Science Through Story

Distilling Complexity Through Story


with Sara ElShafie


We are dealing with a lot of complex issues today. You probably have something to say about them. But how do you distill your thoughts into a clear idea that can start a conversation?

In this two-hour interactive workshop, we will explore how to distill a complex topic into a concise and compelling story brief enough to share on social media. We will also cover some basics of visual storytelling to create images that will make your post stand out.

You will leave with a draft of a social media post and an accompanying concept sketch. We look forward to seeing your completed posts on social media after the workshop!



This workshop is interactive throughout, including Think-Pair-Share exercises with partners in breakout sessions.

  1. Introduction, concepts, and context
  2. Connect with your audience
  3. Distill your story
  4. Visualize your story 

Time Schedule

2 hour duration. Saturday July 11th at 12:00pm (PT) (15:00 EDT, 19:00 UTC, 21:00 CEST) Time.Is

Skill Level

Open to all levels. No specific background required for this workshop.

What to bring

Please come with a specific idea/topic that you would like to distill into a post to share on social media.

Please also come with a specific audience in mind that you wish to reach through social media and a specific reason for wanting to reach that audience.

Materials to sketch your idea: 

  • Paper
  • Pencil or pen
  • Colored pencils or markers (optional but recommended) 


$20 suggested donation with a sliding scale. Get your ticket now.



Takeway: Sample post and sketch concept

Credit: Sara ElShafie

What if you could grow a perfect all-beef burger without needing a cow?

Cows produce a lot of greenhouse gases and require a lot of water and crops to maintain. But many burger lovers complain that plant-based “impossible foods” just don’t taste as good as real beef. Now scientists and meat-packing companies are partnering to develop meats grown from real meat cells that don’t require raising or sacrificing livestock. Learn more!:


About Sara Elshafie

Sara ElShafie is a global change biologist and science communication specialist. ElShafie collaborates with artists in entertainment industries to uncover the potential of storytelling to engage broad audiences with complex topics. She created a workshop series, Science Through Story, which she runs for groups ranging from graduate students to NASA scientists to theme park executives. ElShafie also organized a symposium, Science Through Narrative: Engaging Broad Audiences, with speakers from the scientific community as well as arts and entertainment industries, and curated a resulting published volume of papers. She is completing her PhD in Integrative Biology with the Museum of Paleontology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Past Workshops by Sara Elshafie

Science Through Story workshop led by Sara ElShafie at the David Brower Center in Berkeley on January 16, 2020. Sponsored by the UC Berkeley Data Science for the 21st Century Graduate Program. © Sara ElShafie


Science Through Story Online webinar led by Sara ElShafie on February 27, 2020. Sponsored by The Leakey Foundation. © Sara ElShafie 


Science Through Story at the CODAME ART+TECH FESTIVAL 2019 『 SPACE ã€ 


Join us

In these challenging times this is a an opportunity to be more connected beyond our usual San Francisco boundaries.

This is just the start of a CODAME workshop series to continue to connect, inspire and shape the future by building beautiful and playful ART+TECH experiences all together.

Join us. Sponsor, Volunteer or lead a workshop. What topics grab your curiosity to learn or teach? Let us know through our call for workshops.

All proceeds will be split with the participating artists. Donations are always welcome.

💟 👾 💜 👾 💟

CODAME is a member of Intersection for the Arts a non profit 501(c)(3) organization.

All proceeds will be split with the participating artists.

Thank you for your support for ART ♥️ TECH !!!

Code of Conduct for all attendees. 


Credits: GIF art by Admiral Potato