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Date of Publish: 2017-10-16

Reverberation- fortnight-long science communication festival takes off in Assam


A fortnight long muti-venue sceince communication festival- “Reverberation: We are science communicators” an initiative by NEZINE to popularise science communication began in Assam's capital city Guwahati on October 14 with two-day long multifarious programmes including skill development workshops, lecture session, talk and Round Table at Gauhati University.

Speaking on “Science of Sound and its use in communication”, sound designer Amrit Pritam Dutta said that sound is the most effective form of communication without which an audio-visual media fails to produce the desired effect or excitement among the viewers. A member of the Oscar Governing body, the Mumbai-based sound designer, who hails from Assam, also said that even the most beautifully shot visuals of a film or documentary would be ineffective or would fail to create the desired impact on viewers if the associated sound is not scientifically designed. He was speaking at the Dr Anamika Ray Memorial Lecture Session organised at the P.D. Seminar Hall of Gauhati University on October 14 as part of the festival programmes at the university. Inaugurating the Lecture Session, Director, Assam Science, Technology and Environment Council Dr Arup Kumar Misra underlined the need for promoting science communication and said that the country was not in a position where it should be and regressive elements were still spreading superstious beliefs.

Population activist Dr Ilias Ali who spoke on the theme “Population explosion and the role of media” at the Lecture Session attributed the problems of rising inequality, poverty, terrorism, conflict, climate change to population explosion and said that no intervention aimed at addressing these problems would produce the desired result if countries, more particularly the developing countries like India and underdeveloped countries in the world failed to check population explosion. Dr Ali who currently heads the Emergency Medicine Department, Gauhati Medical College and served as the former State Nodal Officer, No- Scalpel Vasectomy (NSV), Government of Assam shared his experience of working among the downtrodden communities in Char areas, tea garden areas and how he had travelled to most backward regions of the state overcoming communication hurdles as well as social resistance to create awareness on population control and convinced the male members in those areas to undergo NSV for population control.

Veteran journalist and Media Educator Prof V Krishna Ananth in his address at the inaugural session of the skill development workshop underlined the need for building scientific temperament but sounded a word of caution against science communicators turning preachers and spreading the fallacy that science has answer to every single problem.

Dr Ankuran Dutta, Head of the Department of Communication and Journalism in his welcome speeeh said that the Department, which has been celebrating "50 years and media and communication education in northeast," was happy to collaborate with NEZINE in organising the two-day long festival to inculcate scientific temperament and populairse science communications among students and youth in the Golden Jubilee year of the department.

Three parallel skill development workshops- “Basics of Science Photography” by Udayan Borthakur, Head, Wildlife Genetics Division, Aaranyak, “Learning Digital Media Skills” by filmmaker Dip Bhuyan and Dr Bharati Bharali, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication and Journalism, Gauhati University and “Learning Video Making skills” by Prayash Sharma Tamuly, Cinematographer and independent filmmaker were conducted on October 14 in which students from different educational institutions including Gauhati University, Cotton University, Assam School of Journalism D.K. College, Mirza, Handique Girls’ College, Institute of Distance and Open Learning, Digboi College, Boko High School had participated.

On October 15 General Secretary of Assam Science Society Jaideep Baruah and Coordinator, anti-Superstition Campaign of A.S.S. Birabrata Das Choudhury delivered talks on “Science Popularisation and awareness against superstition” which was followed by a programme “In conversation with” Dr Joydev Sarma, Vice Principal Gauhati Medical College and former General Secretary, Ellora Vigyan Mancha on the topic “Disease and Superstition.”

Academics, senior journalists, activists who included, among others, Executive Editor of The Assam Tribune P.J. Baruah, Director, Assam School of Journalism Manorom Gogoi, Dr Daisy Bora Talukdar, professor, Education, KKHOU discussed at length and came up with ideas and suggestions on popularising of science and building scientific temperament and exploring various options including media training institutes taking a lead in this regard at the “Round Table on “Media Education and Science Communication” which was moderated by Dr Chandan Goswami, assistant professor, Department of Communication and Journalism, Gauhati University.

Other highlights of the two-day programmes were a hands-on awareness session on HAM radio by the Amateur Radio Society of Assam, Puzzlothon by Edugenie and exhibition of science communication materials by Aaranyak and a Mime Act directed by Minangka Deka on the theme "Save Nature, Save Life" and staged by Samaloy Group.

The fortnight long festival has been organised in collaboration with the Department of Communication and Journalism, Gauhati University, Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, Tezpur University, the Centre for Studies in Journalism and Mass Communication, Dibrugarh University, Dr Bhupen Hazarika Centre for Mass Communication & Journalism, Cotton University, Department of Mass Communication, North Lakhimpur (Autonomous), Assam School of Journalism and Ellora Vigyan Mancha.

The knowledge partners of NEZINE for the festival are Aaranyak, which works for conservation of biodiversity in Northeast India through research, environmental education, capacity building and advocacy for legal and policy reforms and Edugenie, a Guwahati-based education start up by a team of IIT Guwahati alumni which provides hands-on learning solutions through innovative technology based learning environment.

The festival has been organised with the support of the Assam Skill Development Mission, Oil India Limited and Numaligarh Refinery Limited.




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