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Anthros on the Public Stage
Interactive Workshop for Public Speaking & Writing
Are you an anthropologist eager to share your research experiences and insights to make a difference in the world? Have you ever wondered how to tell a compelling story that can help people understand each other better and resolve their differences? Would you like to learn some strategies for communicating persuasively with print/digital media? Or might you be interested in coaching peers, students, or groups you work with to relate their experiences? If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, this course is for you!
This course has two overarching goals: 1) Take the guesswork out of speaking to and writing for general audiences, and 2) Equip you with the tools and strategies for successful public engagement. To accomplish these goals, we will build on four modules from the anthrocurious.com production of Anthropologists on the Public Stage (2022):
- Develop an Idea Worth Sharing
- Connect with the Media
- Tell a Great Story
- Promote Yourself and Anthropology
Four two-hour sessions represent the foundation for the course, with assignments in between. At the start of each session, we introduce relevant video and solicit your reactions to it. Then we springboard to exploring an idea you would like to share publicly, using tips presented in the video. In at least two sessions, we will be uploading one or more documents (e.g., working papers, articles, reflections) to an AI platform and will suggest some ways to query it. Then, it will be your chance to become creative as you see your initial idea in relation to the AI-generated text. You will work to extend your idea in new directions with strategies for developing your plan for media and public engagement. Opportunities will be available to get guidance from communication experts during the course.
Deliverables: By participating in this course, you will come away with a media and public engagement plan, which includes storytelling techniques and tools to move from idea to audience-ready, media outreach tactics, and promotional strategy.
Marketing: You’ve always believed you were a reasonably strong presenter at academic conferences or as a professor in the classroom. Members of the team that produced Anthropologists on the Public Stage are offering a course to help you take it to the next level! Participants will work to develop their own ideas and insights that can be shared publicly with different audiences, whether orally or in writing. Come work with us to develop your own media and public engagement plan!
Instructors: Adam Gamwell, Phil Surles, and Elizabeth K. Briody
Course Dates: Friday, October 6, 13, 20, and 27 from Noon – 2:00 p.m. Eastern
- AAA members $75
- Non-members $150
Learn to identify your unique insights, define your target audience, and begin developing effective communication strategies.
- Define their unique insights and offerings as anthropologists.
- Identify their target audience for communicating anthropological insights.
- Develop effective communication strategies to resonate with their audience.
- Learn how to leverage generative AI tools to assist in ideation.
Reflection and Idea Generation:
- Participants will engage in reflective exercises to identify their unique insights and offerings as anthropologists. They will explore their research interests, experiences, and areas of expertise to define the ideas they wish to share with the public.
- Using the mnemonic "CARL" (Content, Audience, Rationale, Logistics), participants will refine their ideas and develop a cohesive understanding of their message.
In this module, we will explore the importance of starting local, building relationships with media professionals, and crafting effective pitches. By the end of this module, you will be able to develop your own pitch and effectively communicate your anthropological insights to the media and the public.
- Understand the significance of starting with local media outlets when sharing anthropological knowledge.
- Learn strategies to build relationships with media professionals early in your career.
- Develop the skills to write a compelling pitch to engage with media professionals and journalists.
Lesson 1: Starting Local
- Discussion: Identifying important stories in your local community and understanding local media coverage.
- Group Activity: Researching local media outlets and their submission guidelines.
Lesson 2: Building Relationships with Media Professionals
- Group Activity: Networking within local networks and utilizing resources like Help A Reporter Out (HARO).
- Role-play: Simulating conversations with journalists to practice pitching ideas effectively.
Lesson 3: Crafting a Compelling Pitch
- Individual Activity: Writing and refining a pitch for an anthropological story or idea.
- Peer Feedback: Providing constructive feedback on pitch writing exercises.
Delve into the importance of storytelling for anthropologists seeking to have a meaningful impact outside of academia. We will explore the similarities between anthropology and journalism in terms of storytelling and learn from experts who have successfully bridged the gap between academia and the public sphere. Through engaging activities and discussions, you will develop the skills needed to craft compelling narratives that captivate and educate diverse audiences.
Activity 1: Understanding Your Audience
- Analyze the importance of audience understanding in effective storytelling.
- Engage in a group activity where learners share their research stories with each other, considering the needs and interests of different audiences.
Activity 2: Crafting a Compelling Narrative
- Learn the key elements of a compelling narrative, including characters, setting, and conflict.
- Engage in a guided exercise to construct a narrative arc for their own research story, focusing on building tension and creating audience engagement.
- Use generative AI tools to assist in ideation and writing.
Module 6 focuses on two key questions: 1) What can anthropologists learn from other disciplines to improve their ability to share what they know? and 2) How can the principles and techniques found outside of Anthropology help shape the stature of individual anthropologists? The module explores concepts from public relations, marketing, and science communication, as well as strategies employed by anthropologists in presenting their work.
By the end of this module, participants will be able to:
- Understand the role of public relations, marketing, and science communication in promoting anthropology.
- Apply principles from other disciplines to enhance their own anthropological communication.
- Develop strategic plans to effectively share anthropological knowledge and engage with audiences.
Activity 1: Exploring Public Relations, Marketing, and Science Communication (Group Discussion)
- Participants will engage in a group discussion to explore the role and significance of public relations, marketing, and science communication.
- They will identify key principles and techniques from these disciplines that could be applied to anthropology.
Activity 2: Analyzing Effective Anthropological Communication (Case Study Analysis)
- Participants will analyze case studies of successful anthropological communication, considering the strategies, target audience, and desired outcomes.
- They will identify effective communication techniques and discuss how these could be adapted to their own work.
Activity 3: Developing a Strategic Communication Plan (Individual Exercise)
- Participants will develop a strategic communication plan for promoting an anthropological concept or project of their choice.
- They will consider the goals, target audience, messaging, and channels for dissemination.
- They will also explore potential challenges and develop strategies to overcome them.
Designed for international scholars, junior faculty, postdocs, and advanced graduate students conducting qualitative or mixed-methods research in anthropology and related fields, this month-long mini-course provides guidelines on revising and submitting articles for peer review. Through interactive feedback exercises and detailed supplementary materials, participants learn to structure their manuscripts for balance, logic, coherence, and flow; prepare clean manuscripts for timely (re)submission; respond to peer reviewers’ comments effectively in their revisions and cover letters to editors; and adapt their work to the current publishing environment. Before the course begins, participants should select a draft of an article that they plan to (re)submit to a journal; they will share parts of the draft with a partner during the workshop exercises.
The course instructor is Dr. Jaida Samudra, a medical anthropologist with over two decades’ experience editing journal articles and scholarly books in the social sciences.