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Filter by author: Lindy A. Orthia

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May 09, 2021 Article
Reorienting science communication towards communities

by Lindy A. Orthia, Merryn McKinnon, John Noel Viana and Graham Walker

Communities are rarely seen as the ideal level at which to focus science communication efforts, compared to the individual, psychological or mass, societal levels. Yet evidence from allied fields suggests building interpersonal relationships with specific communities over time is key to meaningful engagement, so orienting science communication towards communities is warranted. In this paper, we argue this case. We review previous studies, identifying three existing models of community-oriented science communication, which we label ‘neighbourly’, ‘problem-solving’ and ‘brokering’. We illustrate the effectiveness of the ‘problem-solving’ approach and the desirable ideal of ‘brokering’ using recent examples of community-oriented science communication from Australia.

Volume 20 • Issue 03 • 2021 • Special Issue: Re-examining Science Communication: models, perspectives, institutions, 2021

Jan 31, 2021 Commentary
From the margins to the mainstream: deconstructing science communication as a white, Western paradigm

by Summer May Finlay, Sujatha Raman, Elizabeth Rasekoala, Vanessa Mignan, Emily Dawson, Liz Neeley and Lindy A. Orthia

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.

Volume 20 • Issue 01 • 2021

Jan 31, 2021 Commentary
Queer world-making: a need for integrated intersectionality in science communication

by Tara Roberson and Lindy A. Orthia

This commentary aims to shed light on the neglected space of queer people in science communication. In this piece, we introduce queer theory to science communication literature to examine issues from the past, present, and future. We argue that to queer our field may entail a radical interrogation of some of science communication's deeply rooted cultural traits and working towards a rainbow-tinted future.

Volume 20 • Issue 01 • 2021

Mar 29, 2020 Article
Strategies for including communication of non-Western and indigenous knowledges in science communication histories

by Lindy A. Orthia

How a discipline's history is written shapes its identity. Accordingly, science communicators opposed to cultural exclusion may seek cross-cultural conceptualizations of science communication's past, beyond familiar narratives centred on the recent West. Here I make a case for thinking about science communication history in these broader geotemporal terms. I discuss works by historians and knowledge keepers from the Indigenous Australian Yorta Yorta Nation who describe a geological event their ancestors witnessed 30,000 ybp and communicated about over generations to the present. This is likely one of the oldest examples of science communication, warranting a prominent place in science communication histories.

Volume 19 • Issue 02 • 2020

Sep 01, 2019 Article
How does science fiction television shape fans' relationships to science? Results from a survey of 575 ‘Doctor Who’ viewers

by Lindy A. Orthia

Fiction is often credited with shaping public attitudes to science, but little science communication research has studied fans' deep engagement with a science-themed fiction text. This study used a survey to investigate the impacts of television series ‘Doctor Who’ (1963–89; 2005–present) on its viewers' attitudes to science, including their education and career choices and ideas about science ethics and the science-society relationship. The program's reported impacts ranged from causing participants to fact-check ‘Doctor Who’'s science to inspiring them to pursue a science career, or, more commonly, prompting viewers to think broadly and deeply about science's social position in diverse ways.

Volume 18 • Issue 04 • 2019

Jul 19, 2017 Article
Vaccination communication strategies: What have we learned, and lost, in 200 years?

by Merryn McKinnon and Lindy A. Orthia

This study compares Australian government vaccination campaigns from two very different time periods, the early nineteenth century (1803–24) and the early twenty-first (2016). It explores the modes of rhetoric and frames that government officials used in each period to encourage parents to vaccinate their children. The analysis shows that modern campaigns rely primarily on scientific fact, whereas 200 years ago personal stories and emotional appeals were more common. We argue that a return to the old ways may be needed to address vaccine hesitancy around the world.

Volume 16 • Issue 03 • 2017 • Special Issue: History of Science Communication, 2017

Jun 08, 2016 Article
Democratizing science in the eighteenth century: resonances between Condorcet's Sketch (1795) and twenty-first century science communication

by Lindy A. Orthia

The twenty-first century has witnessed a shift in science communication ideals from one-way science popularization activities towards more reflexive, participatory approaches to public engagement with science. Yet our longue duéee histories of science communication's antecedents focus on the former and have neglected the latter. In this paper I identify parallels between modern science communication ideals and an iconic Enlightenment text, Condorcet's Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind (1795). I show that Condorcet's carefully negotiated balance between scientific reason and radical principles of democracy has much in common with twenty-first century debates about science communication.

Volume 15 • Issue 04 • 2016