sciart

A Science Communication Consultation and Training Company Is On the Rise — and Needs Your Support

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Science Communication is something that is a hot topic these days.  The communication to the public about science is extremely important, because everyone is effected by science in their daily lives.  Proper science communication can change how the public looks at the world, how the world governments decide to act on certain issues, and can help in bettering the wellbeing of humans, animals, and plant life.

 

 

However, science communication is not the easiest thing in the world.  Not by a long shot.  There’s miscommunication, the boasting of bad studies, and some scientists don’t know how to go about science communication to the public at all.  While all scientists are definetely not required to communicate their science to the public, a lot of them want to learn.

 

 

That’s where SCIENCE ART FUSION comes in. 

 

 

Science Art Fusion is a ‘science communication consultation company that aims to bridge the gap between science and the creative and performing arts’, says Founder RK Pendergrass.

 

 

Earlier in March, she began a GoFundMe campaign hoping to raise money so that Pendergrass can create online courses “that goes into the nitty-gritty of narrative structure and what makes some stories so universally appealing, and helps science communicators figure out the best ways to apply these narrative skills to their outreach efforts”

 

 

Pendergrass herself is a professional performer and creative writer with over ten years of experience in these fields.  She says that she wanted to help share her knowledge with the science community “after seeing the importance of narrative being brought up time and again at science conferences and in discussions about science communication”.  

 

 

Pendergrass truly believes that there’s value in this knowledge for the science community, and believes that this type of art can be very helpful in getting this very important communication across.

 

 

In the two weeks that SCIENCE ART FUSION’S campaign has been online, Pendergrass has thus earned over $1,500 towards her 20K goal.  As she notes, starting a company is incredibly expensive.  Between the LLC cost, the cost of equipment, the cost of a website, and more.  Her hope is to raise $3,500 a month in order to support the website and herself up until August.    She wants to help hire and support other science communicators as well in the future to help continue to “bridge the gap” between the communications and their respective audiences.

 

 

Interested in helping out?  You can check out the GoFundMe here, or email RK Pendergrass at prelaunch@scienceartfuision.com for more information!

 
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of all things STEM.  Find her on Twitter.

 

The Relationship Between #SciComm and #SciArt

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Originally published May 2017

Sarah E. Kucharski, the Communications Lead at Biotech Partners, took over the @iamscicomm twitter on May 11.  Much of the discussion she had with the 9K followers on that twitter had to do with the relationship between science communication and science art.

 

What is Science Communication and Science Art?

 

Generally speaking, science communication is the communication between scientists and the public. Between the experts and the non-experts.  It’s also been called “outreach” or “popularization”, and has become somewhat of its own professional field within the science community.

 

Science communication can take many forms.  Journalism, science exhibitions, talks in front of audiences, storytelling, and more.  Science communication is what FemSTEM does every single time we upload an article.

 

However, as many scientists have realized, not every scientist can or should attempt to communicate sciences to the public. In a tweet from the twitter account @biotweeps, our guest writer, Melissa Marquez, expressed this point when she took over that twitter for the week.

 

"I DO think that scientists should partner with those already doing #scicomm to #sciengage with public." — Biotweeps - Melissa (@biotweeps) 

 

Science art is what it sounds like — the blending together of science and artwork.  Science art can take the forms of infographics, big pieces of artwork that convey a message, or something like a necklace even that has an atom pendant.

 

Where's the relation?

 

This was exactly the question that Sarah Kucharski had posed.  “Is #scicomm #sciart, and is #sciart #scicomm?” she asked twitter that night.

 

“I would say that the #scicomm, #sciart is like a highly overlapping Venn diagram,” Said biology undergraduate and science artist herself, Hannah Brazeau during the week she ran the twitter account @iamsciart.  “But they can be separated in some limited cases.  [For example]: a botanical illustration [without] accompanying information.  If [the] audience just sees something pretty, it’s #sciart, but not #scicomm.”

 

There were agreements with this statement, as user Peggy Muddles said that her science art pendants weren’t considered to be a form of good science communication.

 

But when science art and science communication do blend well together, they become imperative. 

 

Hannah argued that science communication couldn’t even exist without science art.  “Science Communication without infographics?”  She pondered.  “Oh my.”

 

Conservation Geographer and Photographer, Alena Ebeling-Schuld, seemed to agree.  “A lot of people learn visually and can understand [a] concept much better when presented in this form,”  She tweeted out.  “Plus,”  She continued.  “In a social media age, #sciart attracts viewers’ attention through colour and beauty. It connects people with the message!”

 

That being said …artists often times don’t get paid very much for their work.

 

Though science art is needed when it comes to science communication, the piece of the puzzle that’s missing is realizing how much work an artists really brings to their pieces.

 

When Sarah asked: “Regardless of [your] profession or field, do you earn a living on your passion? Or do you work to support your passion?”  the idea of making a living from science art made Moiety chuckle.

 

“Earn a living from #sciart?”  Hannah asked.  “Hold on, I need to stop laughing first.”

 

She went on to say that she has a day job, and thankfully, she does make enough money from science art each month to over at least one bill.  However, this is certainly not the case for every artist.

 

When I spoke to Hannah directly that day, she noted that there was a high expectation of free art in the science communication community.  “The expectation of free art is sadly quite common in scicomm.”

 

Taking for granted the use of artwork when it comes to science communication is something that needs to be addressed.  We’re lucky enough to have scientific artwork presented with the communication with science in just about everything.  Whether that’s beautiful photos taken next to National Geographic articles, or hand-painted or drawn works of skeletons or bugs (like Glendon Mellow’s wonderful works), or digitally created infographics that draw a point home.

 

We need to realize, as a community, how important science art is to science communication, and not take artists for granted.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of things STEM.  Find her on Twitter.

 

These "Beyond Curie" Posters are Perfect For Your Classroom

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Originally Posted February 27th, 2017

This design project headed by design strategist Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya is anincredible collection of 32 women who pioneered STEM fields in one way or another.  Beyond Curie is a project meant to bring light to these women, and while not ignoring the incredible feats that Marie Curie did herself, everyone knows who she is.  This project is meant to diversify the knowledge that students have of these incredible women, and every dollar that Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya’s Kickstarter makes beyond what production costs are will go toward the Association for Women in Science.

 

Who Exactly are the Women Included?

 

Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya’s design project includes every woman who has ever won a Nobel Prize in Physics, Chemistry, and Medicine/Physiology, as well as 16 other women who brought their own dose of amazing to the science table.

 

Women noted include, but are not limited to, Lise Meitner, Mae Jemison, and Maryam Mirzakhani.  Each poster has a very unique design, meant to bring out what each scientist did in her work, as well as add some wonderful color to the classroom (or even your home if you so choose — forget those boy band posters!  Put these in your girl’s room).

 

What’s the Story Behind This Project?

 

Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya is the founder of The Leading Strand, an initiative built on the idea that scientists and designers need to be brought together in order to help the world better understand science in the first place.  Phingbodhipakkiya has applied the same principle behind her initiative to her poster project.

 

Phingbodhipakkiya became interested in neuroscience herself when she could no longer dance thanks to a severe injury she suffered from in college.  “I desperately wanted to understand why I couldn’t move as gracefully as I used to, and began studying the intricacies of how the nervous and musculoskeletal systems work together,” Phingbodhipakkiya told me.  When she began to study Alzheimer’s, and realized that the urgency of the work was not being properly displayed, that’s when she turned to design.

 

“I realized, as scientists, we needed to be better equipped to convey the vital urgency of our work.  I gained a new sense of purpose and made it my mission to learn how to use design to shine a light on science.”  And that lead to The Leading Strand.

 

When Phingbodhipakkiya approached me, I asked her what her inspiration behind the  Beyond Curie project was, specifically.  “Like many people, I was feeling pretty upset after the [US] election,” she told me. “and thinking a lot about how I could get more involved.”  That was when one of her friends, who worked on the Hillary Clinton campaign, told her to pick a cause that she cared deeply about and support it in a way that only she could.

 

“That’s what led me to do Beyond Curie,”  She said.  “I wanted to celebrate the rich history of women kicking [butt] in STEM fields, to show that our world was built by brilliant people, both male and female and of all backgrounds, and to inspire the next generation of young women to go into STEM fields.” -- Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya / The Verge / “When Design Meets Neuroscience”

 

How’s the Project Doing?

 

As it would seem, this project has been doing wonderfully.  Phingbodhipakkiya turned to Kickstarter to fund this project, and says she’s had a great turn out.  In fact, as of the writing of this article, people have given over $18K to the project, when the Kickstarter’s goal was only placed at $1,000.

 

“…It’s been great to have people sharing their ideas and stories,”  Phingbodhipakkiya said. “Many educators have reached out sharing how they’ll use the posters to inspire young women in their schools and events.”

 

And for those who are preparing to support the March for Science, she’s created posters just for that cause as well.

 

Beyond Curie has been featured on FastCompany Magazine, and in Global Citizen.

 

Where Can You Find Out More?

 

You can find the many more of the designs at her Kickstarter, which of the publishing of this article will have about 14 more days to go. Although her project has already been funded far over what was needed for the project to begin with.

 

“I think encouraging young people, especially young women, to go into STEM fields science is so important. And one way to do it is through stories.”  Phingbodhipakkiya has a wonderful TED Talk on this subject, located here and well worth a watch.

 

How about it teachers? Will you decorate your classroom with these? I want one for home.

 
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of things STEM.  Find her on Twitter.