Science Writers &

Communicators of Canada

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  • 22 Feb 2022 3:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Banff Centre has just launched two upcoming Literary Arts programs; Computational Writing and Literary Journalism.  Please find the program details below and should you have any questions or know anyone who may be interested, kindly get in touch.


    Computational Writing 2022 | In Person

    This self-directed residency will allow writers to explore working at the intersection of computing and literary art, not only by using pre-developed tools but also by directly undertaking programming. The residency will consider how computation can be means for reflecting on one’s own writing process as well as for processing anything from small, curated collections of words to large text corpora. This program provides thematic teaching from faculty members Lillian-Yvonne Bertram and Nick Montfort,  along with Q&A sessions, public events, and one-on-one workshopping.

     

    *Financial Aid of 100% is available to cover tuition, and 50% is available to offset food and accommodation costs.

     

    Program Dates: April 25 – May 7, 2022
    Application Deadline: February 9, 2022
    Please visit the program page to learn more and apply.

    Literary Journalism 2022 | In Person

    This two-week residency encourages the exploration of new ideas in journalism and experimentation in writing. Designed to challenge and stimulate, the program aims to inspire creative pieces of nonfiction and to assist the writers in their completion.  Faculty members Charlotte Gill, Carol Shaben, and Michael Harris will discuss ideas, experiences, and obstacles that participants may be encountering with their literary journalism. Writers will have time to work on their manuscripts, receive individual consultations with faculty, and participate in group discussions. 

     

    *Successful applicants will receive 100% scholarship to cover tuition, on-site accommodation, and on-site meals.

     

    Program Dates: July 4 - 16, 2022
    Application Deadline: March 9, 2022
    Please visit the program page to learn more and apply.

    Our ultimate goal through the COVID-19 pandemic is to keep our community healthy and safe while we serve our artists, leaders, guests, and audience members. With this in mind, our programs are subject to change with the everchanging landscape that we currently face, and more details on our COVID-19 protocols can be found online here.

     

  • 03 Oct 2021 3:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It's been my privilege to serve as president of the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada for the past 21 months, a role I'll be relinquishing at the Annual General Meeting on October 5.

    It's been an eventful 21 months, dominated by the pandemic, of course, but also overlapping with the SWCC's 50th anniversary celebrations.

    As I prepare to step down, and knowing that Thanksgiving is just a few days away, I'd like to give thanks to everyone who has helped make my tenure as president a smooth one. (I won't mention names because I would inevitably omit someone.)

    First, heartfelt thanks to the members of the Board for your hard work, dedication, and friendship.

    Thanks to the committee chairs and committee members. Your work is often invisible, but it shouldn't be unacknowledged. Whether organizing the annual conference, rejuvenating the membership, running the book awards or handling digital media -- you provide the services that keep us relevant to our membership.

    Thank you to past presidents and board members for your wisdom, historical knowledge and patience in answering sometimes silly questions. 

    Thanks to our bookkeeper, and to our former and current general managers, for keeping the SWCC running smoothly.

    Thank you to our sponsors, who have faith in us and our goals.

    And finally, thank you, our members, for your involvement and commitment. 

    Looking at the list of board members who are staying on, and the ones who will be presenting themselves for your ratification at Tuesday's meeting, I believe that we are well positioned to begin our next 50 years with a diverse combination of experience, enthusiasm and energy.

    It’s been a privilege to have served you as president. Thank you for providing me with that opportunity.

    Terry Lavender

  • 10 Aug 2021 4:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I’m delighted to introduce Katelyn Brown as the new SWCC General Manager.

    Katelyn joined us starting August 1, 2021 and will transition into the role as current General Manager Nikki Berreth prepares to return to school (and to work on her novel) in September.

    We’ll miss Nikki, who has been a steady hand on the SWCC tiller since 2019 and wish her all the best in the future. Nikki: we hope you can come to the 2022 annual conference so we can say a proper goodbye and thank you!

    Katelyn, who attended McMaster University, comes to the SWCC from the World Molecular Imaging Society, where she was previously the sales and society relations manager. I’ll let Katelyn describe herself:

    My name is Katelyn Brown and I am delighted and grateful for the opportunity to join the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada team! I am excited to use my skills and experience to connect and foster growth in all areas of science throughout Canada and beyond by building a strong sense of community and value. I am hopeful to engage with current members and future prospects through traditional communications and social media.

    I look forward to making this transition as seamless as possible for everyone, as well as developing strong relationships with everyone. If there is ever any pertinent information that I need to know, please always feel free to reach out. I am very grateful for the opportunity and look forward to meeting you all!

    Katelyn and Nikki will be working together during the transition over the coming few weeks, before Katelyn takes over sole responsibility for the role on September 1. As usual, if you need to contact us, please use the  office@sciencewriters.ca email address.

    Terry Lavender
    President


  • 29 Jun 2021 8:35 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Science Writers and Communicators of Canada (SWCC) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 SWCC Book Awards. 


    For the children’s category: 

    Wanted! Criminals of the Animal Kingdom 

    • Written by Heather Tekavec, Illustrated by Susan Batori (Publisher: Kids Can Press)
    • Purchase Link (Use code SCWW for 20% off until July 20, 2021)

    For the general category:  

    Relax, Dammit!: A User’s Guide to the Age of Anxiety 

    • Written by Timothy Caulfield (Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada)
    • Purchase Link 
    • This science-based approach to managing risk in our daily lives earned high praise from the judges. The writing is timely and informative, tackling current issues like social media and smartphone use with humour and originality. “Reading the book is a bit like binge-watching TV,” said Margaret Munro. “It’s hard to stop and put the book down.” 

    Honourable Mentions: 

    Uncertain Harvest: The Future of Food on a Warming Planet 

    • Written by Ian Mosby, Sarah Rotz, and Evan D.G. Fraser (Publisher: University of Regina Press)
    • Purchase Link (Use code SWCC20 for 20% off)

    Successful Aging: A Neuroscientist Explores the Power and Potential of Our Lives 

    • Written by Daniel J. Levitin (Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada)
    • Purchase Link

    This Is Your Brain on Stereotypes: How Science is Tackling Unconscious Bias 

    • Written by Tanya Lloyd Kyi, Illustrated by Drew Shannon (Publisher: Kids Can Press)
    • Purchase Link (Use code SWCC for 20% off until July 20, 2021)

    Emmy Noether: The Most Important Mathematician You've Never Heard Of

    • Written by Helaine Becker, Illustrated by Kari Rust (Publisher: Kids Can Press)
    • Purchase Link (Use code SWCC for 20% off until July 20, 2021)

    SWCC would like to extend our sincere congratulations to Timothy Caulfield, Heather Tekavec, and Susan Batori. The two winning entries will each receive a $1,000 prize. 

    On behalf of the Book Awards Committee, we also want to acknowledge the volunteer judges for their time, effort, and thoughtful deliberations over the past five months.  

    We look forward to reviewing more outstanding examples of science writing when the competition reopens for submissions in September 2021. 

    TIMOTHY CAULFIELD is a Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, a Professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health, and Research Director of the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta. His interdisciplinary research on topics like stem cells, genetics, research ethics, the public representations of science, and health policy issues has allowed him to publish over 350 academic articles. He has won numerous academic and writing awards and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Trudeau Foundation, and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. He contributes frequently for the popular press and is the author of two national bestsellers: The Cure for Everything: Untangling the Twisted Messages about Health, Fitness and Happiness, and Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash. Caulfield also has a strong social media presence and is the host and co-producer of the documentary TV series, A User's Guide to Cheating Death.  (Source: Penguin Random House Canada, 2021)


    HEATHER TEKAVEC discovered while working as a preschool teacher that children's books were a lot more fun than adult books. In addition to books, Heather enjoys writing short stories, articles and poems for children's magazines, such as CRICKET, Chirp, Highlights and Totline, and has delved a few times into writing scripts and directing live theater. Heather lives in Cloverdale, British Columbia. 

    SUSAN BATORI is a Hungarian illustrator, graphic designer, and character design addict. Watch out — no one, not even her boyfriend or cat, is safe from becoming a funny character in an illustration. If you aren’t careful, she just might use you as inspiration. (Source: Kids Can Press, 2021)


  • 31 May 2021 8:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Nikki Berreth, our amazing general manager, will be leaving us in September to return to school. Nikki has guided us well over the past few years, and we will miss her very much and wish her all the best in the future.

    Because we are losing Nikki, the SWCC is in need of a new general manager. It’s a part-time, contractual position and should appeal to someone seeking flexibility, the freedom to work from home (or a coffee shop, a park bench or anywhere), and someone who likes working with volunteers, with writers and communicators and someone who is passionate about science.

    Thank you to everyone who sent us an application. The position closed on June 11.

    Terry Lavender

    President, SWCC


  • 28 May 2021 5:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This week, I’d like to say farewell and thank you to two departing board members and welcome to two new board members.

    Michael Robin, the former chair of the membership committee, and Shirene Singh, who served on the same committee, have both stepped down from the board. Michael and Shirene – thank you for your service.

    And a warm welcome to new board members Noelle Chorney and Alice Fleerackers. Noelle is a writer and consultant based in Saskatoon, and the leader of Tall Order Communications. Alice is a researcher, freelance writer and editor and a student at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, where she is pursuing a PhD in science and health communication. I’m looking forward to working with both Noelle and Alice in the coming months. You can read the bios of all the board members at sciencewriters.ca/board-members 

    If you’re interested in joining the board, nominations are now open for the 2021-2023 term and will close on October 4, 2021. Getting involved with the SWCC is a great way to hone your skills, to network, to add to your resumé, and it can be a lot of fun as well. You can find details on the nomination process here.

    Terry Lavender

    President, SWCC

  • 03 May 2021 11:23 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Today, May 3 is World Press Freedom Day, a time to reflect on the value and necessity of free, unfettered media.

    As the United Nations puts it:

    “World Press Freedom Day acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom. It is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics. It is an opportunity to: 
    • celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom;
    • assess the state of press freedom throughout the world;
    • defend the media from attacks on their independence;
    • and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.”

    The Science Writers and Communicators of Canada holds as one of its principles that we support “the democratic principles that protect freedom of speech and freedom of the press.”

    Freedom of the press is precious, and it is precarious. Let us celebrate and honour the journalists who keep us informed and empowered.

    Learn more about World Press Freedom Day here.   

    Terry Lavender
    President, SWCC


  • 30 Apr 2021 11:38 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Science Writers and Communicators of Canada (SWCC) is pleased to announce the list of finalists for the 2020 Book Awards. 


    top 3 For the general category

    Relax, Dammit!: A User’s Guide to the Age of Anxiety 

    Written by Timothy Caulfield (Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada


    Successful Aging: A Neuroscientist Explores the Power and Potential of Our Lives 

    Written by Daniel J. Levitin (Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada)


    Uncertain Harvest: The Future of Food on a Warming Planet 

    Written by Ian Mosby, Sarah Rotz, and Evan D.G. Fraser (Publisher: University of Regina Press)



    Top For the children’s category

    Wanted! Criminals of the Animal Kingdom 

    Written by Heather Tekavec, Illustrated by Susan Batori (Publisher: Kids Can Press)


    Emmy Noether: The Most Important Mathematician You've Never Heard Of

    Written by Helaine Becker, Illustrated by Kari Rust (Publisher: Kids Can Press)


    This Is Your Brain on Stereotypes: How Science is Tackling Unconscious Bias 

    Written by Tanya Lloyd Kyi, Illustrated by Drew Shannon (Publisher: Kids Can Press)



    Please stay tuned for a virtual announcement about the winner in each category at the annual conference for SWCC in June 2021. 

    Information about the SWCC Book Awards (including a list of past winners) can be found online. If you’re interested in reading more about the topic of science writing, please check out these recent blog posts from SWCC: 

    1. What We’re Reading This March 
    2. Art, Science, and Dog Derrieres: Creating Carolyn Fisher’s Cells: An Owner's Handbook
    3. Communicating Science: New Book Explores Science Communication Across the Globe

  • 20 Apr 2021 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Thank you volunteers!


    On behalf of the board of directors of the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada, I would like to recognize and thank everyone who has given their time to the SWCC. Whether you’ve served on the board, on a committee, organized an event, or helped out in any way, we’re grateful.

    This is National Volunteer Week, but believe me, we’re thankful to you year-round. The SWCC was started by a group of volunteers in 1970, and has been representing the interests of Canadian science communicators ever since, thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who have contributed over the past 50 years. And today, because of you and your efforts and energy, we continue to be a strong voice for science communication across Canada. 

    Thank you again.

    Terry Lavender, SWCC President 

  • 14 Apr 2021 8:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Popular Canadian science broadcaster Jay Ingram (CM) launches original podcast series examining our complex relationship with wildlife. 


    ANTHROPOMANIA, the entertaining and thought provoking original series, featuring CBC and Discovery Channel alum Jay Ingram, is a much needed breath of fresh air, inspiring listeners to look at non-human life through a new lens. 

    TORONTO, MARCH 8, 2020 – A snake with personality. A plant that feels. Feral boars and cocaine hippos. A world famous taxidermist who sings like Roy Orbison. Why do we have such complex relationships with wildlife? All this and more in our inaugural season of Anthropomania. 

    Dropping on March 15, 2021 across all podcast platforms, the Canadian-made series will explore everything from whether animals have distinct personalities to the enigmas of plant consciousness and the fascinating world of taxidermy. At its helm are heavy-hitting science broadcasters and journalists, including acclaimed television host and bestselling author Jay Ingram (Daily Planet, Quirks and Quarks). He’s joined by two fresh voices: biologist and science journalist, Niki Wilson, and biomedical scientist, Dr. Erika Siren. The trio, alongside fascinating guests, examine — and challenge — our attitudes towards animals, plants, and all life on earth. 

    Anthropomania is our made-up word, but the concept has always existed. While anthropomorphism means attributing human qualities to other species, anthropomania is that, but magnified to the extreme. Peeling back the layers of our human-centred perceptions, Anthropomania dares to see the true nature of animals and plant life as they really are. 

    “The deeper we dig on Anthropomania, the more we discover there’s hardly a living thing on this planet which doesn’t bear the imprint of humans,” says Ingram. “We hope everyone who listens will see opportunities to change the way they think about the living world.” 

    The series fills a gap in the podcast genre, inviting world-class guests to take a contemporary approach to investigating some of the most compelling wildlife questions out there. Weaving together stories and interviews with a diverse cross-section of scientists, experts, and trailblazers, each episode unearths the absurd — sometimes laughable — facets of our own conceptions of the natural world. 

    Produced by award-winning production agency Lightscope Creative, the podcast also reunites Ingram with fellow Discovery Channel veteran, and agency founder, Frances MacKinnon (Executive Producer). 

    “During this difficult time in the world, Anthropomania provides an upbeat, optimistic approach to looking at non-human life from a new vantage point,” she says. “Listeners are guaranteed to learn something new, but more than anything, we hope they walk away loving the planet and its creatures a little bit more after every listen. And, on International Women’s Day 2021, we are proud to be amplifying female voices in science.” 

    Anthropomania straddles culture and science, sparking curiosity in the most unexpected of places, and occasionally ruffling a few feathers along the way. 

    Listen Now

    LIGHTSCOPE CREATIVE 

    Established in 2013, Lightscope Creative produces story-driven podcasts and video for some of the biggest and best brands in the world. Founded by Frances MacKinnon, award-winning television producer and journalist, Lightscope brings high quality, documentary-style storytelling to branded content. 

    For inquiries or interviews contact Victoria Bouthillier, Director of Marketing victoria@lightscopecreative.com 

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