Jo Lewis, Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
Parallel Session 7: Wednesday 10 April 10:15 - 12:00
In the days of YouTube and Instagram a short video or podcast can bring a story to life better than a leaflet, brochure or press release.
But who are the best people to make these videos? Who should write and present them? Do we want one Brian Cox for the whole community? Or is it more useful for research facilities to find and grow their own real, engaging communicators, creating a more diverse set of people telling these stories?
Competitions like FameLab help to seek out new faces. But how do you persuade scientists to take time out of their busy schedules for this, and why should they? What happens to those people entering or winning these competitions? How can we keep them motivated and use them to tell our stories in the best ways possible? Then, once you’ve found one great person, there is a danger that person gets asked again and again to be the ‘face’ of the organisation – to answer the journalists’ questions, to present at the school events and to take part in the new video or podcast. Is this good for, or potentially damaging, to their careers?
How can we empower scientists to do this? What can we offer them – training, support, coaching, recognition, promotion – to help build a larger and more diverse base of great people we can use to be the face of our science?