Lineup for Canadian Science Writers’ Association conference

The annual Canadian Science Writers’ Association conference takes place June 5-8 in Ottawa at the Canada Science and Technology Museum.

*UPDATE: see stories about various CSWA workshops and panels – as well as coverage of other journalism conferences – here.

Titled “At A Crossroads: Science Communication in the Digital Age”, here is the conference programme:

Saturday, June 5

11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Conference registration, Canada Science and Technology Museum
Free time for delegates to walk through the museum

1:15 pm – 2:15 pm
Conference welcoming remarks from CSWA President Kathryn O’Hara

Workshop: Using Canada’s new Science Media Centre
Penny Park, director Canada Science Media Centre

2:20 pm – 3:20 pm
Plenary panel: Social media, privacy issues and other public institution challenges in the digital age
Representatives from government new media teams discuss the perils, roadblocks and opportunities of promoting their science agendas online
– Christian Riel, new media, Canadian Institutes of Health Research
– Michael White, Senior Research Analyst, New Media, Parks Canada
– Dariusz Burzynski, Manager, Science and Technology Cluster, Strategic Science-Technology

3:25 pm – 4:25 pm
Kick-off event: “Outbreak!” interactive news simulation
A fictional emergency hits the capital, and its up to YOU and a panel of experts to assess and responsibly get the word out via digital media
This session will be followed by a moderated post-mortem discussion

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Locomotive Hall, Canada Science and Technology Museum:

Opening reception, presented by Bob McDonald, on behalf of SPACE Canada

7:00 pm
sanofi pasteur medal presentation

38th Annual Science In Society Awards Banquet, Locomotive Hall

Following the banquet
A Planet for Dessert (weather-permitting ) viewing of Mars, Saturn, and some of their 60+ moons via the Museum’s Helen Sawyer Hogg Observatory

Sunday, June 6

8:30 am – 10:00 am
Breakfast event – Pitched in 60 seconds: A researcher show-&-tell, presented by Canada Foundation For Innovation (CFI)

10:00 am – 11:00 am
Keynote speaker: Stephen Price, senior director, Conservation and Science & Practice, WWF

11:00 am – 11:15 am
Nutrition/networking break

11:15 am – 12:15 am
Concurrent sessions:

Workshop – Winning big with a few little Tweets: Where online science promotion is going…and how to get there
– Jeff Quipp, President & CEO Search Engine People
– Stephen Strauss, renowned columnist
– Elizabeth Howell, Ottawa/freelance science journalist & power-blogger
Moderator: Peter McMahon, author and online science journalist
Workshop – Tools for tomorrow’s science writers
– Miriam Boon, International Science Grid This Week
– Colin Schultz, researching science communication scholars with the practices of working science journalists
– Ivan Semeniuk, science-journalist-in-residence, U of T Dunlap Institute (LIVE via Skype from the Washington D.C. newsroom of Nature magazine)
Moderator: Hannah Hoag, award-winning freelance journalist
12:15 pm – 1:00 pm
Buffet Lunch

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Four scientists sound-off on climate change coverage in 2010
– Dr. Chris Burn, NSERC Northern Research Chair, Carleton University
– John Crump, Polar Issues Coordinator, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
– Antoni Lewkowicz, geographer, permafrost researcher, University of Ottawa
Moderator: Margret Brady Nankivell, journalist/Programmes & Communications Manager, British Council Canada

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Panel: Essays in light, the 100-mile pigment project, and other meetings of art & science
– Christopher van Donkeler (100 Mile Pigment Project)
– Marie Lanoo (installation inspired by Canadian Light Source synchrotron)
Moderator: Kathryn Warden, University of Saskatchewan

3:00 pm – 3:15 pm
Nutrition/networking break

3:15 pm – 4:00 pm
Concurrent sessions:

Conference Book Club: Canada’s best and brightest science authors show how they did it (and how you can too)
– Colin Ellard, author, Where Am I?
– Jake Berkowitz, author, Jurassic Poop, Out Of This World
– Ed Struzik, author, The Big Thaw
moderator: Judy Wearing, author, Edison’s Concrete Piano
Science opens up: Opportunities through open access and open data – Too often, we’re charged big bucks to access taxpayer-funded research and data. What are the alternatives and what do they mean for the future of science and journalism?
– Leslie Weir, U Ottawa chief librarian
– Tracey Lauriault,
– Michael Clarke, IDRC
Moderator: Emily Chung,

4:30 – 6:00
CSWA 39th Annual General Meeting, Election of Officers (open to all delegates – any CSWA member delegates can vote), announcement of 2011 CSWA conference location, and buffet supper

7:30 – 9:00
Evening keynote, open to the public:
Bob McDonald, host, CBC Radio’s Quirks & Quarks

Monday, June 7

8:30 am – 9:30 am
Continental breakfast

9:30 am – 10:45 am
Eco-health: From addressing health effects of environmental pollution, to the impact of climate change on emerging diseases, to healthier agricultural communities and agroecosystems, Canada is changing how the world thinks about health and the environment. Join some of the world’s leading ecohealth scientists as they share stories from the field. Presented by IDRC

– Dr. Carlos Passos, Universidade de Brasilia Planaltina, who has been working to solve the mystery of mercury poisoning in the Amazone
– Dr. Malek Batal, University of Ottawa, will speak on biodiversity and nutrition in Lebanon and Yemen
– Dr. David Waltner-Toews, University of Guelph, founder of Veterinarians Without Borders and Veterinarians Without Borders Canada will speak on the Canadian Community of Practice in Ecohealth

Moderator: Dr. Dominique Charron, Program Leader for Ecosystems and Human Health at IDRC

10:45 am – 11:00 am
Nutrition/networking break

11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Concurrent sessions:

Is this the end of the embargo? Embargos were designed to give reporters in different media a chance to get the story out at the same time. In the era of ‘instant reporting’, are they under threat?
– Kim Barnhardt, Senior Strategist, Communications, CMAJ
– David Akin, National Affairs Correspondent, Canwest News, On the Hill political blog
– Ivan Oransky, Executive Editor, Reuters Health, blogger: Embargo Watch
Moderator: Pippa Wysong, freelance science writer and children’s author

Essays in Biodiversity Experts weigh-in on a variety of aspects of this UNESCO International Year.
– Natalia Rybczynski, Museum of Nature
– Tyler Kuhn, SFU grad student and caribou DNA-wrangler
– Stephen Woodley, Parks Canada

12:00 pm – 12:45 pm
Buffet lunch

1:00 – 2:00 pm
Keynote: Jim Hoggan, chair of the David Suzuki Foundation and author, “Do The Right Thing: PR Tips for a Skeptical Public”, “Climate Cover-up”, on the media and climate change in 2010

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Investigative Science Journalism in the 21st Century
– Helen Branswell, Medical Reporter, The Canadian Press
– Veronique Morin, science journalist, Time Bombs, former president of the CSWA and WFSJ (World Federation of Science Journalists)
– Peter Calamai, CSWA founding member, former science reporter, Toronto Star
Moderator: Kathryn O’Hara, CSWA president, CTV Science Journalism Chair, Carleton University

3:00 pm – 3:15 pm
Nutrition/networking break

3:15 pm – 4:15 pm

Communicating science visually: from web and TV graphics to 3D museum display animations, to science stunts/theatre/and other guerrilla street-promo
– John Bohannon, “Gonzo Scientist”, contributor, Science Magazine (LIVE via Skype, from the set of Green Porno in New York)
– Alex Tirabasso, 3D imaging production specialist, Canadian Museum of Nature (joined by Paul Bloskie, Coordinator, Arius 3D Imaging Center Collection Services )
– Shockley Au, augmented reality specialist, Search Engine People
– Sonya Amin, AXS Studio Inc. (produced CGI for series and documentaries on CBC, CTV, and Discovery Channel)
Moderator: Peter McMahon, CSWA vice-president
4:15 pm – 5:15 pm
On the hot seat: Getting the scoop on Ottawa science
Federal laboratories and federal government scientists carry out billions of dollars of research annually, much of great potential public interest. Three experts offer their views on how this news-worthy research can be communicated better:
– James Rajotte, MP, Edmonton-Leduc
– Ralph Pentland, former director of water planning and management with the Canadian federal government
– Claire Dansereau, Deputy Minister, Department of Fisheries and Oceans (invited)
Moderator: Tim Lougheed, CSWA past-president

Official conference closing remarks from Kathryn O’Hara, CSWA president

5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Night At the Museum: Networking closing session presented by NSERC – Enjoy food, drink, and a chance to have the newly Canadian Museum of Nature to yourself for a night, including a number of cutting-edge biodiversity exhibits and and a full-scale blue whale skeleton on display

Tuesday, June 8


10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Exclusive tour of the Museum of Nature collections (Gatineau)

8:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Guided tour of St Lawrence Islands National Park, breaking research coming out the “jewel of the Thousand Islands” and a look at cutting edge methods being used to promote it and other parks to the public PLUS a look at the science of the Rideau Canal

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