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May 13, 2024 Practice Insight
Prioritising community over content: value shifts in science centres

by Jennifer DeWitt and Shaaron Leverment

Science centres are increasingly adopting co-development as a tool to engage diverse audiences with science. The case study featured in this practice insight draws on an evaluation of a programme that aimed to move U.K. science centres towards more inclusive practice. Interviews with staff from eight U.K. science centres and their community partner organisations reflected shifts in science centre practitioners' understanding and valuing of co-development approaches, and, especially, the centrality placed on relationships with communities. This case study can contribute to our understanding and help us reflect on how to align our practice with a commitment to equity.

Volume 23 • Issue 03 • 2024

Apr 22, 2024 Book Review
Through the `queering' glass: looking at science communication from a queer lens

by Siddharth Kankaria

`Queering Science Communication' offers a kaleidoscopic collection of queer insights that both inform and question the field of science communication. Edited by Lindy A. Orthia and Tara Roberson, the book covers a diverse range of topics including LGBTQIA+ representation in science and science communication; examples of science engagement interventions designed for queer audiences; the positive and negative impacts of science (communication) on queer lives; as well as ways of queering the practice, research and teaching of science communication. Despite adopting a predominantly queer lens, this book offers various learnings for engaging a broader spectrum of marginalised identities and for eventually moving towards a more inclusive, pluralistic and reflexive science communication field.

Volume 23 • Issue 03 • 2024

Mar 25, 2024 Article
Science Communication as a Human Right

by Gabriela Frías-Villegas, Kathia Elisa García-Gómez, Alejandro Guzmán-Vendrell, Irvin Alberto Mendoza-Hernández, Ricardo Tránsito-Santos and Fabiola Vázquez-Quiroz

This work discusses four practical science communication cases in which we worked with communities from different parts of Mexico in vulnerable situations. We analyze those cases from an interdisciplinary point of view, emphasizing the observation of human rights to propose a new inclusive definition of science communication and new strategies for engaging in horizontal dialogues with cultural groups. This perspective demands a change in methodological procedures, such as performing anthropological work and the co-creation of projects and materials together with all the members of the communities involved. We also propose using novel strategies to reach communities in vulnerable situations.

Volume 23 • Issue 02 • 2024 • Special Issue: Connecting science communication research and practice: challenges and ways forward

Mar 20, 2024 Book Review
Beyond Western perspectives: inclusive insights to decolonise and transform science communication

by Mohamed Elsonbaty Ramadan

“Race and Socio-Cultural Inclusion in Science Communication”, edited by Elizabeth Rasekoala, challenges Eurocentric hegemony and advocates for inclusivity in science communication. Through insightful contributions from diverse authors, it calls for action to decolonise and transform science communication.

Volume 23 • Issue 01 • 2024

Mar 18, 2024 Article
Race-evasive ideology in U.S.-based science communication fellowship director discourse

by Nic Bennett, Anthony Dudo, John Besley and Yasmiyn Irizarry

A critical examination of science communication training programs may uncover barriers to cultivating inclusive, equitable, and just science communication spaces. In this study, we analyzed science communication fellowship director's discourse for evidence of race-evasive ideology — language that avoids talk of race and justifies current racial inequity as the outcome of nonracial processes [Bonilla-Silva, 2006]. We found the four frames of race-evasive ideology (minimization, abstract liberalism, cultural racism, and naturalization) pervasive in interviews with science communication fellowship directors. We discuss how these findings might explain why structural racism persists in science communication organizations despite their directors' best intentions.

Volume 23 • Issue 01 • 2024

Sep 05, 2023 Article
“We are capable and we must not be silent!”: the science-theatre interface as a catalyst for female empowerment

by Gabriela Reznik and Carla Almeida

We aim to understand the audience's theatrical experience of “Cidadela” — a play produced by Museu da Vida Fiocruz — and if/how it encouraged the spectators to reflect on structural sexism, which is its core theme. After analysing 299 questionnaires, we found that the audience recognised the theme as both relevant and topical and they identified and related various scenes to their own lived experiences. The play encouraged the audience to reflect on different dimensions of female empowerment, particularly the psychological and political ones. It is, therefore, worth emphasising the potential of theatre in raising awareness, evoking empathy and inspiring young people to strive for freedom and autonomy, which seems to us fundamental for young women to get closer to science and increasingly identify themselves with it.

Volume 22 • Issue 04 • 2023

Aug 21, 2023 Essay
Response to: “Looking back to launch forward: a self-reflexive approach to decolonising science education and communication in Africa”. Decoloniality opens up new epistemic vistas for science communication

by Sujatha Raman

Decolonial perspectives open up epistemic and practical insights for science communication. Following critiques of a deficit-model framing of the field, science communication has been redefined as an inclusive cultural space of meaning-making around science. From a decolonial lens, however, a cultural perspective necessitates a fundamental reckoning with the historical and contemporary politics of knowledge claims, including the erasure and devaluation of entire knowledge-systems in the process of Westernization. In recognizing and learning from these histories, science communication can learn from parallel developments within the sciences. It can also learn from contributions made by decolonial scholars to the global challenge of navigating sustainable futures. This piece briefly discusses one such example, drawing from scholarship on the ontological cosmovision of Ubuntu and its relevance to climate change dilemmas today.

Volume 22 • Issue 04 • 2023

Aug 21, 2023 Essay
Response to: “Looking back to launch forward: a self-reflexive approach to decolonising science education and communication in Africa”. Recognizing and validating multiple knowledge ecologies

by Fabien Medvecky, Jennifer Metcalfe and Michelle Riedlinger

This is a response to Sesan and Ibiyemi's essay [2023], which rightly urges “scholars and science communicators” to resist the colonial legacy of science in African countries. The essay argues that northern paradigms, focused on science as the only true form of knowledge, need to be replaced with functional Indigenous knowledge systems. However, the authors adopt the framework of the global north when reimagining and advocating for a radical ‘power literate’ agenda thus confounding knowledge with science, and education with science communication. These approaches obscure the fundamental importance of reimagining power dynamics in a world of multiple epistemologies. Instead, we propose that ‘knowledge communicators’ facilitate a multi-knowledge world through participatory processes.

Volume 22 • Issue 04 • 2023

Jul 03, 2023 Conference Review
Fail better

by Sarah Rachael Davies

This short text discusses PCST2023, held in Rotterdam in April 2023, and reflects on the event's connections with science communication research and practice as a whole.

Volume 22 • Issue 04 • 2023

Jun 20, 2023 Article
Living labs contributions to smart cities from a quadruple-helix perspective

by Daniel Esashika, Gilmar Masiero and Yohann Mauger

This paper explores living labs' contributions to smart cities from a quadruple-helix perspective. The selected exploratory case studies (Living Lab Florianópolis, Living Lab of the Itaipu Technological Park and Porto Digital) depict an institutional context characterized by a low interaction between the quadruple-helix components. The data were obtained through document analysis and interviews with living lab organizers and participants. The results suggest living labs can contribute by a) selecting the most promising projects to promote, b) connecting several agents and sharing informational through collaborative practices and events, c) facilitating mediation between participants in living labs and government agencies, universities and local companies to conduct tests, and d) inserting the fourth helix as a tester but not as a co-creator. These findings explain the participation of quadruple-helix components in the stages of project selection, development, and testing developing living labs. Finally, this article contradicts the predominant notion that living labs remain based on user-oriented innovation processes, purporting a producer-oriented trajectory.

Volume 22 • Issue 03 • 2023 • Special Issue: Living labs under construction: paradigms, practices, and perspectives of public science communication and participatory science