Science communication and digital media specialist, co-founder SciBraai
Anina Mumm is a trained biochemist and journalist who likes to experiment with new ways of telling science stores. She wears two hats, working with scientists and journalists to help bridge the gap between science and society.
“I help run SciBraai, a proudly South African non-profit organisation and online platform dedicated to digital science journalism, science communication and outreach,” says Mumm. She also manages a digital science communication agency called ScienceLink, which helps scientists and research organisations communicate their work to various audiences.
Mumm began her journey into science communication as a freelance science writer.
“I will be on an eternal mission to find out, ‘what makes a good story?’. This question drives me professionally, because it underlines effective science communication,” she says. “As a science communicator I work with scientists and journalists on a daily basis. These two groups of people often think they are total opposites, but they are cut from the same cloth. They are both after the truth in the public interest. They both search for facts, so that they can identify problems and solutions. Scientists and journalists are the pillars of a prosperous, democratic, modern and healthy society, and that keeps me motivated to contribute in some small way, to what they do.”
The field of science communication is still relatively new in South Africa, especially in the digital space, and Mumm sees plenty of opportunity for growth. This is partly because within science itself, there is so much more South Africa can do in terms of collaboration, innovation, communication and implementation.
“The wheels are turning, and I’m thrilled to be part of the process, but there is a great need for more science-based policies, a need for a heavier reliance on science to inform decisions about the economy, infrastructure, health, resources, food security and so on. There is also a need for scientists to be trained in multiple disciplines that would compliment their abilities to advise government, innovate, consult, build businesses, manage people, market products, teach, mentor, and do outreach.”
Mumm hopes to establish SciBraai as a household name in South Africa, and in doing so help to bring science and South African scientists into the fabric of our culture.
“SciBraai’s slogan is ‘round-the-fire stories about South African science and scientists’, so our aim is for every South African to talk about science around the braai, just as they would about soccer, rugby, e-tolls or Nkandla.” — Tiana Cline
Twitter: @scibraai Facebook: facebook.com/scibraai Linkedin: za.linkedin.com/in/aninamumm Website: sciencelink.co.za / scibraai.co.za