Opening Plenary Speaker - Randy Olson

Narrative is Everything:  Communicating Science in the Age of Information
Sunday November 11, 2018

Randy Olson is a scientist-turned-filmmaker who is the author of three books on science communication. He earned his PhD in biology from Harvard University, then became a professor of marine biology at the University of New Hampshire. After achieving tenure, he departed academia to attend film school at the University of Southern California, followed by two decades of filmmaking in Hollywood, and now has circled back to science and academia to relate what he has learned.

His first book, “Don’t Be Such A Scientist,” sold over 50,000 copies and was released as a second edition with 50 pages of new content in April, 2018. His latest book, “Houston, We Have A Narrative” laid out the concept of his Story Circles Narrative Training program he now runs and has successfully trained over 1,000 scientists. He also was the writer/director of the feature documentary, “Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus,” that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and aired on Showtime for two years.


Date and Time: Monday, November 12 │ 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Fee: $10 USD │ $12.50 CND

Active participant registration limited to the first 50 participants. An additional complimentary 20 observer seats available at the door, first-come, first-served.

In addition to being featured as the opening plenary speaker Dr. Olson will be conducting a DEMO DAY, the beginning of his story circles communication training. Story Circles is a new form of communication training for research scientists and communicators, applicable to everything from grant proposals to research papers to oral presentations.

The program consists of two parts:

DEMO DAY - a one day event for up to 50 participants which provides an introduction and explanation of what is involved in committing to the full program, and then

STORY CIRCLES - the training itself which consists of 10 one-hour sessions spread over three months. Story Circles was created by scientist-turned-filmmaker Randy Olson, author of three books on science communication including the recent, “Houston, We Have A Narrative” from University of Chicago Press. It is built around the ABT Framework developed by Olson and to date has involved over 1,000 scientists and communicators from a range of universities and government agencies including USDA, National Park Service, NASA, USGS and US Fish and Wildlife Service.

After November 12, participants will have the option to sign up for a weekly Story Circles group. The workshop registration fee will be applied to the 10-week story circles fee. An additional $190 USD ($240 CND) will be collected by ESA after the meeting for participants who wish to continue with story circles.

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