Oct 23, 2022 Article
Why create SciArt? An investigation into science artists' goals and professional journeys

by Alice Fleerackers, Paige Brown Jarreau and Julia Krolik

Although Science Art (“SciArt”) is increasingly used in science communication as a way to make content more engaging or accessible, little is known about why artists pursue this practice or what they hope to achieve through their work. This project addresses these questions through a thematic analysis of interviews with 131 practicing science artists. We identify a diversity of goals for creating SciArt, only some of which involve communicating science.

Volume 21 • Issue 06 • 2022

Oct 18, 2022 Article
Telling our story: communicators’ perceptions of challenges and solutions for sustainability communication within the Australian beef industry

by Taylah Faulkner, Bradd Witt and Heather J. Bray

Sustainability communication has been an increasing focus globally for many diverse and complex resource-based industries, including beef production, due to an increase in public scrutiny. However, this has received limited research interest. This study, drawing on in-depth interviews, explores key internal and external stakeholders’ perceptions of sustainability communication challenges using the Australian beef industry as a case study. Diverse views about public perceptions, the role of communications in trust, and internal issues reflect challenges such as industry culture, isolation, and industry complexity and breadth. This research highlights and discusses a range of sustainability communication issues in complex contexts.

Volume 21 • Issue 06 • 2022

Oct 16, 2022 Conference Review
Bringing society inside the walls of scientific facilities

by Frank Nuijens

The Public Awareness of Research Infrastructures (PARI) three-day conference held in July 2022 at the SKA Observatory’s Global Headquarters (U.K.) discussed the science communication issues that practitioners face at research infrastructures, like community building, science diplomacy and equity, diversity and inclusion in STEM. We concluded that we need to bring society within the walls of the scientific facilities as much as we need to help scientists engage with society.

Volume 21 • Issue 06 • 2022

Oct 11, 2022 Article
Changing attitudes toward scientists by reducing intergroup biases: how a signage intervention focused on decategorization and recategorization improved trust

by Alexandra Beauchamp, Su-Jen Roberts and Craig Piper

We experimentally examined how messaging strategies that prompted differences in how scientists are categorized as a group increased positive science attitudes among non-scientists. Results from the first study showed that messaging which personalizes science or highlights shared common identities with scientists diminishes outgroup effects through recategorization or decategorization, respectively. Study 2 largely replicated these results in an ecologically valid setting: a zoo. Collectively, these studies support the use of the recategorization strategy for improving trust and science attitudes, but produced less consistent effects for decategorization. The results emphasized the importance of contextualized messaging when creating effective appeals in science communication.

Volume 21 • Issue 06 • 2022

Oct 09, 2022 Conference Review
“Be the change” — how Cheltenham Science Festival used a central theme to centre social change within the festival

by Gary Kerr, Emma Whittle and Marieke Navin

“Be the change” (BTC) was the theme for Cheltenham Science Festival. BTC set out to empower audiences as individuals and as a collective to enact positive change across a wide range of global issues linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We examine the role of theming within festivals and analyse how BTC centred social change within the science festival. We conclude by noting that science festivals do not have to have science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) themes, but can instead be themed around global social issues.

Volume 21 • Issue 06 • 2022

Oct 04, 2022 Article
Strategic communication at the European Space Agency: juxtaposing strategy and public attitudes

by Axel Pfleger, Alexander Gerber and Alexander Struck

This case study analyses the efficacy of the European Space Agency's (ESA) strategic communication through a content analysis and an online attitudes survey in Germany. Our findings generally indicate low efficacy as ESA's communication strategy strongly focusses on press agentry, and is not managed in a sufficiently strategic manner. ESA pays little attention to evaluation and lays emphasis on targeting ‘the general public’. By contrast, we reveal a diversity of attitudes towards ESA among various publics. In light of this disconnect from best practice and public attitudes, we argue for a more inclusive approach which maximises public participation and introduces a more diverse and evidence-based science communication portfolio so as to make ESA's communication more efficacious and sustainable.

Volume 21 • Issue 06 • 2022

Oct 02, 2022 Book Review
A poetic approach to science communication

by Emma Weitkamp

‘Science Communication Through Poetry’, by Sam Illingworth offers a practical guide for the aspiring science communication poet or those interested in working with poetry as a research tool or public engagement method.

Volume 21 • Issue 06 • 2022

Sep 27, 2022 Article
How issue entrepreneurs shape public discourse of controversial science: examining GMO discussion on a popular Chinese Q&A platform

by Kaiping Chen and Yepeng Jin

Social media have become popular channels for sharing and discussing science issues. Drawing from the classic communication theory, Public Arena Model, this paper examines how issue entrepreneurs influenced the Chinese public's cognition of GMO, especially the role of celebrities and scientists in controversial science communication. To answer this question, we used the structural topic modeling method to examine public discussion about GMO on a popular Q&A site in China (Zhihu) from 2014 to 2019 (N=40,101). In study 1, we investigated what the major themes of public discourse are about GMO and the evolution of these themes in general. In study 2, we investigated public discourse in a more specific context, an iconic event in China's GMO history, a debate between a TV celebrity and a scientist, to examine how two major issue entrepreneurs influenced what and how the public deliberated GMO. We found that the issue entrepreneurs' debate increased public discussion on the ‘science communication’ aspect of GMO yet decreased public discussion on the ‘science’ of GMO. Supporters of different entrepreneurs are divided in their attitudes and rhetoric toward GMO. These findings shed new light on how social media is a digital embodiment of the public arena where public deliberation about controversial science occur and evolve.

Volume 21 • Issue 06 • 2022

Sep 25, 2022 Book Review
A review of ‘Science Communication Practice in China’

by Fabien Medvecky

‘Science Communication Practice in China’ is a book that does two things. One very intentional, one less so. Intentionally, it presents the state of science communication and popularisation in China with a strong focus on the historical and policy context this is embedded in. Less (or possibly un-)intentionally, it makes explicit both its assumptions about what science communication should aim for and how it should go about its business, as well as forcing the reader to acknowledge their own assumptions of the role and place of science communication.

Volume 21 • Issue 06 • 2022

Sep 20, 2022 Conference Review
#ecsite2022 — a festive and reflexive gathering of science communicators

by Vanessa Mignan and Marina Joubert

The 2022 Ecsite conference took place in Heilbronn, Germany, from 2–4 June after two years of virtual meetings due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This review presents some highlights of this event, including two memorable keynote talks by disability activist Sinéad Burke and author/educator Lucy Hawking.

Volume 21 • Issue 06 • 2022

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