Creative ‘VrijMiBo’ VII: ’Storytelling for scientists session 1/3 (the start of a trilogy’


Nov 24 2023 (15:00-17:00)

BirdEyes (Zaailand 110 Leeuwarden)

So there it is. Blood, sweat and tears condensed into a concise description of a part of the natural world that was previously less understood. It contributes to the collective body of knowledge and will aid in formulating new hypotheses, advancing science even further. But will it aid in improving management of your study species? Will it transfer some of your passion and insights to the public, so they too, will care? Perhaps. But more often than not, by the time the content of a scientific publication reached the public or decision makers, your conclusions have been cherry picked, diluted, and maybe even distorted by subjugation to beliefs and values. Or even worse: labelled as beliefs and values (“science is just an opinion”)

One way of having more control over how your story will be heard by society, is to retell it yourself in a way that is more attractive and accessible to people outside of academia. That is not easy because you were not trained for that. Also, you may fear losing scientific integrity of your work when stepping outside of the conventional way of sharing your insights.

Yet there are ways and in 3 sessions over the course of 1 year, we will explore exactly that! In the first session, we will introduce Emma Penning’s work as a case study and focus on the research question and the answer to it. How to explain it without using jargon and without expecting prior knowledge from you audience? This implies you also need to define you audience, as varying audiences may require different approaches. With the help of a storytelling expert Joris Hoebe, we will brainstorm over this using the case study and in the end of the session a compelling and fitting draft storyline has emerged. In the second session, we will conceptualize this further and find the appropriate outlet for the story. Is it actual, verbal storytelling, is it a film, an interactive software application, a theater play, an exhibition or even a piece of music? In the third and final session we will find an answer to the questions that probably already popped up in your head after reading the previous sentence: How to actually make that happen and by the way, who’s going to pay for all that?

You are most welcome to join this inspiring and provocative quest to bring science to society. The first session takes place on FRIDAY 24th of November from 15:00 – 17:00h. Snacks and drinks courtesy of BirdEyes.

If you are interested please sign up, HERE.


In addition, we are currently organizing targeted work meetings, building on the traditions that we have developed during the Wadvogelwerk (Metawad-Waddenfonds), Kening fan ‘e Greide for many years, and the black-tailed godwit research in southwest Fryslân.

Centre for global ecological change at the University of Groningen

Birdeyes is a science and creative centre that views the world - almost literally - through the eyes of birds. More and more birds are flying around with tiny transmitters, loggers and other high technology on their backs and legs. This generates an unimaginable amount of information. By cleverly combining such data with other sources of information, and by using new ways to tell stories and share the insights with, BirdEyes strives to open up a new knowledge network. The centre aims to be an innovative part of the University of Groningen and is linked to the Rudolph Agricola School for Sustainable Development. BirdEyes, with empirical and inspirational roots in the farthest corners of the world.

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