touched by science

Upcoming talks/workshops:

17th of October 2017: The Science Communication of Whale Watching: a people-focused approach. Laurentian University & Science North, Sudbury, Canada.

17-19th of October 2017: Three-Day Science Communication Filmmaking and Marketing Workshop. Laurentian University & Science North, Sudbury, Canada.

28th of October 2017: Science communication filmmaking and marketing workshop, 22nd Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, Halifax, Canada, 8am-5pm (full-day).

Abstract: Want to learn how to create engaging science communication content? This is a practical workshop for marine mammal researchers and educators wanting to conduct science communication/ outreach, with a focus on how to create engaging multimedia content for public communication, and focus on video production and storytelling. The workshop will introduce marketing and science communication theory and practice with application to marine mammal research/education. Core element include:

• Elements of effective science communication and marketing communication
• Storytelling
• Creating engaging & contagious communication and educational outreach
• Packaging science content
• Social media
• Using filmmaking as outreach and/or research tools (NOTE: bring your own tablet or phone capable of taking videos for some hands-on work)


26th of October 2017: Science communication as a moral imperative: Lessons from social marketing for marine mammal based science communication, 22nd Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, Halifax, Canada.

Day: Thursday,
Time: 16:45 - 16:59
Location: Rm 301-303
Program Track/Topic: Outreach and Education

Abstract: Increasingly our media environment requires scientists to be stronger communicators, and share the important results of their research, and the wonders of science, to the wider public. High quality multimedia content and strategic planning processes lie at the heart of successful science communication of marine mammal research. But what are the elements that make effective creative content and what are the steps to implement a successful marine mammal based science communication project? The current paper will introduce social marketing and science communication theory and practice with a focus on its application to marine mammal based science communication. The context for this paper is the uncontrolled explosive growth of global whale watching and the failure of widespread sustainable practices. The lack of sustainability in whale watching is, in part, due to poor uptake of science and ineffective public communication. The discipline, structure and focus on changing behaviour that characterise social marketing provide important lessons for making science communication in the whale watching setting more effective. The paper presents the findings of a science communication marketing based case study of a whale watching SciCommercial video focusing on elements of good (responsible) whale watching practices. The results demonstrate the effectiveness of SciCommercial videos to influence people’s expectations regarding close encounters and the significant potential of SciCommercial videos to influence public perceptions and tourist behavior/expectations. The SciCommercial presents an educational management and science outreach tool for the whale watching industry by advocating sustainable practices to stakeholders, increasing awareness about impacts and managing visitor’s expectations. Informed members of the public, as key whale watching stakeholders, form a significant potential compliance management opportunity that can contribute towards the sustainable development of the industry. More effective and pro-active science communication in the whale watching setting, and wider marine mammal based research field, therefore, is a critical challenge.

Past conference presentations:

Finkler, W. (2017). Using Scicommercial Videos to Save the Whales: Lessons from Social Marketing for Environmental Science Communication. 14th Biennial Conference on Communication and Environment. University of Leicester, UK, June 2017.

Finkler, W. (2017). Using Scicommercial Videos for Sustainable Marine Tourism Management: The Case of Good Whale Watching. 9th International Congress on Coastal and Marine Tourism, Gothenburg, Sweden, June, 2017.

Finkler, W. (2016). Using SciCommercials to Save the Whales: lessons from social marketing for better science communication. 14th International Public Communication of science and Technology Conference (PCST), Istanbul/Turkey, April 2016.

Finkler, W. (2015). Save the Whales Part 2: The Science Communication of Whale Watching. 21st Biennial Conference on Marine Mammals, San Francisco/USA. December 2015.

Finkler, W. (2014). Save the Whales Part II: A new science advocacy communication framework. 13th International Public Communication of science and Technology Conference (PCST). Salvador, Brazil, May 2014.

Finkler-Hendry, W. (2012). Science Communication and TV Commercials to alter attitudes to sustainable whale watching practices and management. 12th International Public Communication of science and Technology Conference (PCST). Florence, Italy, April 2012.

Finkler-Hendry, W. (2011). Communicating science through TV commercials to alter attitudes to sustainable whale watching and management. Refereed Abstract, Expanding Documentary XIIIth Biennial Conference, Auckland University of Technology, December 2011.