Shock, wonder and optimism – the surprisingly engaging story of oysters

Who knew the world’s ultimate introvert could captivate an audience? Globally, oyster reefs carpeted tens of thousands of kilometres of seafloor just two hundred years, but today are all but lost from common memory. In Australia, a team of researchers has been engaging coastal communities on the surprising talents of oysters to build support for their conservation. They’ve learnt a few tricks on how to sell conservation of these less than charismatic critters to different audiences, which has inspired them to delve deeper into the psychology of conservation messaging.

This session will discuss how balancing the psychological benefits of pessimism and optimism can build an enticing narrative for engaging your audience. Optimism and pessimism imprint differently on the human brain, and knowing what concerns your target audience can identify how best to use these psychological constructs. Using history, imagery and video, Dominic Mcaffee will explore our communication strategy for exciting diverse audiences who didn’t even know they cared about oysters. By Dominic Mcafee from the University of Adelaide.