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Aug 03, 2020 Practice Insight
Free Bright Conversations — meaningful participatory activities for the communication of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

by Manuel Ballatore and Marie Bartsch

Political, economic and social actors have begun to implement the 17 SDGs (UN 2030 Agenda) to build a desirable future for everyone. To reach this goal, a mix of systemic alteration and individual change is needed. “Free Bright Conversations” is a dialogue-based science communication event developed at MUSE-Science Museum in Trento that focuses on people's engagement with sustainable development. The paper describes the format and provides an evaluation based on preliminary data collected on two occasions. The authors conclude that participatory science communication furthers involvement with our common, sustainable future.

Volume 19 • Issue 04 • 2020

Feb 05, 2019 Article
Panel-based exhibit using participatory design elements may motivate behavior change

by Lisa Lundgren, Kathryn Stofer, Betty Dunckel, Janice Krieger, Makenna Lange and Vaughan James

Meaningful science engagement beyond one-way outreach is needed to encourage science-based decision making. This pilot study aimed to instigate dialogue and deliberation concerning climate change and public health. Feedback from science café participants was used to design a panel-based museum exhibit that asked visitors to make action plans concerning such issues. Using intercept interviews and visitor comment card data, we found that visitors developed general or highly individualistic action plans to address these issues. Results suggest that employing participatory design methods when developing controversial socio-scientific exhibits can aid engagement. We conclude by recommending participatory strategies for implementing two-way science communication.

Volume 18 • Issue 02 • 2019

Dec 17, 2018 Commentary
Engaging Caribbean island communities with indigenous heritage and archaeology research

by Tibisay Sankatsing Nava and Corinne Hofman

This paper describes community engagement activities with indigenous heritage and archaeology research in the Caribbean. The practice of local community engagement with the archaeological research process and results can contribute to retelling the indigenous history of the Caribbean in a more nuanced manner, and to dispel the documentary biases that originated and were perpetuated from colonial times. From the conception of the ERC-Synergy NEXUS 1492 research project, a key aim has been to engage local communities and partners in the research process and collaboratively explore how the research results can be positively incorporated in contemporary cultural heritage. In the context of community engagement with scientific research, this paper explores the question of who represents a community and highlights key examples in community participation in archaeological research. These examples emphasize participation throughout the research process, from the development of research questions, to data analysis, dissemination and conservation action.

Volume 17 • Issue 04 • 2018

Aug 24, 2017 Conference Review
Citizen science: an emerging professional field united in truth-seeking

by Joseph Roche and Nicola Davis

CONFERENCE: Citizen Science Association Conference, Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A., 17–20th May 2017

The second biennial Citizen Science Association Conference was held from the 17–20th of May 2017 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The conference is the biggest of its kind in the world and brought together more than 1,000 delegates for hundreds of conference presentations as well as workshops, panels, screenings, a hackathon and a citizen science festival. In this paper we review the history of the conference and outline the key events leading up to the 2017 conference.

Volume 16 • Issue 04 • 2017

Feb 02, 2017 Letter
Should the science communication community play a role in political activism?

by Joseph Roche and Nicola Davis

This letter reflects on how the role of science in society evolved in 2016. While there were plenty of groundbreaking scientific discoveries, the shifting political landscape cultivated a tempestuous relationship between science and society. We discuss these developments and the potential role of the science communication community in political activism.

Volume 16 • Issue 01 • 2017

Jan 21, 2016 Article
"We're not going to be guinea pigs;" Citizen Science and Environmental Health in a Native American Community

by Elizabeth Hoover

Determined to learn the extent to which a local contaminated site was impacting community health, the Native American community of Akwesasne reached out to a research university, eventually partnering on the first large-scale environmental health community based participatory research project (CBPR). Based on interviews with scientists, community fieldworkers, and study participants, this article examines the ways in which collaborating on these studies was beneficial for all parties — especially in the context of citizen science goals of education and capacity building — as well as the challenges they faced, including communicating the limits of what scientific studies could accomplish for the community.

Volume 15 • Issue 01 • 2016 • Special Issue: Citizen Science, Part I, 2016

Sep 29, 2015 Commentary
Moving beyond the seductive siren of reach: planning for the social and economic impacts emerging from school-university engagement with research

by Richard Holliman and Gareth Davies

In the past 25 years school-university partnerships have undergone a transition from ad hoc to strategic partnerships. Over the previous two-and-a-half-years we have worked in partnership with teachers and pupils from the Denbigh Teaching School Alliance in Milton Keynes, UK.
Our aims have been to encourage the Open University and local schools in Milton Keynes to value, recognise and support school-university engagement with research, and to create a culture of reflective practice.
Through our work we have noted a lack of suitable planning tools that work for researchers, teachers and pupils. Here we propose a flexible and adaptable metric to support stakeholders as they plan for, enact and evaluate direct and meaningful engagement between researchers, teachers and pupils. The objective of the metric is to make transparent the level of activity required of the stakeholders involved — teachers, pupils and researchers — whilst also providing a measure for institutions and funders to assess the relative depth of engagement; in effect, to move beyond the seductive siren of reach.

Volume 14 • Issue 03 • 2015