I Am Ocean: Redefining Narrative Ownership in Science Communication

I Am Ocean: Redefining Narrative Ownership in Science Communication

Author: Gianna Savoie – University of Otago. New Zealand

Never before have we had such broad access to information about the ocean, yet as our seas slip into a state of crisis, the public’s grasp of the issues is far from firm. The ocean we “know” represents many things to many people; for some, it is a realm to be feared, for others, it is a resource to be exploited, and yet for others, it’s a home to protect. Drawing on my two-decade tenure as a producer for major science and natural history broadcasters, this insight talk asserts that viewers have been on the receiving end of ocean science narratives “owned” and dictated by select voices which has rendered an incomplete picture. Because of this, there remains a disconnect with the sea that troubles the public’s understanding of the issues affecting it.

In today’s rapidly expanding media landscape, we now have the opportunity – and duty — to communicate the story of the ocean in innovative and inclusive ways. Here I present my effort in creating a platform for the elevation of diverse, indigenous and otherwise underrepresented voices through the establishment of the non-profit organization, the Ocean Media Institute (OMI) which serves to expand the public’s understanding of ocean science through the collaborative creation and open distribution of innovative online media.

Drawing on all themes of Time, Technology and Transformation, I will highlight my participatory trans-media initiative, I Am Ocean which appraises the health of various ocean regions through intimate stories of those we rarely hear from, but are intimately tied to each ebb and flow. Only when we as communicators disrupt the notion of “narrative ownership” and turn instead to a shared narrative that embraces local and indigenous perspectives, will we be able to decolonialize science, deepen our understanding and relationship with the sea and invest in its protection.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Insight talk
Theme: Transformation