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  • 10 Oct 2017 10:37 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Kristina Campbell, Photos by Theresa Liao

    Where do you get your science information from?

    This was the question that greeted the attendees of #ScicommnightBC, an SWCC event hosted in collaboration with the Royal BC Museum, Science Borealis, and Curiosity Collider in Victoria on Friday, September 22nd.

    "Coworkers" figured prominently, yes—so, learning about science through real-life social interactions. But "Twitter" and "journal articles" were the top answers, closely followed by "Google". This meant the majority of people in the room regularly got their science information from digital sources.

    The digital world, of course, allows people to create communities around their own narrow set of interests. And while it's great to have a thriving online hub for soil bacteria enthusiasts and devotees of astrophysics—where does that leave all that's local?

    The SWCC science communication event took shape to explore this question. And the gathering of some of Victoria region's best science communication talent—the 100-mile diet of #scicomm, if you will—did not disappoint.

    First up was the SWCC 2017 book award, presented to Mark Leiren-Young for a story he chased for more than 20 years: The Killer Whale Who Changed the World. Leiren-Young, a seasoned writer and interviewer, says many of the book's stories were brought forth from a single question he asked the people around him: when did you first see an orca?

    Next came representatives from the blog aggregator Science Borealis: co-founder Sarah Boon introduced spider scientists Catherine Scott and Sean McCann, who shared stories of their early-morning expeditions to local beaches to track and photograph spiders. In their passion fused with scientific inquiry (plus videos of the cutest, fuzziest spiders ever), Scott and McCann argued convincingly that spider stories can help almost anyone get to appreciate arachnids a little better.

    Shelley McIvor of Curiosity Collider then took the podium, sharing stories of their unique efforts to draw in those who might not normally take an interest in science. When the organization brings together scientists, artists, and other collaborators in various projects—from a dance that models how the brain forms a memory, to a line-following wheeled robot—the audience may be inspired to think outside the traditional "science" box. Vancouver artist Larissa Blokhuis, for example, challenged the #SciCommNightBC audience to imagine a beetle species that changed some aspect of its body or behaviour after the recent eclipse. Her explorations of the same challenge were represented in an art installation at the back of the room during the event.

    The collections manager of invertebrates and the curator of invertebrates at the Royal BC Museum took the opportunity to speak about the science communication work of their institution. They emphasized the constant battle against the idea of museums as places to park old specimens: in reality, not only does the Royal BC Museum lead dynamic research efforts, but they also do constant outreach in the wider community. And even these taxonomists emphasized that it’s not the specimen or its name that matters—it’s the story. This, they said, is what science communicators should always be trying to uncover.

    The final activity of the night, led by Chris O'Connor, Program Developer in the Learning Department at the Royal BC Museum, made use of all the science communication talent in the room, professional & amateur alike. O'Connor gave each small group an object that looked like a random, unremarkable item a small child would have collected from a BC beach: a shell perforated with holes; a hollow rocklike object, brown and crumbling. O'Connor asked each group to come up with a name and a one-sentence story about the object.

    In five minutes, the mundane objects all been transformed with a story. They had all been tethered to something, or someone, that had made them come alive.

    Also at the event: the definitive Victoria faceoff between "Oxford Comma" and "No Oxford Comma". Attendees voted with their spare change. Although various participants argued eloquently on both sides, Oxford Comma was the winner with 79% of the proceeds.

    Sarah Boone wrote a report about this event for Science Borealis. You can read more about it here

    This event was organized as part of Science Literacy Week. 

  • 19 Sep 2017 8:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Science Writers and Communicators of Canada and Science Borealis are excited to announce the nominees for the 2017 People’s Choice Awards: Canada’s Favourite Science Online!

    Vote for your favourite websites and blogs and bestow upon them the bragging rights they so richly deserve! It’s easy to do.

    Check out the nominees, especially the ones that are new to you (they’re all fabulous), and vote for your 3 favourites in each of 2 categories: Favourite Science Site and Favourite Science Blog. Once you’ve voted, join us on social media to cheer for your faves using the hashtag #CdnSciFav.


    Voting closes October 14th. Winners will be announced during the Canadian Science Policy Conference (Nov 1-3) and simultaneously across the SWCC and SciBor social media channels.

    Top 10 List for Canada’s Favourite Science Site:


    Twitter: @Beakerhead

    It’s the Burning Man of science! Beakerhead is an annual program that brings together the arts, sciences, and engineering sectors to build, engage, compete, and exhibit interactive works of art, engineered creativity, and entertainment.

    Evidence for Democracy


    About: Standing up for science and smart decision-making in Canada. Evidence for Democracy (E4D) is the leading fact-driven, non-partisan, not-for-profit organization promoting the transparent use of evidence in government decision-making in Canada.

    Hakai Magazine

    Twitter: @hakaimagazine

    About: Hakai Magazine explores science, society, and the environment from a coastal perspective.

    Let’s Talk Science

    Twitter: @LetsTalkScience

    About:  Let's Talk Science is an award-winning, national, charitable organization focused on education and outreach to support youth development.

    Nature Conservancy Canada

    Twitter: @NCC_CNC

    About: The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is Canada's leading national land conservation organization, envisioning a Canada that conserves nature in all its diversity, and safeguards the lands and waters that sustain life.

    Quebec Science

    Twitter: @QuebecScience

    About: Winner of the 2017 Canadian Magazine Awards, this French language magazine features science and technology news, commentary, and a fun youth page.

    About: serves up the biographies of over 250 Canadian scientists and their work, features experiments and quizzes, as well as Ask a Scientist, and Canadian science news.

    Science on Stage Canada

    About; SoSC brings together the best minds in science education to inspire young people to explore science and technology by providing teachers with tools to transform their classrooms into innovative learning environments.

    The Conversation

    Twitter: @ConversationCA

    About: Not just a good science news read, The Conversation is also a source of ideas, media-ready experts and free content written by academics and researchers with deep expertise. The site features a searchable database of more than 30,000 academics.

    Youth Science Canada

    Twitter: @YouthScienceCan

    About: Dedicated to the thrills and excitement of science fairs, this bilingual site features news and blogs for budding scientists.

    Vote for your faves now!


    Top 12 List for Canada’s Favourite Science Blog

    The Body of Evidence  Dr. Christopher Labos, Jonathan Jarry

    Twitter: @drlabos ‏  @crackedscience

    About:  Through a podcast, a shared blog, and videos (and even appearances on the radio and in person), they explore what reproducible evidence has to say on important medical topics, and how scientific thinking shouldn’t be the sole purview of researchers. The bickering is just the cherry on top.

    The Intrepid Mathematician  Anthony Bonato

    Twitter: @Anthony_Bonato

    About:  The Intrepid Mathematician began in early 2015 as a means for me to write for non-mathematicians about mathematics and mathematicians. Since then, I’ve written about mathematics in popular culture and my own journey as an academic, thinker, and writer.

    ScyWhy Claire Eamer and many others

    Twitter: @PaulaJohanson @CEamer  @helainebecker

    About: In the beginning, Claire had an idea. It was a simple idea - to gather a group of like-minded writers and launch a blog. Why? To help parents, teachers and librarians discover the wide world of Canadian science writing for kids.

    Art The Science Blog Julia Krolik, Alex Pedersen, Owen Fernley, Catherine Lau

    Twitter: @artthescience

    Welcome to the Art the Science Blog – dedicated to featuring global sciart! The content is divided into four main categories: Creators: These days, it is not uncommon for artists to self identify as scientists and vice-versa. Therefore, the term refers to anyone influenced by science for artwork creation; Works are any artworks or exhibitions that are inspired by science; Spaces include any public or online gallery/magazine/organization that is dedicated to the promotion of scientific art and; Bits: Fast coverage of #SciArt.

    Theory, Evolutions, and Game Group Artem Kaznatcheev & many others

    Twitter: @kaznatcheev

    I am Artem Kaznatcheev, and this is my venue for articles that are more long-form than G+ posts but aren’t quite long enough for more formal publication — although the ideas developed in the posts often lead to that.  Instead of trying to give you a short summary, I will provide you with seven broad themes -- Algorithmic theory of biology, Bounded rationality in economics and finance, Cognitive science and philosophy of mind, Evolutionary game theory, Mathematical oncology and theoretical biology, Metamodeling and philosophy of science, and Theoretical computer science and machine learning.

    Ibycter Sean McCann

    Twitter @Ibycter

    About: Ibycter is about the beauty of natural history and animal behaviour research, conveyed through photography. My primary inspiration comes from getting out and exploring nature with my camera whenever I can, and this blog is an opportunity to share what I find.

    Gil Wizen  Gil Wizen

    Twitter: @wizentrop

    About: I am a naturalist with a great affection for small creatures. This is what led me to study biology and later to focus on entomology (the study of insects) as my main field of research. I created this website to present my inspirations and work in greater detail, as well as to educate and ignite a similar passion in others. Small organisms, and arthropods in particular, display a huge diversity of interesting behaviors and adaptations for survival but they are often overlooked or worse – feared of for no good reason. I hope this website will help to show their true beauty.

    Pseudoplocephalus Victoria Arbour

    Twitter: @VictoriaArbour

    Pseudoplocephalus is the home base for Dr. Victoria Arbour, an NSERC postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto and Royal Ontario Museum. Victoria has been writing about dinosaurs, palaeontology, museums, science communication, and women in STEM since 2010.

    Astroquizzical Jillian Scudder

    Twitter @astroquizzical

    All things astronomy. Any lingering questions about anything to do with space? Your questions aren't silly. Ask them here!

    Spielraum Jared Stang

    Twitter @StangJared

    Spielraum: 1. Playspace; 2. The set of actions available to an expert agent in a situation; 3. A blog about an instructor finding his spielraum in a university physics classroom.

    Companion Animal Psychology Zazie Todd

    Twitter @CompAnimalPsych

    About the science of people’s relationships with their pets. Topics include dog training, canine behaviour, feline behaviour, enrichment, behaviour problems, attachment to pets, and the human-animal bond. Dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, horses and fish are all included. Topic suggestions are welcome.

    Dispatches from the Field Catherine Dale, Amanda Tracey, Sarah Wallace

    Twitter @fieldworkblog

    So much of what happens in the field has no place in scientific papers, and never makes it into the public realm – yet these stories are the core of the experience.  We want this blog to serve as an outlet for those stories, and also a way for us to share the rare, quiet lessons we’ve learned from the many landscapes we’ve been privileged to get to know.

    Vote for your faves now!


  • 18 Sep 2017 12:55 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Science Writers and Communicators of Canada are celebrating our two book award winners this week. Both events are open to the public and feature special guests - and additional activities. Come and join us us if you can! 

    Wednesday Sept 20th, 10:30 am at the Ontario Science Centre, we present this year's youth book award for Higher, Faster, Smarter to Simon Shaprio

    Friday , September 22, 7:00pm at the Royal BC Museum, we present this years general audience book award for The Killer Whale Who Changed the World to Mark Leiden-Young

  • 14 Sep 2017 9:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Wednesday, September 20 – Honouring Science Communication

    Faster Higher Smarter: Bright Ideas That Transformed SportsJoin us as we partner with the Ontario Science Centre and Science Literacy Week to honour author Simon Shapiro for his outstanding contribution to science writing for youth. Shapiro will be presented the SWCC Youth Book Award for his book Faster Higher Smarter, which looks at the science behind inventions and improvements in sports – from swimming to basketball and skateboarding to wheelchair athletics.

    Hear Shapiro talk about Faster Higher Smarter and ask him your questions about research, writing and communicating science.

    10:30 a.m.
    Hot Zone, Level 6
    Included with general admission

  • 23 Aug 2017 8:59 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As part of Science Literacy Week the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada (SWCC) and the Royal BC Museum join forces for a dynamic evening discovering the myriad ways to effectively communicate the relevance of science.

    From the powerful written language in a book or text panel in a museum to multimedia exhibitions, how the concepts of science are crafted makes all the difference in making an authentic and meaningful impact on an audience. 

    The evening will begin with a Science in Society book award presentation by Jude Isabella Editor in Chief at Hakai Magazine and former Vice President of SWCC to Mark Leiren-Young for his book The Killer Whale Who Changed the World.

    The event will also feature local innovators in science communication, with talks by spider scientist Catherine Scott and science photographer Sean McCann representing Science Borealis, and art-science experiences from Vancouver's Curiosity Collider.

    Follow the event on Twitter: #ScicommNightBC

    Date:                         September 22nd, 2017

    Time:                         7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

    Location:            Royal British Columbia Museum, 675 Belleville Street, Victoria

    About Mark Leiren-Young

    Mark Leiren-Young was swallowed by a whale named Moby Doll. Mark is directing a feature documentary about Moby and his short documentary The Hundred-Year-Old Whale, debuts at festivals this fall. He hosts the popular podcast, Skaana, about orcas, oceans and the environment ( Mark is also a playwright whose work has been produced around the world. He has two plays running in Vancouver this season — Shylock is at Bard on the Beach in September and Bar Mitzvah Boy debuts at Pacific Theatre in March, 2018. @leirenyoung


    Representing the Canadian science blog aggregator Science Borealis, Catherine Scott and Sean McCann will be at #SciCommNightBC to talk spiders! Here's a little more about these scientists:

    About Catherine Scott

    Catherine Scott is a behavioural ecologist and arachnologist who studies sexual communication in spiders. A former arachnophobe, she is passionate about trying to shift perceptions about these fascinating creatures by engaging in science communication. Catherine blogs about spiders at and you can also find her on twitter (@Cataranea), where she is always happy to answer questions about spiders and other arachnids.   

    About Sean McCann

    Dr. Sean McCann is a behavioural ecologist, entomologist and wildlife photographer who specializes in capturing the natural history of arthropods through imagery. He studies diverse animals, from mosquitoes, wasps, ants and spiders to barn owls and other raptors. Sean blogs about natural history and shares his photography at and tweets as @Ibycter.


    At the event, keep an eye out for work by these two amazing science artists: Erick James and Larissa Blokhuis!

    About Erick James

    As a biologist and artist, Erick uses art as a form of science outreach. His pieces convey the wonders of the natural world to the audience. Erick has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the University of British Columbia and an Honors Metal Certificate from the Kootenay School of the Arts at Selkirk College. Erick has worked and studied in labs for more than 20 years and still finds wonder there. It is this curiosity and excitement for the natural world that Erick brings to his art. In larger than life metal microbes, scanning electron micrographs in gilded frames and framed fixed specimen slides, the often invisible are made visible. At #SciCommNightBC, Erick will be displaying his work “Fixed”.

    About Larissa Blokhuis

    Larissa’s art is inspired by the evolutionary history of plants, and the repetition of life cycles. Her current focus on using glass and mixed media by incorporating ceramic, steel, wool, polymer, and wood as needed has allowed her to develop a distinctive style.

  • 14 Aug 2017 8:05 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Shattered Mirror: News, Democracy and Trust in the Digital Age investigates the major shifts and disruptors in news and journalism – the broken business model, under-development of digital-only news providers and consolidation of digital distribution revenues by Google and Facebook. Join Chris Dornan, Associate Professor, Carleton University for a presentation that explores the report findings and a discussion of the recommendations that aim to ensure the news media and journalists continue in their role as the watchdogs over our elected representatives and public institutions and the connective tissue within our communities. The full report is available online at 

    Christopher Dornan is an associate professor at the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University.

    He holds a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University, an M.A. in the History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge, and a Ph.D. in Communication from McGill University. He taught for two years at Cornell University before joining the faculty at Carleton in 1987.

    He has worked as a reporter for the Edmonton Journal, an editor and editorial writer for the Ottawa Citizen, and a columnist for The Globe and Mail and CBC National Radio. In 2006 he was Erasmus Mundus visiting scholar at the Danish School of Journalism and the University of Århus.

    Among other venues, his academic work has appeared in Critical Studies in Communication, the Media Studies Journal, the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Topia, Journalism Studies, and the research reports of The Royal Commission on Electoral Reform and Party Financing.

    He is the co-editor (with Jon Pammett) of The Canadian Federal Election of 2015 (Dundurn Press) along with five previous volumes in this series.

    He was a principal writer and editor for both volumes of the 2012 government-mandated Aerospace Review (the Emerson Report), the Canadian Space Agency’s 2014 Space Policy Framework, and the Public Policy Forum’s 2016 report on the state of the Canadian news media, Shattered Mirror: News, Democracy and Trust in the Digital Age.

    At Carleton, he served for nine years as director of the School of Journalism and Communication, and for six years as associate dean of the Faculty of Public Affairs and director of the Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs.

    Registration is now open for the 46th annual SWCC conference and annual meeting. Check out the Preliminary Program to learn about this and other sessions and make plans to join us in Ottawa! Early Bird Registration closes Aug 15

    Preliminary Program

    Early Bird Registration



  • 01 Aug 2017 2:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Registration is now open for the 46th annual SWCC conference and annual meeting. Check out the Preliminary Program and make plans to join us in Ottawa! 

    The People behind the Story

    Sept 13 -16, Ottawa


    The Science Writers and Communicators of Canada annual conference takes place in Ottawa from September 13 to 16, 2017.  The theme of this year’s conference is The People behind the StoryThe SWCC 2017 conference will explore the important and changing roles of journalists, communicators, scientists, artists, and knowledge mobilizers and translators, and how we can work effectively together to promote scientific literacy and demonstrate the value of science. The Science Writers and Communicators of Canada - formerly the Canadian Science Writers Association - has a renewed mandate to embrace all professionals with a passion for communicating science. Come join us in Ottawa to learn more! 

    Preliminary Program

    Early Bird Registration



  • 26 May 2017 9:59 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Meredith Hanel

    Learning and play are two sides of the same coin for kids who get a classroom visit from Let’s Talk Science (LTS), a free of charge, national science outreach program. Besides fun, undergraduate and graduate students, who volunteer with LTS, want kids to take away new knowledge and a love for science. LTS volunteers take away their own benefits from the experience too. For example, being routinely bombarded by kid questions teaches them to think about and explain science more clearly, something that helps them in their own science careers.

    Science Odyssey is a 10 day Canada wide celebration of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) established by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) to foster a strong science culture. For Science Odyssey 2017, Science Writers and Communicators of Canada (SWCC) connected me with the McMaster University LTS team and I joined them in bringing some of their hands-on/minds-on workshops to young students. Here I’ll give you the highlights of what we did and some of the things LTS volunteers told me they like about working with children and youth.

    For grade ones and twos at Beverley Central School in Troy Ontario, we made science relevant to their world at the playground by discussing how familiar playground equipment like slides, teeter-totters and roundabouts are simple machines that can move them and their friends up and down and around. Then they got to build their own miniature playground equipment.

    Kids love animals and we had no trouble getting them to explore and discuss animal adaptations in the arctic. They got to try on a lard-filled mitt and dip their hand in cold water to feel how blubber keeps animals warm. 

    For the grade 2/3 lesson on friction we had fun imagining being in a room with no friction whatsoever which the students concluded would be fun but dangerous! Students got to measure the ability of an object to slide along various types of surfaces. Kids LOVE being asked what they think will happen and the freedom in doing experiments to see for themselves what will happen rather then just being told.

    I especially enjoyed the Dynamic Dinosaurs presentation for Homeschoolers on Campus, because I got to bring my five-year-old son along. Everyone got the idea that digging for dinosaur bones would require patience as they simulated the experience by carefully digging out chocolate chips out of cookies with only a pair of toothpicks. They touched real fossils, made their own take-home fossils and then acted like dinosaurs in a huge dinosaur scene that ended with a dramatic asteroid hit that caused them to die and finally they turned into fossils themselves.

    LTS Volunteer Shawn Hercules who is a Ph.D. student in the Biology Department at McMaster told me he loves talking to kids about dinosaurs. “I hope the children leave inspired to love science as much as I do. I want them to have fun while learning science as well”, says Hercules.

    Both LTS presenters Shawn Hercules and Sawayra Owais, an M.Sc. student in neuroscience told me they get satisfaction from imparting science knowledge to young students. Sawayra says it feels great to be able to guide students through new topics. “It's really that idea and hope that kids will be excited about learning something new, and then want to share that knowledge with others, is what gets my gears going”, says Owais. One of the things that really makes her smile is when “students, often those of a younger age, ask you such extraordinary questions that you often wonder if you should be running your thesis experiment, or them”.

    Shawn thinks that having children ask him questions he hasn’t thought about before makes him a more critical thinker. He adds that “Volunteering with LTS increases my ability to communicate really huge concepts into really small, digestible bits and pieces for various age levels.”

    I see science culture in Canada growing both from the kids who experience LTS workshops, viewing science as approachable and fun, and from the University science students who volunteer with LTS.  They will form a generation of STEM professionals, more willing and able to communicate with society.

    There is a curious kid inside every scientist or science student and a scientist inside every kid who explores his or her world through play. When organizations like LTS and events like Science Odyssey bring these two groups together, it benefits us all.

    Meredith is a science writer who once enjoyed life in the lab as a biomedical researcher. She blogs at BiologyBizarre and tweets @MeredithHanel

  • 09 May 2017 9:10 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Science Writers and Communicators of Canada is pleased to announce the winners of this year's awards for books published in 2016.

    In the youth category the winner is:

    Faster Higher Smarter by Simon Shapiro

    It takes a lot of talent, skill, and hard work to become a world-class athlete. But it takes even more to make a sport better: it takes smarts! And whether innovators are aware of it or not, it takes an understanding of physics, mechanics, and aerodynamics to come up with better techniques and equipment. From swimming, soccer, and basketball to skateboarding and wheelchair sports, Faster Higher Smarter looks at the hard science behind many inventions and improvements in sports. 

    In the general audience category the winner is:

    The Killer Whale Who Changed The World by Mark Leiren-Young

    Killer whales had always been seen as bloodthirsty sea monsters. That all changed when a young killer whale was captured off the west coast of North America and displayed to the public in 1964. Moby Doll — as the whale became known — was an instant celebrity, drawing 20,000 visitors on the one and only day he was exhibited. He died within a few months, but his famous gentleness sparked a worldwide crusade that transformed how people understood and appreciated orcas. Because of Moby Doll, we stopped fearing “killers” and grew to love and respect “orcas.”

    'The Killer Whale Who Changed the World'  is a riveting and uniquely Canadian science story  about how the first observations of a captive orca transformed the understanding of this species and inspired an international conservation effort.  It unfolds through lively narrative filled with suspense, clarity and humour to reveal the pivotal role played by a group of Canadian scientists, businessmen and the founding director of the Vancouver Aquarium.  The author, science journalist Mark Leiren-Young, chased the story for almost 20 years.  We unanimously wish to honour his effort and persistence in chasing and investigating this story, as well as underlying the originality and ongoing relevance of the story.  'The Killer Whale Who Changed the World’ is a must read by all who care about nature, species conservation, and animal welfare, and an eloquent example of excellent science journalism.

    Science Writers and Communicators of Canada offer two annual book awards to honour outstanding contributions to science writing 1) intended for and available to children/middle grades ages 8-12 years, and 2) intended for and available to the general public. Books are judged on literary excellence and scientific content and accuracy. In addition the two book juries look for initiative, originality, clarity of interpretation, relevance and value in promoting greater understanding of science by the general reader. The independent juries are composed of writers, scientists and members of the intended audience. Winners receive a certificate and cash prize of $1,000. The prizes will be presented at the SWCC annual conference in Ottawa, Sept 13-16.

  • 19 Apr 2017 9:44 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    CSWA, University of Calgary & Loose Moose Theatre

    by Jennifer Bon Bernard

    I recently had the privilege of participating in an improvisation course called: Act Your Science.  The aim of the course was to provide the foundational skills for improvisation, which in turn would improve our public speaking and science communication skills. However, it turned out to be so much more!

    Dennis Cahill, the Artictic Director at Loose Moose Theatre, directed each 2 hr. session, which ran for five weeks. Dennis’s directorship was always filled with compassion, clarity and patience.  He shared his extensive improvisation knowledge and experience in such a fun manner we were excited to engage in a learning process that always resulted in full-fledged laugher!

    The following core principles of improv were taught and repeated in each session. As you will see, the fundamental principles of improv can be applied to any relational interaction that one engages in, not just when performing on stage.

    Be Present

    The importance of being present in the moment was a central theme throughout this course.  It is critical that improv participants enter into interactions with pristine active listening, as nothing is rehearsed before the interaction occurs. The interactions that had the greatest impact and resulted in the most laughter occurred during the most authentic moments of exchange.

    “Don’t think. Get Out of Your Head. Stop Planning and Just Go”

    -Amy Poehler-

    Take Chances

    Dennis encouraged participants to say ‘YES’ when called to participate on ‘stage’.  By the end of the five sessions, it seemed that everyone was jumping up to participate! I have to admit that I had to restrain myself to saying YES to allow others the opportunity to say YES!  Dennis made sure to repeat that when we take chances, our learning is expanded.

    “Just say Yes and You’ll Figure it Out Afterwards.”

    -Tina Fey-

    Make Mistakes

    Dennis was commonly heard saying “mistakes are good” and “don’t be afraid to make them!”  We were always encouraged to be okay with making a mistake and to respond in a light-hearted manner when they occur with laughter and ease.  Dennis wanted us to always remember that the audience is on our side and want nothing more than for us to succeed!

    “If You Stumble Make It Part of the Dance”

    The goal of this course was more then achieved! I feel confident in suggesting that all of the participants will be more present, take chances more often and be okay with making mistakes in future speaking opportunities. For myself, this introduction to improv has transformed into ensuring that I make it a life long hobby that I will regularly participate in.  It the meantime, until we connect again, I will end by saying:

    “It is Always Sad When a Good Show Comes to an End!”

    Jennifer Bon Bernard:

    Jennifer Bon Bernard is a graduate student at University of Calgary in the department of Community Health Sciences. She always enjoys having fun    and exploring her artistic soul whenever the opportunity arises. Improv has brought so much laughter and happiness to her life that she will continue to make this apart of her creative journey forever! Jennifer highly recommends that if you ever the opportunity to enroll in an improv class that you say “YES!”

    Act Your Science is the result of a collaboration between the University of Calgary, the Canadian Science Writers Association and Loose Moose Theatre.  Act Your Science is scheduled to take place again at the University of Calgary in early summer 2017. Fifteen spaces are available for the five two hour sessions. CSWA members as well as University of Calgary science graduate students are invited to participate at no cost. Yes there will be additional field trips to Loose Moose Theater and a few pub nights because the fun just doesn't want to stop once you learn to listen, take chances and laugh together without the fear of making a mistake.

Upcoming Events

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#SWCCan2020 - Postponed

Ottawa, ON

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P.O. Box 75 Station A

Toronto, ON

M5W 1A2

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