Photo from front row left to right: Heungjin Ryu, Ikuma Adachi, Yuko Hattori, Hikaru Wakamori, Takakazu Yumoto (current Director), Tetsuro Matsuzawa (Founding Director), David Hill, Cintia Garai, Fred Bercovitch, Andrew MacIntosh, Susumu Tomiya. Photo Credit: Miho Nakamura, Kyoto University
Photo from left to right: David Hajime Kornhauser, Ayumi Koso, Amanda Alvarez, Raymond Kunikane Terhune, Kei Kano. Photo credit: PWS, Kyoto University.
One of the major aims of CICASP has always been to help young scholars communicate their science to a diverse set of audiences. From peers to colleagues and potential collaborators, to the general public and the media, there are all sorts of potential audiences out there waiting to hear about what we all do. The trick is always to communicate our ideas in ways that make sense to each of them. This is the impetus behind our weekly science communication workshops, but at the symposium we thought we'd bring in some bigger guns, inviting science communications experts from across Japan to participate in a SciComm Panel.
The panel included a pair from Kyoto University's own Office of Global Communnications, its director David Hajime Kornhauser and officer Raymond Kunikane Terhune, as well as three other invited guests from around Japan.
We had Associate Professor of Education at Shiga University, Kei Kano, who shared his ideas on communicating STEM to the general public and generating educational materials for that purpose, mainly with a focus on children.
We also had Science communicator for Riken Amanda Alvarez, who is a prolific promoter of science and the brain behind Tokyo's installment of the global sci com phenomenon 'Nerd Nite'!
Rounding out our panel was Ayumi Koso, project assistant professor at the National Institutes for the Humanities, who researches how science and research communication works in Japan with regards to media and public relations. Together with Amanda, Ayumi also organizes the Japan SciCom Forum, an annual event aimed at fostering science communication within Japan and between Japan and the world.
In addition to learning about the respective roles of all of our panelists, the audience was also given the opportunity to engage with the panel through Q&A and discussion about the various roadblocks they have encountered in their own efforts to share their work afar.
Photo credit: PWS, Kyoto University
The other major event organized by CICASP at the symposium was a direct celebration of its 10-year history. We wanted to show synergy between our own efforts and the major aims of the PWS program, which are to produce not only academics but individuals who will act as stewards of the planet through their efforts in conservation, curation, education and activism. So, we invited 5 former CICASP members, past students, past faculty and even a past teaching assistant, to speak about how they are now contributing to research and education from positions beyond the ivory tower.
Photo credit: PWS, Kyoto University
Cintia Garai is a PhD-holding conservationist and wildlife filmmaker working based in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Cintia is Vice President and Co-Founder of the group Wildlife Messengers, who are dedicated to carrying messages from practitioners to different audiences to inform and activate. She also works at Lola ya Bonobo, a sanctuary near Kinshasa dedicated to rehabilitating orphaned and rescued bonobos, which is unfortunately an ongoing issue. Cintia shared with us her passion for filmmaking and wildlife conservation, no doubt inspiring many in the audience to pick up the torch and march into action.
Heungjin Ryu, although now back with us at the Primate Research Institute, spoke about his time at the National Institute of Ecology in South Korea. He talked about transitioning from pure research into a government institution with strict mandates about what needs to get accomplished through research to support national interests, specifically those related to wildlife conservation and management.
Hikaru Wakamori is a curator at Tama Zoological Park, where she moved after completing her doctoral degree at our institute in the Department of Evolution and Phylogeny. We learned about what her zoo is doing to educate zoo visitors, with a focus on programs developed for children and school groups. Since one of the major aims of any modern zoo is to educate its visitors and incite in them a passion for nature and conservation, and zoos are also typically the only access most of us have to 'wild animals' in our ultra-urbanized existence, these programs are a critical component of modern society.
Lastly, former CICASP professors Fred Bercovitch and David Hill spoke about their roles in giraffe conservation and ecological consultancy, respectively. After retiring from Kyoto University and CICASP in 2017, Fred has invested heavily into his non-profit Save the Giraffes. David has been doing what David does best, catching bats, for ecological consultancy firms in the UK, where the focus is surveying regions slated for development for the presence of protected bat species.
What was wonderful about this session and this symposium in general, is that it brought together a diverse group of people who were able to share their ideas and experiences to the empowerment of all in attendence. We hope that 10 years serves as a launching off point for decades of internationalization through CICASP at Kyoto University and beyond.