Guelph Talks Food, Science at Writers’ Conference

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“A double-decGuelph talksker intellectual sandwich”: That’s what will be served up this week to delegates attending this year’s conference of the Canadian Science Writers’ Association (CSWA), to be held for the first time in nearly half a century at the University of Guelph.

As part of the conference, a free public event called “Guelph Talks Food” will be held June 2. It will bring together researchers from all seven U of G colleges to discuss topics including the global food crisis, food prices, food waste, food apps, and bees and pesticides.

The event, co-sponsored by U of G’s Food Institute, will take place from 7-9 p.m. at War Memorial Hall.

Now in its 45th year, the CSWA conference will bring about 120 science communicators, journalists, bloggers, podcasters, scientists and students.

Called “The Science of Life,” the conference will showcase research across campus, especially the range of food and agricultural studies that make Guelph “Canada’s food university.” Delegates will tour campus research facilities and attend discussions on science and professional development (PD).

Referring to that “double-decker” of Guelph agri-food research and PD sessions, CSWA president Stephen Strauss said, “If you are what you eat, then attendees are going to see their sense of humans’ food-creating and -consuming selves hugely expand.”

The conference, which runs June 2-5, will feature numerous U of G researchers discussing everything from food and agriculture and bees, to improvisation and storytelling, to Mars and space science.

“This event will allow us to showcase the best of what Guelph has to offer,” said Malcolm Campbell, vice-president (research). “Collectively, University of Guelph research provides the insights and innovations necessary to promote and sustain the health and well-being of humans to the environment.”

Guelph speakers will include microbiology professor Emma Allen-Vercoe, director of the “Poopy Lab” on campus; psychology professor Mark Fenske, author of the book The Winner’s Brain; and environmental sciences professor Madhur Anand, whose debut poetry collection, A New Index for Predicting Catastrophes, has been shortlisted for the 2016 Trillium Book Awards.

Amosci writersng experts discussing science communication and PD development will be author Mark Winston, whose book Bee Time: Lessons From the Hive won a Governor General’s award in 2015.

Other professional development sessions will discuss writing science for children, data journalism and the longtime SPARK (Students Promoting Awareness of Research Knowledge) program run by U of G’s Office of Research Communications that trains students to write about science.

Tours will take delegates to U of G’s Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, Alma Aquaculture Research Station, Livestock Research Innovation Centre, Ontario Veterinary College Animal Cancer Centre, Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility and Townsend House apiculture lab.

The conference will be presented by the CSWA and U of G and is co-sponsored by various agencies and organizations.

For more information, visit http://sciencewriters.ca/.