Communicating Honeybush Science
by Marina Joubert
During 2019, researchers and students who participate in the DSI/ARC
Honeybush Project, attended a series of science communication training events.
The series kicked off with an introduction to science communication
on 13 June 2019. Dr Marina Joubert, a science communication expert at
Stellenbosch University, presented a session on the rationale/importance of
public science communication and engagement. All participants were given advice
and tools on preparing a popular summary of their own research project for the
project web site.
The second communication workshop was held on 29 August 2019 and
focused on how to write a popular summary, news article or opinion piece based
on a scientific journal article. Participants were invited to present their
articles beforehand and these were used as practical examples during the
workshop. The guest speaker/expert at this workshop was Wiida Basson, science
communicator at the Faculty of Sciences at Stellenbosch University.
On 4 & 5 December 2019, five honeybush
researchers attended the two-day science communication masterclass, presented
by Jenni Metcalfe and Toss Gascoigne, two experts in the field from Australia. This
included intensive sessions on how to plan and integrate science communication
as part of research, and how to engage specific audiences more effectively.
Recurring themes included the importance of distilling core messages, identifying
key target groups and crafting compelling and relevant messages, keeping in
mind that listening is one of the most important communication skills.