcomes media professionals, communications officers in science and technology-related institutions, technical writers, and educators – all of whom are involved in communicating science and technology to non-specialist audiences. We foster quality science communication that links science and technology communicators from coast-to-coast. In the process, our members volunteer their time toward a series of programs committed to increasing public awareness of, and engagement with, Canadian science and technology – particularly among youth. 

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