This list of events, which are in date order (more or less), comes courtesy of the UK’s Sense about Science organization. Self-described as “… an independent charity that promotes the public interest in sound science and evidence,” their November 13, 2023 announcement (received via email) offers a good range of events focused on science, evidence, and understanding the science you’re getting.
Greenwich (England) and Glasgow (Scotland) Skeptics pub talks
Here’s more from the Sense about Science November 13, 2023 announcement,
Greenwich and Glasgow Skeptics pub talks
Want to engage with us about the importance of evidence? We have two public talks coming up, which can be a great opportunity to learn more about our work, meet some of our team and explore how everyone can use evidence as a tool to improve our lives.
We’ll be at Davy’s Wine Vaults in Greenwich at 7pm tomorrow [Tuesday, November 14, 2023] and Admiral Woods Bar in Glasgow on Tuesday 21 November 2023.
Welcome to Greenwich Skeptics in the Pub!
Greenwich SitP is currently the only branch of SitP in South East London. The idea is simple: Once a month, we all meet up in a pub to hear a guest speaker and enjoy a drink or three
Our chosen pub is the Davy’s Wine Vaults (161 Greenwich High Road, SE10 8JA) and usually we meet on the second Tuesday of every month. Talks will begin at 7:30pm. Although the talks are free and open to all, we would appreciate a small contribution towards covering speakers’ expenses (suggested donation: £3).
Our Next Talk
The Power of Asking for Evidence
Munkhbayar Elkins & Tushita Bagga
Sense about Science
14 November 2023 Tuesday 19:30
In a time of misinformation, purchasable blue ticks, and spurious claims to be ‘following the science’, how do we ask the right questions of information we find from social media, companies, and politicians? 66% of people think it’s important the government shows the public all the evidence used to make policy decisions. And yet, the sources of data used in policy making become more complex, modelling and big data being two key examples. But you don’t need to be an expert to ask the right questions. This talk will cover how to ask about the data behind the issues that matter to you, be that climate change or local healthcare policies. With examples of how people asking for evidence have made a real difference, we’ll show you how you can too, and why this is more important than ever in the lead up to a general election next year.
Munkhbayar is senior research and policy officer at Sense about Science, with a BA in International Relations and an MSc in Security Studies. He works closely with decision-makers, world-leading researchers and community groups to raise the standard of evidence in public life. He wants to promote transparency of evidence standard across government to ensure accountability and to equip society with the right skills to scrutinise 21st century decision-making.
Tushita serves as a Policy and Campaigns Officer at Sense about Science, where she works on the upcoming Transparency of Evidence Standard campaign and is responsible for co-ordinating the annual Evidence Week event at UK Parliament. She recently completed her master’s degree in social policy research at the London School of Economics. Her previous work has focused on the role of ethics in academics interacting with marginalised communities and in news media representations of public health approaches to addressing the opioid epidemic. Tush is passionate about the accessible dissemination of social science research to the public and is driven to enable the masses to critically analyse complex policy concepts.
NB: This talk replaces the one which was originally advertised.
A week later on Tuesday, November 21, 2023, this same talk will be given by a different speaker in a Glasgow (Scotland) pub,
The power of asking for evidence – Annie Howitt (Sense About Science)
November 21  @ 8:15 pm – 10:00 pm
In a time of misinformation, purchasable blue ticks, and spurious claims to be ‘following the science’, how do we ask the right questions of information we find from social media, companies, and politicians? 61% of people think it’s important the government shows the public all the evidence used to make policy decisions. And yet, the sources of data used in policy making become more complex, modelling and big data being two key examples. But you don’t need to be an expert to ask the right questions. This talk will cover how to ask about the data behind the issues that matter to you, be that climate change or local healthcare policies. With examples of how people asking for evidence have made a real difference, we’ll show you how you can too.
About the speaker: Annie is the Communities officer at the charity Sense about Science. During her PhD researching pancreatic cancer, she realised that so much of our understanding of cancer biology and treatments is inaccessible to the people it affects the most. That’s how she found Sense about Science, which works with researchers to equip the public, policymakers and media with good questions and insights into evidence, particularly on difficult issues. Recently, Sense about Science has published What Counts? (a scoping inquiry into how well the government’s evidence for covid-19 decisions served society), guides to understanding data science and AI. It also runs Evidence Week in Parliament at Westminster and in Holyrood, bringing together policy makers, researchers and the public, and, in partnership with the journal Nature, the John Maddox Prize for courageously advancing public discourse with sound science.
This is event is free to attend, although we will be asking for donations at the end of the talk. Participants are under no obligation whatsoever to donate, however please rest assured that the money we collect doesn’t end up in anyone’s pocket – it is used to fund our overhead costs, and travel/accommodation for our speakers who come from further afield.
Accessibility: The Admiral Woods Bar now has a functioning lift which can take wheelchair users (or others who are unable to manage stairs) down to the function room. There is also a disabled toilet in the function room too. To help us accommodate you if you require to use these facilities we recommend you email us in advance: email@example.com
The Admiral Woods Bar 29 Waterloo Street
Glasgow, G2 6BZ United Kingdom + Google Map
UNESCO (Global) Media (and) Information Literacy Week 2023: a webinar on Thursday, November 16, 2023
According to their November 13, 2023 announcement, Sense about Science will be chairing a panel discussion,
UNESCO [Global] Media [and] Information Literacy week webinar
Join us online as we chair a live panel discussion on what infrastructure is needed for people to access sound evidence, find trustworthy sources, and engage in informed debate.
What societal infrastructure is needed for information literate citizens to thrive? is hosted by the International Federation of Library Association and Institutions (IFLA) to mark UNESCO [Global] Media [and] Information Literacy Week at 2pm GMT Thursday 16 November 2023 – register for free to participate in discussions.
There are more details on the International Federation of Library Association and Institutions (IFLA) event page,
Schedule (Time Zone: New York)
- 9:00 – 9:10: Welcome
- 9:10 – 9:15: Introduction
- 9:15 – 10:00: Live Panel Discussion
- 10:00 – 10:30: Live Q&A
Note: Presumably these are morning hours, i.e., 9 a.m ET.
- Host: Ning Zou, Chair, Information Literacy Section, IFLA|Associate Director for Student Academic Services and Learning Design at Harvard University Graduate School of Education
- Panel Chair: David Schley, Deputy Director, Sense about Science
- Angeline Djampou, Head, Knowledge and Publications Management Unit, UN Environment Programme
- TBC Deborah Jacobs, Stichting IFLA Global Libraries (SIGL) Board of Directors
- Stephen Wyber, Director of Policy and Advocacy, IFLA
Theme and Focus
When the introduction of disposable beverage containers increased litter in the US, the response of producers was to launch a keep America beautiful campaign that placed the blame on consumers – the end users. In many countries it has taken over half a century for regulators to step in and deal with the problem of waste by, for example, prohibiting the use of free plastic bags or by making retailers take back unwanted packaging. But we still largely blame consumers for waste, despite them having little choice in practice about how goods are packaged.
Are we at risk of doing the same for consumers of information, overwhelmed by the volume of material available but not in control over what content is presented to them– by blaming poor information literacy for the spread of false information and misunderstanding?
While empowering citizens with information literacy is unquestionably good, is it enough? Or are we setting people up to fail in an attention economy where information providers surface content that maximised engagement, with no interest in whether it is accurate or useful? Is it fair to blame someone for naïvely sharing bad information when they are only fed corroborating material, or should we challenge the absence of regulation and oversight of how information is curated by social media platforms and search engines?
What infrastructure is needed for people to access sound evidence, find trustworthy sources, and genuinely engage in informed societal debate?
Join the IFLA Information Literacy Section and the School Library Section co-sponsored Global MIL Webinar and have a rich conversation with the invited panelists.
Registration is required and free.
Royal Statistical Society (RSS) workshop on developing accessible health statistics on Monday, November 20, 2023
This is the last event noted in the November 13, 2023 Sense about Science announcement,
Royal Statistical Society workshop on developing accessible health statistics
On Monday 20 November 2023, our Deputy-director David Schley will be part of a panel discussing how organisations producing health statistics across the UK can ensure their data is accessible and meaningful to the public.
This is a hybrid event at the Royal Statistical Society, run by the Official Statistics section but open to the public for a fee.
I have more details from the RSS’s event page,
Official Statistics and Health: Developing coherent and accessible health statistics: a UK perspective (Online)
Date: Monday 20 November 2023, 1.00PM – 5.30PM [GMT?]
Concessionary RSS Fellow £10
RSS CStat/GradStat £12.50
RSS Fellow £15
During this afternoon of discussion, we will be exploring with our panels the approaches and challenges faced by organisations producing health related statistics across the UK to ensure the numbers and messages produced are accessible and meaningful to the public and other users.
In the first session (1-3pm), the panel will cover work across government departments and organisations to create a coherent system to produce comparable statistics across the four nations of the UK. They will touch upon the importance of presenting a coherent picture across the UK, at national and subnational levels, the data challenges, including how the definitions used can change the meaning of the statistics produced and how the public understand them. We will hear the experiences from people working in that area to improve the coherence of our statistical system to those that used these statistics to inform policy.
Our panel will include the head of the Office for Statistics Regulation Ed Humpherson, Lucy Vickers, Deputy Director – Statistics & Data Science at the Department for Health and Social Care, Julie Stanborough, Deputy Director for Health and Social Care Analysis at the Office for National Statistics with colleagues Michelle Waters and Heidi Wilson who work together with colleagues across the four nations on improving the UK-wide coherence on health statistics. They will be joined by William Perks (Head of health, social services and population statistics, Welsh Government), and colleagues from Scotland and Northern Ireland. We are also looking to bring into the discussion the perspectives from local authorities around the challenges of low-granularity meaningful statistics.
After a break, the second session (3.30-5.30pm) will discuss how we communicate statistics to users in a sensitive and accessible manners. The language of statistics, especially in the health context can be extremely technical and emotionally charged with words such as ‘risks’, ‘hazards’ and ‘uncertainty’. Those terms have a very specific meaning for a statistician which differs from the one the general public gives to these words. In this session, our panellists will share their experience in communicating sometimes complex concepts to a wide audience, balancing transparent and accurate reporting with accessibility. They will share what they have tried, what worked and what did not and ideas to communicate clearly in that area, in a time where misleading information spreads fast and that mistakes in communication have the potential to damage the trust users have in the organisations producing the statistics.
The second panel will include both statistics producers (ONS engagement hub lead, and Lucy Vickers from DHSC, William Perks from Welsh Government) and the head of the Office for Statistics Regulation Ed Humpherson, individuals that champions promoting public understanding of statistics (David Schley from Sense about Science, Rhian Davies a RSS Statistics Ambassador), and charity and users groups.
Thank you to the librarians for this:
When the introduction of disposable beverage containers increased litter in the US, the response of producers was to launch a keep America beautiful campaign that placed the blame on consumers [emphasis mine] – the end users. In many countries it has taken over half a century for regulators to step in and deal with the problem of waste by, for example, prohibiting the use of free plastic bags or by making retailers take back unwanted packaging. But we still largely blame consumers for waste, despite them having little choice in practice about how goods are packaged. [[emphases mine]
Are we at risk of doing the same for consumers of information, overwhelmed by the volume of material available but not in control over what content is presented to them– by blaming poor information literacy for the spread of false information and misunderstanding? …
Hopefully, there’s something to your taste in this range of upcoming events.