For a really long time, I had wondered why there seem to be few people talking and writing about science in Canada. It felt pretty lonely here as a science communicator.
It finally dawned on me a few months ago that it is not because no one is doing it, but we simply don’t know what each other is doing.
Case in point, the Banff Centre Science Communications program has been running annually since 2005 (I had the opportunity to be part of the program last year). There are about 20 graduates each year, meaning that we have “at least” 160 people enthusiastic about science communication in Canada! Yet it was not until attending the program that I knew about the others. Even more surprising was that a few of my work colleagues are actually alumni of the program. I had no idea.
A session during Science Online 2013, titled Communicating science where there is no science communication, seemed to be the turning point for us in Canada (one of the session moderators Colin posted a follow up on his blog). We are finally starting to ask why, and to think about what we can do to improve the current situation.
Two weeks ago I set up a Google+ community for Science Communication in Canada. The hope is to provide a space for those interested in communicating science to the general public to network online and collaborate on projects. The community is moderated by me and Lisa Willemse, who is the Director of Communications for the Stem Cell Network. We just had our first Google Hangout and already started some short-term projects. It was really exciting to chat with others involved in science communication in Canada.
Two other communities have also been started.
- Mike Spear at Genome Alberta set up the CanComm forum: Communication with a Science Flavour and a Canadian Twist. He also wrote about his take on science communication in Canada in a Genome Alberta blog post.
- Sarah Boon et al are working on the Canadian Science Blogger Network. Add your science blog to the list, and read Sarah’s post on the Canadian Science Writers’ Association website about her recent work.
I would like to invite those interested in communicating science to join these online communities. Really looking forward to meeting you online – see you soon!