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Introducing round 2 of the OWSD Visions film series

February 12, 2022

Seven new short films featuring OWSD Early Career fellows and members highlight their extraordinary science

In the words of OWSD filmmaker Nicole Leghissa, “Every scientist has a story – but not every scientist is a storyteller.” In recent years, OWSD has been gradually reorienting its communications strategy around strong storytelling, focusing especially on supporting women scientists in the developing world to tell their own stories. 

In 2020-2021, OWSD took its first steps in this direction with the launching of the OWSD Visions project. As the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe in early 2020, Nicole Leghissa, like many people, faced the new reality of having to bring her work home—a special challenge for someone whose work relies on traveling, conducting interviews, and getting to know the subjects of her films in order to bring their stories to light. She quickly landed on an innovative solution, though: 

“I started to think about OWSD Visions when the pandemic forced us to re-think the way we work and how we create. I used to travel a lot to developing countries to film scientists’ stories. The idea of transferring my experience to local filmmakers around the world came out naturally and easily.  Social networks make visual stories easy to share, mobile phones make them easy to film. But science storytelling is more complicated. I felt that I could give some guidance on it.”

Working with the OWSD Secretariat, Nicole developed the concept of a training and transfer-of-knowledge programme in audio-visual story-telling, with the goal of empowering OWSD members and local filmmakers to produce and show audio-visual science-stories. In the pilot round of the project, four countries with particularly active OWSD National Chapters were selected for participation: Cameroon; Guatemala; Sri Lanka; and Zimbabwe. The National Chapters then reached out to local filmmakers—or in some cases, took on the project of producing the films themselves—and identified women scientists in their countries with interesting stories to profile. The final videos produced as part of the project were released in April 2021 on OWSD’s YouTube channel.

In 2021, in the second round of the project, Nicole decided to work again with National Chapters, but with a specific focus on OWSD Early Career fellows as protagonists. Six of the seven films produced in this second round feature EC fellows, while one features OWSD member Patricia Castillo-Briceno, Chair of the OWSD Ecuador National Chapter. We are happy to bring you the seven new films here, just released. You will find in these short films the captivating stories of scientists from Benin, Bolivia, the Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Kenya, Nepal, and Senegal, who are engaged in research ranging from using magnetic refrigeration to help preserve food security, to turning citrus fruit waste into sustainable cosmetics. Their stories show how women scientists from the developing world are tackling some of the greatest challenges facing us today, often with limited resources. We hope you enjoy the films, and please leave us any feedback on our YouTube channel by clicking through on the videos!

OWSD Visions: Ecuadorian marine biologist Patricia Castillo-Briceno

OWSD Visions: Bolivian biotechnologist Natalia Montellano-Duran

OWSD Visions: Beninese food scientist Salifou Chakirath Folakè Arikè

OWSD Visions: Congolese physicist Maryse Nkoua Ngavouka

OWSD Visions: Nepalese chemist and biotechnologist Prativa Pandey

OWSD Visions: Kenyan computational physicist Winfred Mulwa

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