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In this meeting we will explore the role of narrative in the communication of science. If scientists are prone to see ‘storytelling’ as having somewhat ambiguous connotations the narrative format of communication is more or less taken for granted when science is being communicated to non-expert audiences. Narratives are ideal devices for facilitating comprehension, interest, and engagement. Narratives are intrinsically persuasive, which offers science communicators their privileged means for captivating and influencing audiences one way or the other.
Science communicators, whatever the medium they work with, texts, lectures, documentary films, museum exhibitions, etc., are the real masters of wrapping content borrowed from science into stimulating, eye-opening narratives. In the postwar period, science communication evolved into a distinct professional field in its own right, encompassing a variety of communication expertise. The main actors are science journalists, science writers, and science educators, but also, increasingly, professional scientists who feel motivated to reach out to help improve public understanding of science and to popularize it.
Furthermore, what does narrative in contemporary fiction have to say about the human dimension of science? Are its practitioners villains or heroes, stereotypes or multidimensional characters? Has fictional portraying of science in divers media given rise to new narrative forms? What could be their role in science communication? Can a novel, film, or play make science more approachable, or facilitate understanding of ethical questions, or arouse curiosity about scientific concepts?
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