Courtroom Comms: Testifying about Forensic Science with Communication Best Practices Workshop
Sunday September 17th, 2023 // 8:30 am - 5:00 pm // Hyatt Regency at the Colorado Convention Center, Granite AB
Workshop currently at capacity. A waitlist is available to join on our registration page.
Communicating forensic science is an essential aspect of the criminal justice process. Challenges for practitioners include the interrogative structure, varied audiences, specialized language and adversarial narratives. This workshop addresses those challenges using research-driven communication principles to help scientists convey complexity while preserving accuracy. The Alda Method is a unique communication training technique blending improvisational theater with audience-focused design strategies. Driven by the adaptability and active listening central to improvisation and the empathy and connection prescribed by social science research, the Alda Method helps scientists effectively engage with non-expert audiences. Participants should expect active involvement and iterative moot testimony practice.
- Participants will learn to recognize structural challenges to clear and vivid communication and develop strategies to address them.
- Participants will use specific skills like analogy building, active listening, language adjustment, and engaging with challenging questions.
- Participants will practice reframing scientific conversations and communication goals around the audience (jury) experience.
No required prerequisite knowledge. Intended audience is testifying forensic scientists. Although communication principles are also helpful for those scientists involved in investigations and teaching.
8:00 – 8:30AM
Breakfast available/Facilitators set-up
8:30 – 8:45AM
Welcome, Check in
8:45 – 9:25AM
Video Testimony Exercise #1
9:25 – 10:15AM
Welcome, Introduction, Name Exercise
10:15 – 10:45
Improv Immersion Part 1 (Listening and Mindset)
10:45 – 11:00
11:00 – 11:40AM
Improv Immersion Part 1 (Challenging Questions)
11:40AM – 12:15PM
Improv Immersion Part 1 (Frame of Reference Role Play)
12:15 – 1:15PM
1:15 – 1:40PM
Improv Immersion Part 2 (Language Recognition)
2:15 – 2:30PM
2:30 – 4:15PM
Improv Moot Courtroom
4:15 – 4:45PM
Video Testimony Exercise #2
4:45 – 5:00PM
Private: Julia BurrillCo-Chair
Postdoctoral Associate in Forensic Science Communication, Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, Stony Brook University
Julie Burrill brings a strong academic and applied background in forensic science and years of experience in DNA labs and in translating complex forensic concepts into a legal context. She co-developed this workshop to integrate the Alda Method and related improvisation theater techniques into training curricula tailored to testifying forensic scientists.Submit Questions
Private: Joshua RiceCo-Chair
Lecturer, Alda-Certified Facilitator, Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, Stony Brook University
Josh Rice has over two decades of experience as an improviser, theater practitioner, and teacher. He co-developed this workshop to integrate the Alda Method and related improvisation theater techniques into training curricula tailored to testifying forensic scientists.Submit Questions