May 06, 2013
Ecce1 news
Written by: Freya Ruijs

Last week the European Conference of Chemical Engineering (E.C.C.E.) was held at the World Forum in The Hague,Holland. By invitation of the organization we were there with a force of two JAM visual thinkers.

The first thing I thought when I saw the name of the conference was: “Hey, how clever to name your conference 'ecce!' Since ecce means 'LOOK!' in Latin”. [This coincidently exposes my high school appreciation for Latin and my peculiar connected brain.] This realization got me thinking. I have no idea if this was done on purpose, but Ecce would be a smart name for a conference. This is THE place where everyone is presenting his or her work demanding you to 'LOOK!'.

So I looked and found many interesting things & subjects. Did you know for example that you can use the antibodies of the lama to extract valuable enzymes from goat milk, or that you can encapsulate perfume in your clothes by means of polymers?

I never knew chemistry was such interesting business. What disappointed me though, was that most people seem to trust that you as an audience will get what they are saying just by yourself. I'm not a chemical engineer, but even within the industry you cannot be an expert of everything. So I would expect presenters to put a little more effort into translating their research results into a sharable and approachable story. What most scientists seem to forget is that you need a story that moves people in order to capture their attention. Simple & relatable things move the general public. Asking or even demanding people to look at your research without taking the time yourself to think about what it is that you would want your audience to know is not the way to go.

So, even though I make visuals and I'm in the 'looking'-business, the biggest compliment one of the visitors of the conference paid me was telling me I'm such a good listener. When you are listening, you can find a relatable story in practically everything. And it's this story that you want to share and will make people connect with you and your content. So for the next conference I would suggest something along the lines of not just 'ecce', but Ecce! et Audi! Behold & listen, because it is in this combination you will find the greatest value.

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