San Francisco, USA — August 22, 2023 — From July 24 until August 5, Swissnex in San Francisco hosted 13 journalists and science communicators from top-ranked Swiss universities and some of Switzerland’s biggest media houses. Over the course of their two-week stay in the Bay Area, they took part in interactive workshops and connected with experts in the field of AI, Experience Design, as well as science communications.
Two weeks of Immersion in Bay Area Storytelling
The first week of the bootcamp was centered around answering questions like: “Is my message clear and accessible to a diverse range of audiences, regardless of their scientific background?” And “How am I measuring the impact of my science communication efforts, and how can I continuously improve and adapt my strategies based on audience feedback and engagement?”
The participants gained insights and answers to these questions from renowned experts, such as Jennifer Frazier, Ph.D., Senior Director at the Science Communication Lab and adjunct Professor at UC San Francisco, and Dr. Seema Yasmin, Director of the Stanford Health Communication Initiative at Stanford University. In the workshops, participants, and experts exchanged Ideas and debated approaches to storytelling and science communication.
Another highlight in the first week was the Future of Science Storytelling with Data on Thursday night. The event featured storytellers from the California Academy of Sciences, the Los Angeles Times, and Reuters, as well as a panel discussion on the topic. The experts gave the participants and guests a glimpse into the future of science storytelling and practical insights into using tools, such as art and illustrations, to make the intangible tangible and captivate a broader audience.
In the second week of the Immersion To Action Bootcamp, the topics shifted toward harnessing the power of Generative AI and other cutting-edge technologies to convey the participant’s stories and messages. Dr. Maria Grazia Giuffreda, one of the participants, remembers: “As soon as the workshops began, I found myself immersed in a realm of boundless creativity, active participation, and playful engagement. As I let myself into various activities and discussions, something amazing happened: my filters and preconceived notions disappeared, giving space to an endless well of fresh ideas, opportunities, and pure fun!” Experts like Dr. Claudia von Vacano, the Executive Director of D-Lab and Digital Humanities at Berkeley, and Barna Szász, Narrative AR & VR Lecturer at Stanford University and freelance XR Narrative & Interaction Designer, shared their perspectives and visions on how to use these technologies in communications.
A successful first iteration of the Bootcamp
Romie Kind, Creative Industries Program Manager at Swissnex in San Francisco, was pleased with how the inaugural Immersion to Action Science Communication Bootcamp went. “One of the goals of the bootcamp was to bring the magic of science to life, and the participants leave with a lot of ideas on how to do just that,” was his conclusion after the intense two weeks. Similar statements can be heard from the participants.
Roberta Fischli, a Journalist and Ph.D. candidate at the University of St.Gallen (HSG), said: “It was a really great experience. We were exposed to new approaches, researchers, and practitioners from the Bay Area that taught us about new technologies and the ethical implications of them.”
The inaugural Immersion To Action Science Communication Bootcamp cohort consisted of: Barbara Reye, Fabienne Kinzelmann-Opel, Giovanni Spitale, Harry Busser, Helga Rietz, Julia-Silvana Hofstetter, Luc Erard, Meryl Brucker, Pascal Lago, Roberta Fischli, Sara Camilla Ibrahim, Maria-Grazia Giuffreda, and Antonio Fumagalli.
The second Immersion To Action Science Communication Bootcamp takes place next year. The exact dates will be announced soon, so sign up for our newsletter to receive information once registration for the 2024 Bootcamp opens. If you would like more in-depth information, reach out directly to our Creative Industries Program Manager, Romie Kind, via E-Mail or on LinkedIn.
Voices from our first Immersion to Action Science Communication Cohort
The Future of Science Storytelling with Data
This project is funded by the Gebert Rüf Stiftung.