Article 15 may 2024

A Best Practices Collection of Food Science Communication : Take a look at the FoodStories Handbook

Gianluca Vagnarelli (i-strategies)

Written by Gianluca Vagnarelli (i-strategies)

The "Best Practices Collection: Storytelling in Food Science Communication" FoodStories handbook, showcases 26 exemplary cases demonstrating the effective use of storytelling in science communication across diverse contexts and mediums. Its primary goal is to motivate scholars and students to enhance their proficiency in conveying food science through narrative techniques. Indeed, FOODSTORIES aims to bolster the capacity of professors and educational institutions to improve their capacity to effectively communicate science. Serving as both a teaching aid and a resource for independent learning, the handbook offers valuable insights and inspiration, whether utilised in its entirety or by examining individual cases.

The "Storytelling in Food Science Communication - Best Practices Collection" handbook is the first project result of the FOODSTORIES project. The need for this handbook arose from recognising the communication challenges within the field of food science, where the complexity of information often makes public engagement difficult. The project aims to bridge this gap by harnessing the power of storytelling to make food science more accessible and engaging to diverse audiences.

Development Process

The development of the handbook was a meticulously organised, multi-step process involving a broad spectrum of experts from across Europe. The Food Stories project partners set out to compile best practices in science communication, specifically focusing on the effective use of storytelling. The 26 cases featured in this handbook are examples from eight European nations (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom), as well as the United States. This collection of best practices was crafted through a meticulous six-step process (criteria identification, best practice collection, technical assessment, partner assessment, first draft discussion, and finalisation) to guarantee that each case exemplifies high-quality, ethical science communication initiatives that effectively integrate elements of storytelling. This collaborative effort ensured that the handbook encapsulated a variety of voices and perspectives, enriching its content and relevance.

Key Topics and Chapters

The handbook is structured to provide a comprehensive overview of how storytelling can be employed effectively across different media to enhance the communication of food science. The topics are categorised into six clusters based on the medium of communication, including:

Written: This section explores how articles and written narratives can incorporate storytelling elements to enhance their impact. Examples include using narrative structures in articles, web platforms and other case studies where storytelling has been used to simplify complex scientific concepts.

Video: Here, the focus is on the use of visual storytelling through science documentaries, videos, and other multimedia elements to explain scientific topics engagingly.

Mixed Media: Highlights innovative approaches that combine various media forms (science theatre productions, science communication contexts and more) to tell compelling stories about food science.

Audio: This covers the use of podcasts and radio as powerful tools for storytelling, providing examples of how these formats can be used to reach different audiences.

Live Events: This section discusses the role of public festivals, events like the European Researcher’s Night, and other interactive sessions that utilise storytelling to engage and educate live audiences.

Each chapter discusses the methods and advantages of different storytelling approaches and sets quality criteria to evaluate their effectiveness, ensuring that the examples provided meet high standards of scientific accuracy and engaging storytelling.

Intended Audience

The handbook is designed primarily for educators and communicators within the scientific community, particularly those involved in food science and related fields. It serves as a resource for improving teaching methods and public engagement strategies. Moreover, it is an invaluable tool for students and scholars looking to enhance their communication skills in scientific contexts.

Accessing the Handbook

The handbook is available through the official FOODSTORIES project website. Interested readers can access or download the handbook directly by visiting: https://foodstories-project.eu/platform/

This link provides the handbook, additional resources, and upcoming initiatives related to the FOODSTORIES project, including educational materials and opportunities for further learning and engagement.

In conclusion, the "Storytelling in Food Science Communication - Best Practices Collection" handbook is a pivotal resource developed to address the specific communication challenges in food science. Through a structured compilation of best practices across various media, it aims to equip educators, students, and professionals with the tools needed to effectively convey complex scientific information in an engaging and accessible manner. The handbook stands as a testament to the potential of storytelling to bridge the gap between scientific communities and the public, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of food science.

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