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Jun 05, 2023 Practice Insight
Life and Death on the Tuapeka Goldfields — stakeholder input for a community museum's bioarchaeology-based exhibit

by Ruby Parker and Nancy Longnecker

This practice insight describes community consultation and creation of an exhibit that was installed in a local museum to share findings from research involving excavations of historic cemeteries. Two individuals who had been buried in unmarked sites in historic cemeteries in the town of Lawrence, in the Otago region of New Zealand were exhumed for bioarchaeological research that included biochemical methods. Results were combined with cultural and environmental information from the Otago goldrush era to reconstruct lives of these settlers and tell their stories in the exhibit described here. Community values about exhibit representations related to human remains were explored through 16 semi-structured stakeholder interviews. Interviewees overwhelmingly but not unanimously supported the creation of an exhibit about this research. Interviewees recommended things to exclude from the exhibit (human remains or images of them) as well as information and objects to include. Information was compiled from multiple sources, including: existing bioarchaeological research findings; interviews with descendant groups, community, and other stakeholders; and historical archives. Information from these multiple sources was combined to create osteobiographies of two individuals — a woman and a Chinese journeyman — who had lived in Lawrence during the goldrush period (1850–1910). These osteobiographies formed the basis of an exhibit that was created and installed in a community museum in the town where their graves were located.

Volume 22 • Issue 02 • 2023

Nov 07, 2022 Commentary
Twenty years of teaching science communication — a personal reflection

by Nancy Longnecker

In this commentary, I reflect on twenty years of teaching science communication at universities in Australia, Singapore and New Zealand. I discuss many of the challenges and opportunities for people working in the field. Some of the professional teaching experiences, challenges, and lessons I have learned may resonate with colleagues or help newcomers navigate the complexities of academic landscapes.

Volume 21 • Issue 07 • 2022

Jul 08, 2020 Article
Expertise and communicating about infectious disease: a case study of uncertainty and rejection of local knowledge in discourse of experts and decision makers

by Jennifer Manyweathers, Mel Taylor and Nancy Longnecker

Despite Australian horse owners being encouraged to vaccinate their horses against Hendra virus to reduce the risk of this potentially fatal virus to horses and humans, vaccine uptake has been slow. Discourse around the vaccine has been characterised by polarisation and dissenting voices. In this study we interviewed horse owners (N=15) and veterinarians (N=10), revealing how expert knowledge, disqualification of lay knowledge and inadequate handling of uncertainty impacted divisive discourse around Hendra virus. We assert that more inclusive, reflective and ultimately more effective risk communication practices will result if the legitimacy of diverse knowledge sources and the inevitability of uncertainty are acknowledged.

Volume 19 • Issue 04 • 2020

Dec 17, 2018 Commentary
Challenges of cross-cultural communication in production of a collaborative exhibition: Wai ora, Mauri ora

by Nancy Longnecker and Craig Scott

This case study of the development of a cross-cultural museum exhibition illustrates value and difficulties of cross-cultural collaboration. University researchers worked with a class of postgraduate science communication students and designers from the Otago Museum to produce a museum exhibition. ‘Wai ora, Mauri ora’ (‘Healthy environments, Healthy people’) provided visibility and public access to information about Māori work. The exhibition assignment provided an authentic assessment of student work, with a professional output. Working on the exhibition involved cross-cultural communication between Māori and pakehā (non-Māori) and between students and museum professionals. This provided a rich learning experience that took many of the players outside of their comfort zone.

Volume 17 • Issue 04 • 2018

Sep 21, 2016 Essay
An integrated model of science communication — More than providing evidence

by Nancy Longnecker

Factors that influence reception and use of information are represented in this koru model of science communication using the metaphor of a growing plant. Identity is central to this model, determining whether an individual attends to information, how it is used and whether access to it results in increased awareness, knowledge or understanding, changed attitudes or behaviour. In this koru model, facts are represented as nutrients in the soil; the matrix influences their availability. Communication involves reorganisation of facts into information, available via channels represented as roots. When information is taken up, engagement with it is influenced by external factors (social norms, support and control) and internal factors (values, beliefs, attitudes, awareness, affect, understanding, skills and behaviour) which affect whether the individual uses it to form new knowledge.

Volume 15 • Issue 05 • 2016

Sep 22, 2014 Conference Review
Observations of PCST2014

by Nancy Longnecker

Attendance at any large conference is highly personal and every registrant has a unique experience. The value to the individual depends on which sessions they attend, whom they connect with and what outcomes eventuate from what they learn and the networking they do. The networking and feedback can be life changing as it was for me when I attended PCST in 1996 in Melbourne. PCST2014 was a successful conference that provided many options for delegates. This was my fifth PCST and I was glad to have made the long trip to Brazil. One of the most successful aspects of PCST2014 was the opportunity to hear voices that I had not heard at previous PCSTs. The opportunity to hear about interesting work and different perspectives is one of the main advantages of this large, diverse, international network. Some reflective presentations eloquently articulated the familiar but evolving framework of the science communication discipline. Some provocative presentations pushed me to consider new and different perspectives or methodologies. Some case study presentations illustrated that good science communication is happening around the world. All types are particularly useful to those of us at a crossroad in our career, considering where to invest our energy, expertise and time.

Volume 13 • Issue 03 • 2014