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Banff Science Communications

Each year since 2006, the gorgeous mountainside campus of the Banff Centre plays host to the Banff Science Communications residency program. For two weeks, twenty select participants from Canada, the U.S., and the rest of the world train in an intensive curriculum of individual and group projects that sharpen their science communications abilities in all media. Some of the participants are scientists who come to learn how to explain their research better to the general public or funding agencies. Some already work as information officers for universities or government agencies and want to improve skills central to their jobs. Some do it for the sheer fun. But many of the participants over the years have called the program “transformative” and gone on to greater success at engaging communities with science. 

The Banff Science Communications program was created by Jay Ingram, the author and legendary broadcaster who was the long-time host of the Discovery Channel’s science show Daily Planet and CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks, and Mary Anne Moser, the president and co-founder of Beakerhead, Calgary’s giant public celebration of science, engineering, and the arts. Some of the other faculty, past and present, have been:

  • Nancy Baron, director of science outreach for COMPASS (Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea) and the author of Escape from the Ivory Tower, a guide to science communications for scientists
  • Henry Kowalski, celebrated documentary maker and producer for Discovery Channel who was also chief news editor for CTV News
  • Rob Davidson, broadcasting veteran with more than 30 years of experience on both sides of the camera and microphone who is also one of the people behind the car appreciation site
  • Christie Nicholson, the freelance science journalist, co-founder of the lead-generating platform Publet, and a guest lecturer at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science
  • Thomas Hayden, widely published science journalist and author, co-editor of The Science Writers’ Handbook, and teacher of environmental journalism at Stanford University
  • Rose Eveleth, journalist, producer, and designer who has written frequently for The Atlantic and is a columnist for BBC.

I’m proud to have been in their company since 2011.