All author's publications are listed below.
What can we say about equity, diversity and inclusion in science communication research over the past 20 years? This is a thorny question because of course we want to be constructive, to recognise change and to respect those whose hard-won research on equity issues has meant so much to many of us. At the same time, it is impossible — given what we know through our research — not to take a critical stance. We critique the status quo of science communication research from a social justice perspective and reflect on how we might change, perhaps bringing what has been marginal (and indeed the marginalised) into the core of science communication research, practice and policy.
In this commentary we are concerned with what mainstream science communication has neglected through cultural narrowness and ambient racism: other practitioners, missing audiences, unvalued knowledge, unrecognised practices. We explore examples from First Nations Peoples in the lands now known as Australia, from Griots in West Africa and from People's Science Movements in India to help us reimagine science communication. To develop meaningfully inclusive approaches to science communication, we argue there is an urgent need for the ‘mainstream’ to recognise, value and learn from science communication practices that are all too often seen as at ‘the margins’ of this field.
This paper reflects on the evaluation of and findings from a nationwide programme of physics engagement activities hosted by 10 science centres across the UK. We discuss our findings indicating the affordances of the programme with reference to the wider literature in order to draw out elements of the project that may be useful for other science learning and engagement initiatives. In particular, we discuss findings that relate to contemporary research and policy interests around the engagement of girls in science, the key ages at which young people’s views may best be influenced, the importance of explicating the nature of ‘real-world’ content and careers, and the value of collaborative partnerships.
‘Who’s Asking: Native Science, Western Science, and Science Education’ explores two key questions for science education, communication and engagement; first, what is science and second, what do different ways of understanding science mean for science and for science engagement practices? Medin and Bang have combined perspectives from the social studies of science, philosophy of science and science education to argue that science could be more inclusive if reframed as a diverse endeavour. Medin and Bang provide a useful, extensive and wide-ranging discussion of how science works, the nature of science, the role of culture, gender and ethnicity in science, biases and norms, as well as how people engage with science and the world around them. They draw on their collaborative research developing science education programmes with Native American communities to illustrate the benefits of reconstructing science by drawing on more than ‘Western’ science in education practices. The book argues that reconceptualising science in science education is crucial for developing a more diverse, equitable and inclusive scientific community and scientific practices, as well as improving educational opportunities and outcomes for youth from diverse and non-dominant backgrounds.
Science communication is an increasingly important field of activity, research and policy. It should not be assumed however, that science communication practices provide equitable and empowering opportunities for everyone. Social exclusion, inclusion and equity are key challenges for practitioners, researchers, policy makers and funders involved with science communication. In this commentary I reflect on the limitations of the ‘barriers approach to understanding social inclusion and exclusion from science communication and argue instead that a more complex perspective is needed. I conclude that placing equity at the heart of science communication is crucial for developing more inclusive science communication practices.