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Oct 14, 2019 Editorial
Storytelling: the soul of science communication

by Marina Joubert, Lloyd Davis and Jenni Metcalfe

There is a renewed interest amongst science communication practitioners and scholars to explore the potential of storytelling in public communication of science, including to understand how science storytelling functions (or could fail) in different contexts. Drawing from storytelling as the core theme of the 2018 conference of the Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST) Network, we present a selection of papers, essays and practice insights that offer diverse perspectives. Some contributions focus on the cultural and structural qualities of science stories and its key success factors, while others explore new formats, platforms and collaborators in science storytelling activities.

Volume 18 • Issue 05 • 2019 • Special Issue: Stories in Science Communication, 2019

Jul 22, 2019 Article
Developing science tabletop games: ‘Catan’® and global warming

by Sam Illingworth and Paul Wake

‘Catan’® (1995) is a multiplayer tabletop game with global sales of over 20 million copies. Presented here is an exploration of the steps that were taken in the development of the ‘Catan: Global Warming’ expansion, from prototype to final design. During the playtesting of the game the feedback that we received from a variety of playtesters indicated that the game mechanics (rather than any accompanying story) were an effective and elegant way of developing dialogue around a specific topic, in this instance global warming. We conclude that in order to develop such a game, consideration must be given to: the accessibility of the game, the game literacy of the proposed players, the playtesting of the game mechanics, the peer review of the scientific content, and the extent to which the metagame (i.e. those discussions that take place around and away from the game) is enabled.

Volume 18 • Issue 04 • 2019

May 20, 2019 Article
Gender and science in animation: analysis of the Anima Mundi Festival films

by Gabriela Reznik and Luisa Massarani

We used content analysis to analyse the representation of female scientists in animated short films on gender and science, selected from the Anima Mundi Festival, over 21 annual editions. In these films, female scientists are featured as ‘intelligent’, ‘dominant’ and ‘well respected’, adult, white, wearing a lab coat or uniform and working in laboratories and fieldwork. We identified a reconfiguration of the gender stereotype in films in which the female character is about to gain space and visibility. We also analysed films whose sexist foundations in the relationship between scientists and their interlocutors reinforce the reproduction of sexist and heteronormative stereotypes.

Volume 18 • Issue 02 • 2019

Dec 17, 2018 Commentary
Indigenous Australian artists and astrophysicists come together to communicate science and culture via art

by Steven Tingay

During the International Year of Astronomy in 2009, we initiated a collaboration between astrophysicists in Western Australia working toward building the largest telescope on Earth, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), and Indigenous artists living in the region where the SKA is to be built. We came together to explore deep traditions in Indigenous culture, including perspectives of the night sky, and the modern astrophysical understanding of the Universe. Over the course of the year, we travelled as a group and camped at the SKA site, we sat under the stars and shared stories about the constellations, and we talked about the telescopes we wanted to build and how they could sit on the Indigenous traditional country. We found lots of interesting points of connection in our discussions and both artists and astronomers found inspiration. The artists then produced <150 original works of art, curated as an exhibition called “Ilgarijiri — Things belonging to the Sky” in the language of the Wadjarri Yamatji people. This was exhibited in Geraldton, Perth, Canberra, South Africa, Brussels, the U.S.A., and Germany over the course of the next few years. In 2015, the concept went further, connecting with Indigenous artists from South Africa, resulting in the “Shared Sky” exhibition, which now tours the ten SKA member countries. The exhibitions communicate astrophysics and traditional Indigenous stories, as well as carry to the world Indigenous culture and art forms. The process behind the collaboration is an example of the Reconciliation process in Australia, successful through thoughtful and respectful engagements, built around common human experiences and points of contact (the night sky). This Commentary briefly describes the collaboration, its outcomes, and future work.

Volume 17 • Issue 04 • 2018

Jul 24, 2018 Article
Promised future and possible future: science communication and technology at World's Fairs and theme parks

by Susana Herrera-Lima and Daniela Martin

World’s Fairs and scientific-technological theme parks have been
propitious places for the communication of science and technology through
modernity. This work addresses the issue of the construction of public
discourse about the future within these sites, as well as the changing role
attributed to science and technology as mediators in the relationships
between nature and society. In both fairs and parks, science and
technology play a leading role in the construction of the discourse about
the desirable and achievable future. The practices of science
communication and technology have specific forms, strategies and
objectives, depending on the purposes of the discourse enunciators at
different historical moments. This is exemplified through two cases: the
1939 New York World’s Fair and the EPCOT center in the U.S.

Volume 17 • Issue 03 • 2018

Mar 06, 2018 Editorial
AI writing bots are about to revolutionise science journalism: we must shape how this is done

by Mico Tatalovic

The rise of artificial intelligence has recently led to bots writing real news stories about sports, finance and politics. As yet, bots have not turned their attention to science, and some people still mistakenly think science is too complex for bots to write about. In fact, a small number of insiders are now applying AI algorithms to summarise scientific research papers and automatically turn them into simple press releases and news stories. Could the science beat be next in line for automation, potentially making many science reporters --- and even editors --- superfluous to science communication through digital press? Meanwhile, the science journalism community remains largely unaware of these developments, and is not engaged in directing AI developments in ways that could enhance reporting.

Volume 17 • Issue 01 • 2018

Jan 16, 2018 Article
Alter egos: an exploration of the perspectives and identities of science comic creators

by Jordan Collver and Emma Weitkamp

While academic interest in science comics has been growing in recent years, the creators of these materials remain understudied. This research aimed to explore the experiences and views of science comic creators through the lens of science communication. Qualitative, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 science comic creators. Interviewees felt that the visual, narrative, permanent, and approachable qualities of comics made them particularly adept at explaining science and bringing it to new audiences. Science comic creators often had complex identities, occupying an ambiguous territory between `science' and `art', but were otherwise unconcerned with strict definitions. They emphasised the importance of balance between entertaining and informing, striving to create an engaging visual narrative without overcrowding it with facts or compromising scientific accuracy. This balancing act, and how they negotiate it, sheds light on what it means to be a science communicator operating in the space between entertainment and information/education.

Volume 17 • Issue 01 • 2018

Oct 24, 2017 Conference Review
RedPop 2017, a meeting point of cultures and innovations

by Carla Almeida

Marked by the diversity of initiatives linking science and art and by new presentation formats, the 15th Congress of the Network for Popularisation of Science and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean (RedPOP) saw heated debates on science, culture, politics and society. Between 21st and 25th August, it brought together in Buenos Aires (Argentina) about 400 participants from 14 countries in order to share new visions, initiatives and research work in science communication. During the event, which included a vast cultural programme, a series of challenges were raised for the future development of the field.

Volume 16 • Issue 05 • 2017

Dec 16, 2016 Commentary
Science communication and innovation: zooming out for micro-level insights close to reality

by Maarten van der Sanden

Much of science communication is peer-to-peer communication in collaborative networks for innovation from the fuzzy front-end of innovation until the marketing back-end. Scientists and engineers at meetings tables talking about new developments. Or scientists and engineers in collaboration with industry and policy makers, discussing various scenarios for implementation of e.g. health care services. However, this focus on science communication 'within the action' of uncertain development of science and technology and its attached academic domains such as innovation studies, high-tech marketing and branding, is not often discussed in the science communication literature. Lacking these considerations at this micro-level communication, means we have an incomplete picture of the ways that discourses develop and are shaped by actors, particularly during the upstream phases of innovation.

Volume 15 • Issue 06 • 2016

Dec 15, 2015 Article
Combined art and science as a communication pathway in a primary school setting: paper and ice

by Craig Stevens and Gabby O'Connor

A hybrid combination of art and science is used to communicate science in a primary school setting. The purpose of the work is to enhance student awareness of the science behind understanding the global climate system with a focus on the cryosphere. An experiment in communicating science is conducted by taking the collaborative experiences of a professional artist and scientist, which are then combined and projected onto an ostensibly everyday primary school classroom project. The tangible end result is a stand-alone contemporary art work that then is the focal point of community-based promotion of the science and creativity involved. A range of qualitative evaluation elements suggest that the approach does improve student engagement with the scientific approach and reduces the student's uncertainty about ``what science is''.

Volume 14 • Issue 04 • 2015