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Visiting Researcher Patty Raun on Improvisation for Research Communication

“The Art of Connecting Across Difference: Improvisation for Research Communication”

Professor Patty RaunThe Centre for Science, Health, and Data Communication Research is delighted to be hosting Professor Patty Raun, visiting from Virginia Tech’s Centre for Communication Science. She will be giving a special edition hybrid talk as part of our Spring speaker series on Monday March 11 from 4-5pm in P226 (Poole House). To receive the full calendar invitation, email afeigenbaum@bournemouth.ac.uk.

Come and play! Join us in person if you are able, as Patricia Raun, actor and director of the Center for Communicating Science at Virginia Tech in the USA, leads an exploration of some of the tools of arts practice that can help researchers build muscles of empathy, inclusion, and awareness. Raun will share a sampling of some of the participatory improvisation exercises that can lead to more effective and engaging interactions with collaborators and with public audiences. The urgent and growing need to use all of our capacities as human beings to address the complex challenges of our world means that while we must certainly use data and appeal to intellect–we also need to use less quantifiable aspects of human connection and communication. One recent participant in one of Raun’s workshops wrote, “This work gives me an understanding of what is required to be fully expressive, and I’m increasingly aware of how important that is. My research isn’t finished until it is communicated–and this work is about approaches to connecting with others that I have never really considered before. It is really invigorating and joyful.”

Professor Patty Raun is a professional actor and voice coach, a theatre professor, and Director of the Center for Communicating Science at Virginia Tech. She has devoted her life to developing healthy and varied voices (both literal and figurative) in individuals, institutions, and communities. She served as department head of Theatre and as director of the School of Performing Arts at Virginia Tech from 2002 – 2016 and has recently shifted the focus of her research and teaching to sharing the powerful tools of the theatre in the development of communication skills for scientists, technology professionals, and scholars — helping them to discover ways to become more direct, personal, spontaneous, and responsive.  She is particularly interested in empathy development, serious games and roleplay, collaborative problem solving, and values-based leadership.

How to turn research into news: An online workshop

Join us on 31 October 2023 | 14:00-15:00

Register online

image of Anna Feigenbaum wearing headphones and speaking into microphone with event details

Whether explaining scientific details, introducing concepts from postcolonial politics or quoting archival texts, turning research into news is often a challenge. In this research process seminar Professor of Digital Storytelling, Anna Feigenbaum, introduces her process for identifying ‘infobites’ and tailoring them for an intended audience to maximise the reach and impact of your academic research. She also offers tips on ‘what not to wear’ and how to deal with journalists’ questions that you don’t want to answer. This seminar draws from Prof Feigenbaum’s extensive experience working with media outlets ranging from Vice News to the BBC, from Elle magazine to Business Insider. At the end of this seminar, you will know:

  • How to identify ‘infobites’ that target a specific outlet and audience
  • How to deal with difficult questions
  • How to link research to impact via engagement with the media

Professor Anna Feigenbaum is an internationally known expert and innovator in the field of data storytelling. Her projects have been funded by UKRI, the Wellcome Trust, British Academy, the US Embassy, and the United Nations. Her research has informed journalistic reporting, NGO strategy including a Webby Award-winning data storytelling project, multiple web-comics, and museum exhibitions at the V&A, Barbican and The Whitney.  She has led digital storytelling and media trainings with the NHS, NGOs and universities around the world. Prof Feigenbaum’s work reaches  wide audiences through public engagement and media activities including the British Science Festival, The Conversation, The Guardian, The Financial Times, BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4.

Science, Health, and Research Communication: Speaker Series Autumn 2023-24

logo for the Centre for Science, Health, and Data Communication ResearchThe Centre for Science, Health, and Data Communications Research invites you to our Autumn 2023 speaker series. Featuring researchers from around the world, these online talks are open to the public and encompass topics on crisis communication, climate change and sustainability; media, data and AI literacy; social justice communication and how the arts and storytelling can help tackle global challenges.

All events take place on zoom – Thursdays 16:00-17:00 UK time                                  

Find out more and Register for events on EventBrite.

 

Uncovering a literacy for AI

Date: 12 October 2023
Speaker: Sarah Jones

Literacies have been well documented from media to the digital and more recently immersive. With an increase in the use of generative AI tools and the impact that this is having on an increasing number of sectors, this talk will argue for the need for an AI literacy. It will examine frameworks for understanding how to use artificial intelligence and the need to be constantly evolving our thinking when it comes to technology.

The limitations of #BlackLivesMatter for anti-racist activism in the global south

Date: 19 October 2023
Speaker: Suntosh Pillay
It is unlikely that you know the name Collins Khosa. However, you would know the name George Floyd.  This is no accident. The media, as a global epistemic authority, produces, polices and perpetuates a knowledge system that favours the Global North. I present a comparative analysis of the murders of Khosa in South Africa (April 2020) and Floyd in the U.S. (May 2020). Despite its quasi-universal appeal, Black Lives Matter (BLM) has an ironic proximity to whiteness within the United States that provide BLM with epistemic advantages not enjoyed elsewhere, especially in poor ‘township’ contexts of South Africa. I argue that anti-racist activism in global south contexts must guard against uncritically importing northern-centric forms of protest, such as #BlackLivesMatter. The US has particularities that distracts the media gaze, (mis)directing social justice activism away from black lived experiences in countries such as South Africa, reinforcing silences, epistemic injustices, and colonial continuities.

Media Literacy: A Strategy for Risk Management in an Uncertain World

Date: 26 October 2023
Speaker: Tessa Jolls

With new AI technologies, as well as the cacaphony of voices that have emerged through social media, it is clear that the call for a media ecosystem that only contains “the truth” or that contains little or no misinformation or disinformation is a utopian dream that only invites more discord and polarization, or worse, highly contestable labelling and censorship. Meaning lies in the minds and hearts of information users, and with this recognition, media literacy offers a pathway toward dialogue and risk management strategies that encompass both qualitative and quantitative analyses and reflection, based on a fundamental understanding of media as a global symbolic system. With this in mind, media literacy offers the questions — not “the answers” — for exploring and interrogating media in all its forms, individually and collectively. This empowerment enables wiser choices throughout life and societies.

Global South’s over-reliance on science news from Global North: causes, consequences and solutions

Date: 2 November 2023
Speaker: An Nguyen

Developing countries rely heavily on the developed world for not only scientific expertise but also science news output. From Africa and the Middle East to South America and developing parts of Asia, a large proportion of science news consumed in the Global South has been found to be translated or, at best, synthesised from foreign sources, especially global media outlets based in the Global North. Such reliance is a double-edged sword: while it helps to enhance general awareness and understanding of global science developments in the Global South, this double-layered structure of dependency bears many negative long-and short-term implications for local and global development. Drawing on recent content analyses and in-depth interviews with science journalists in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, this paper will address this critically important, but rarely studied, phenomenon. I will discuss the causes and impacts of such over-reliance on foreign sources and offers some thoughts on potential solutions to the problem. In general, this requires a holistic approach and international cooperation efforts to address the many traditional shortfalls of science and science news cultures in the Global South.

Transnational Assemblages: Social Justice and Communication During Disaster

Date: 9 November 2023
Speaker: Sweta Baniya

The Power of Podcasting: Audio Storytelling Beyond Entertainment

Date: 16 November 2023
Speaker: Kayla Jones

With the rise in popularity of audio listening, podcast studies is a growing field of research that is responding to podcasts that have gone mainstream, such as Serial. Audio storytelling podcasts can be a powerful tool to advocate for, connect with, and educate global audiences. Through creating her own podcast, Kayla explored the ways storytelling podcasts can tell multilayered narratives beyond the realm of entertainment and in non-fiction settings, like heritage and tourism.

Algorithms and the Climate Emergency: An Ecomedia Literacy Perspective

Date: 23 November 2023
Speaker: Antonio Lopez

Whether it’s blockchain technologies or disinformation, Big Tech algorithms have a significant environmental impact. The economic models of surveillance and carbon capitalism are both based on extractivism, so data harvesting and resources extraction practices mirror each other in Big Tech algorithms. To encourage a holistic environmental analysis of algorithms, ecomedia literacy’s four zone approach enables an investigation from the perspectives of ecoculture, political ecology, ecomateriality, and lifeworld. For media literacy educators and reformers, the challenge is to develop curricula and methods that address these different standpoints, which can include critical media literacy, design justice, civic media literacies, news and misinformation literacies, and ethical algorithm audits.

 The art of presence

Date: 30 November 2023
Speaker: Andrea Winkler-Vilhena

Throughout history the Arts have been used to address societal issues, to see and show the world in diverse ways, and to imagine and create new futures. Nowadays, every aspect of life has become so entangled with digital media that it is impossible to speak about the world without considering the effects they have on our lives. How do we relate to and interact with people when our attention is absorbed by digital gadgets? What does presence mean in a world in which a big part of human relationships and communication happens in virtual spaces? In this lecture we will explore how the Arts can be used to promote media literacy and how seeing, interacting with and making art can revive our sense of presence and promote care and imagination.

Youth digital activism and online media: from digital exclusion to the complexities of civic participation

Date: 7 December 2023
Speaker: Annamaria Neag

Since the second half of the 2000s, there has been an increasing interest in the relationship between internet use and civic participation. While initially this interest was geared towards the adult population, researchers have shifted their attention to young people and their activism in the digital sphere. In this talk, I will present the research findings of our ongoing project focusing on young people in the CEE region (namely, the Czech Republic and Hungary) and their (online) involvement in the Fridays for Future movement. We first mapped the online public discourse on youth civic participation in these two countries and then focused on young people’s views on activism and the digital skills needed to participate. Our results show that online commenters use specific strategies to exclude young people from the public sphere. When it comes to young people and their views on digital activism, we found that digital media plays a rather complex and contradictory role in their civic participation, with its affordances providing both opportunities and challenges in terms of mental well-being, non-formal education and community-building.

Shrinkage and Activist Affordances: How disabled people improvise more habitable worlds

Date: 14 December 2023
Speaker: Arseli Dokumaci

For people living with disability, everyday tasks like lifting a glass or taking off clothes can be daunting. As such, their undertakings may require ingenuity, effort and artfulness. In this talk, I draw on visual ethnographies with disabled people living in Turkey and Quebec, and trace the immense labour and creativity that it takes for them just to navigate the everyday. Bringing together theories of affordance, performance, and disability, I propose “activist affordances” as a way to name and recognize these extremely tiny and yet profoundly artistic choreographies that disabled people have to continually rehearse to make the world more habitable for themselves and others. Activist affordances, in the way I define them, are micro, often ephemeral acts of world-building, with which disabled people literally make up, and at the same time make up for, whatever affordances fail to materialize in their environments. Activist affordances are not like any other affordance in that their creation emerges from constraints, losses and precarity that I broadly conceptualize as “shrinkage”. It is within a shrinking world of possibilities, that it becomes necessary to create affordances in their physical absence, which is why I call them “activist”. Even as an environment shrinks to a set of constraints rather than opportunities, the improvisatory space of performance allows disabled people to imagine that same environment otherwise through activist affordances, presenting the potential for a more livable and accessible world.

**The Centre for Science, Health, and Data Communications Research focuses on the urgent need for better science, health and data communication through ambitious cross-disciplinary collaborations. Bringing together experts from various disciplines – media and communication, computer and data sciences, health and medical sciences, environment sciences, business studies, psychology and sociology – we research and pioneer interdisciplinary solutions for contemporary communication challenges. From reporting statistics, to tackling disinformation, from health and wellness interventions to more efficient communication around environmental and humanitarian disasters, our members respond to real world issues—often in real time. For more about our centre or to get in touch, please visit https://www.bournemouth.ac.uk/research/centres-institutes/centre-science-health-data-communication-research

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