Article 15 may 2024

Practical exercises to help researchers learn and practice storytelling techniques.

Giulia Gaggiotti and Kenia Capdevila (EUFIC)

Written by Giulia Gaggiotti and Kenia Capdevila (EUFIC)

Scientific concepts often prove challenging to convey to those without a scientific background. Recognising this, the FoodStories project is developing a toolbox that utilises storytelling techniques—a powerful method for making complex ideas more accessible and engaging. We will finalise and share the Storytelling for Food Science Toolbox of Exercises in the upcoming months, including a Facilitator's Guide for professors and trainers. These resources aim to empower scientists and educators to effectively communicate food science research using storytelling techniques.

Recognising the importance of integrating science communication into curricula and classes, the Storytelling for Food Science Toolbox and Facilitator's Guide offer tools for any researcher interested in incorporating storytelling in their science communication efforts.

The Toolbox primarily targets scientists, researchers, and professionals working in the field of food science. However, its broader aim is to equip individuals with the skills necessary to effectively communicate complex scientific ideas to those without a background in food science.

So, what can researchers expect from the Toolbox?

This resource aims to equip food scientists with the necessary skills to effectively communicate their research to a broader audience, including those without a scientific background, by utilising storytelling techniques. To achieve this, the Toolbox offers a series of engaging and practical exercises specifically tailored to the context of food science. Each exercise focuses on key storytelling elements, providing practical guidance on crafting narratives that effectively communicate scientific concepts using one’s own research or examples from the "Storytelling in Food Science Communication - Best Practices Collection" handbook developed by the project and available by visiting www.foodstories-project.eu.

The Toolbox also includes a FAQ section, addressing common questions participants may have regarding the use of storytelling in science communication, such as “Can storytelling be used in technical or specialised fields of science?” or “What kind of language should be used in storytelling?”.
The Facilitator's Guide complements the Toolbox by providing additional information on using the exercises in a group or class setting. Professors, trainers, and facilitators can tailor the exercises to their specific contexts with the help of tips, recommendations, and suggestions provided in the guide.

The toolbox in action: three practice sessions

To validate the effectiveness of the exercises in real learning and interaction, the consortium will be conducting several small practice sessions (2-3 hours) with 15-20 participants in each. Two will be in-person sessions, guided by UCD (scheduled for May) and Aarhus University (scheduled for June), to offer participants hands-on experience and personalised guidance from the consortium. Additionally, EUFIC will host an online session in July to ensure accessibility for a wider audience and test the resources in an online format.
We will gather feedback from the participants through a pre-and post-survey developed by EUFIC to improve the resources before making them public.

About the resources

Both the Toolbox and the Facilitator's Guide have been developed as open resources by the EU project FoodStories. The project aims to empower food researchers and educators, enabling them to enhance their science communication skills and engage with diverse audiences using storytelling techniques.

Access to the Toolbox and Facilitator's Guide will be available through the project's website in the fall of 2024!

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