The Spock and Kirk of Science Communication

Ms Tanya Ha

Director of Engagement, Science in Public
Associate, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute

Why does Australia know more about nutrition and exercise science than ever before, but our obesity rates are climbing? Why do people take cancer advice from wellness bloggers? Why don’t information campaigns work?

Tanya Ha delves into the human mind, social research, physiology and Star Trek to explore how people process information and act upon what they see, hear and read. She shows why the ‘information deficit model of behaviour change’ and simplistic awareness campaigns don’t work.

This event will pull apart examples of science communication aimed at changing behaviour, finding what worked, what didn’t, and what had unintended consequences, covering topics such as vaccination and climate change.

Tanya will outline the importance of making science accessible, telling stories, appealing to emotions while respecting facts—in short, finding the best balance of head and heart in science communication.

About the speaker

Tanya Ha is an award-winning science journalist, best-selling author and environmental campaigner. She is a media commentator on science and environmental topics, and a behaviour change consultant.

Tanya’s work focuses on linking science with broader society. She is currently Director of Engagement at Science in Public and an Associate of the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute. She manages publicity for National Science Week, communication for the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia, and media programs for scientific conferences.

Tanya has extensive print, radio and TV media experience, including reporting for ABC’s Catalyst, and presenting SBS’s Eco House Challenge. She won a UN environmental reporting award for her work on the climate change documentary/lifestyle show Warm TV. She is a highly-regarded speaker, and has hosted major public events at the World Science Festival Brisbane, Victoria’s Parliament House and Adelaide’s World Environment Fair.

Tanya is on the advisory groups of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science, the Thrive Research Hub, and the Science Gallery Melbourne. She has also served on the boards of Sustainability Victoria and Keep Australia Beautiful.

Tanya was one of the thousand ‘best and brightest’ selected as delegates for the Australia 2020 Summit. She has also taught and tutored human behaviour and environment (environmental psychology) at the University of Melbourne.

Tanya’s books include Greeniology and Green Stuff for Kids. She is a passionate advocate for sustainability, scientific literacy and gender equity.