All author's publications are listed below.
The EU-funded RETHINK Project has demonstrated the critical need for transformational pathways in how science communicators navigate the increasingly challenging landscape of the field, in an era of growing public distrust, the expansion of online ‘mis-information’ digital platforms, and the resulting disconnection between science communicators and the general public. This Commentary seeks to locate, contextualise, and interrogate the good practice outcomes and recommendations of the RETHINK Project within the African regional scenario, and within the contexts, challenges and opportunities that exist therein. To achieve this, the author argues, African science communicators must actively pursue a radical and explicitly transformational agenda of intellectual Afrocentricity, the decolonisation of their practices and programmes, and address the multiple gaps inherent across the policy, practice, research, resources, and capacity-building divides on the continent. The prospects for the delivery of this agenda are further elaborated in a transformative and re-defined — ‘SMART’ Framework for Science Communication & Public Engagement in Africa.
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.
The challenge to the science communication field put forward by Bruce Lewenstein, of the sector becoming a ‘ghetto’ of women's over-representation (see the commentary by Lewenstein in this issue), is a very timely wake-up call. This Commentary however, elaborates and frames the pivotal and constructivist premises on which this phenomenon should be interrogated and understood on many levels. It is critical that we undertake a deeper introspection, beyond just simplistic head counts of the number of women and men in the field, if we are to make sense of the seeming paradoxes that pervade the field, across the intersectionalities of gender, race, social class and other paradigms of inequality. This Commentary also highlights with qualitative and quantitative data how the interrogation of these developments in the field should bring on board inclusive global and diverse regional perspectives, critiques, good practices and nuances, to fully inform our shared understandings, and engender transformation in the field.