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Mar 27, 2023 Essay
Factors affecting the efficacy of short stories as science communication tools

by Masoud Irani and Emma Weitkamp

People become familiar with stories as sources of information in their childhood, and, while they have recently received interest as potential science communication tools, few studies have considered aspects of story quality on science communication. We postulate that quality is an important, if challenging, facet that should be considered when exploring the potential of short stories in science communication. This essay argues that quality should be a key consideration of those interested in studying or working with short stories for science communication purposes and presents criteria for the `well-made' short story.

Volume 22 • Issue 02 • 2023

Feb 13, 2023 Book Review
Science & theatre: communication, concepts, contexts, and cases

by Kristian H. Nielsen

With its attention to empirical detail and theoretical analysis, the book is an important contribution to the field of science-and-theatre studies. The reader will not only gain insight into the many ways in which science and theatre have been combined, but also become familiar with best practices and interesting cases. The book depicts science-and-theatre as a diverse and vibrant field. Framed as a study in communicating science and technology with the performing arts, the book will serve as a source of inspiration for science communicators and science communication researchers.

Volume 22 • Issue 01 • 2023

Oct 31, 2022 Article
Imagining the Sun: using comparative judgement to assess the impact of cross-curricular solar physics workshops

by Carol Davenport and Richard Morton

This paper describes a school intervention focused on visual art and solar physics using science capital and STEAM methodologies to develop STEM engagement activities. Data from 40 children (aged 8–11) in two primary schools in the North East of England are presented, using pre- and post-intervention surveys which contained free-response and likert-scale questions. The paper presents a novel, and transferable, method of evaluating children’s drawings using online comparative judgement marking software, particularly suited to those without a background in qualitative research. Using comparative judgement this paper shows that the intervention led to a moderate increase in girls’ knowledge of solar physics.

Volume 21 • Issue 06 • 2022

Oct 24, 2022 Article
Why create SciArt? An investigation into science artists' goals and professional journeys

by Alice Fleerackers, Paige Brown Jarreau and Julia Krolik

Although Science Art (“SciArt”) is increasingly used in science communication as a way to make content more engaging or accessible, little is known about why artists pursue this practice or what they hope to achieve through their work. This project addresses these questions through a thematic analysis of interviews with 131 practicing science artists. We identify a diversity of goals for creating SciArt, only some of which involve communicating science.

Volume 21 • Issue 06 • 2022

Oct 03, 2022 Book Review
A poetic approach to science communication

by Emma Weitkamp

‘Science Communication Through Poetry’, by Sam Illingworth offers a practical guide for the aspiring science communication poet or those interested in working with poetry as a research tool or public engagement method.

Volume 21 • Issue 06 • 2022

Jan 31, 2022 Article
The audience experience of science storytelling: impact profiles from a Q methodology study

by Jessica Sickler and Michelle Lentzner

The Story Collider applies the principles of narrative transportation to produce events that use first-person, personal stories about science to activate audience emotion, empathy, and identities. This study sought to systematically explore underlying patterns in the subjective experience of these live shows. This study combined a research framework from the performing arts with Q methodology, a method designed to capture and quantify subjectivity of personal meaning. This revealed four profiles, each representing a distinct way that one can internalize the value of science storytelling. Results highlight an opportunity within programs that operate at the nexus of science communication and the arts.

Volume 21 • Issue 01 • 2022

Aug 02, 2021 Book Review
Theatre as a space for negotiation and co-creation of knowledge

by Carla Almeida

In an increasingly rich and abundant context of publications on science and theatre, Simon Parry's “Science in performance: theatre and the politics of engagement” stands out for its multidisciplinary perspective on the topic, focusing on central issues in the field of science communication. Based on a detailed and dense analysis of a selection of theatre performances about science, Parry supports theatre as a space for negotiation and co-creation of knowledge.

Volume 20 • Issue 05 • 2021

Apr 27, 2021 Essay
Rethinking science communication: reflections on what happens when science meets comic art

by Anna Jonsson and Maria Grafström

In this essay, we explore what happens when science meets comic art and how such meeting offers an opportunity to rethink science communication. We base our discussion on our own experience, as research scholars, of engaging in a collaboration with a comic artist. Three key reflections are developed: how comic art may help to (1) conceptualize ideas in an early research phase, (2) clarify the main argument by making the (un)written word visible; and (3) communicate science with an open end. These aspects contribute to an increased understanding of science communication in both research and society.

Volume 20 • Issue 02 • 2021

Mar 08, 2021 Article
Hocus Pocus: using comics to promote skepticism about the paranormal

by Richard Wiseman, Jordan Collver, Rik Worth and Caroline Watt

This study investigated the potential for comics to promote skepticism about the paranormal. Participants rated their interest in comics, read a skeptical account of alleged paranormal phenomena in one of three mediums (text, comic, and comic containing an interactive magic trick), and then rated their engagement, skepticism and recall. The text was rated as more interesting and entertaining than the comics, and participants' prior interest in comics positively correlated with engagement and shift in skepticism. This suggests that for certain cohorts, comics may be an effective way to promote engagement and attitude change. The implications for future work are considered.

Volume 20 • Issue 02 • 2021

Feb 09, 2021 Article
The collaboration in the production of ‘Life of Galileo’ in a science museum in Rio de Janeiro

by Carla Almeida and Diego Vaz Bevilaqua

Science and theatre have a long history of interactions, which usually promote collaborations between artists and scientists. Focussing on the theatre performed in the context of science communication, this article aims to analyse the collaboration between artists and scientists in the production of the play ‘Life of Galileo’, by Bertolt Brecht, at the Museu da Vida. Based on the interviews with 12 people involved in the production, we identified a strong involvement in the project, which provided a rich exchange and knowledge acquisition, in addition to raising relevant questions about the theatre performed in the specific context of science communication.

Volume 20 • Issue 02 • 2021