In March this year, the MRC WIMM secured funding from the University of Oxford's PER Culture Change Fund to run an 'Engaged Researcher Programme'. The aim of this programme was to expand opportunities for researchers interested in building their public engagement skillset.
Since then we have welcomed external speakers to share their knowledge and experience on key skills that scientists need to engage with a variety of audiences:
- On 23rd March, improviser and actor Monica Gaga led a practical workshop exploring active listening and collaboration
- In April, freelance writer Dr Karl Gruber led two online workshop on publishing science news articles, and
- On 23rd May, engagement consultant Dr Jamie Gallagher led a session on sharing research in an engaging and memorable way.
- On 17th June, Emily Georgiades led a session on producing podcasts.
In the final session of the series, MRC WIMM Public Engagement and Communications Officer, Dr Catherine Seed led a session on storytelling, with attendees exploring the neuroscience of story, the components of an effective story, and common story structures. By the end of the 90min session participants had workshopped the story of their own research into a short 'elevator pitch'. "Engaging session; made me think in new ways about communicating science, not just for Public Engagement" said one attendee.
Feedback during the session was positive, with participants reporting increased confidence using storytelling techniques in their work.
"Really enjoyable session," commented another participant "highly engaging and a good way to bring new ideas to [the] audience- I look forward to developing these skills in my own work and presentations".
Interested in attending a Storytelling for Scientists session too? We are currently exploring organising another session for those that coud not attend. The expression of interest form is available here: Link