Publications included in this section.
In 2020, National Science Week events shifted online in response to Australian COVID-19 restrictions. Our research captures this rapid pivot from in-person to online science events, exploring experiences through audience and presenter questionnaires, and follow-up interviews. We examine characteristics of audiences for online science events, benefits and barriers of these events, and opportunities for online engagement. Key benefits were ease of attendance, new experiences enabled online, and greater control and flexibility. Lack of social interaction, technology issues, and audience reliability were identified as barriers. Our research suggests online events operate in a different sphere to in-person events and informs the delivery of engaging online experiences.
While short-term participatory science communication activities have been well researched, long-term programs have received scant attention. Analysing survey data and participant discussions, I investigated interactions between Australian farmers and scientists engaged in the Climate Champion Program (2009–2016). I compared their interactions to three theorised science communication models: deficit, dialogue and participatory. I found their interactions illustrated a mix of the characteristics of all three models. While farmers and scientists appeared to be motivated to interact by deficit and dialogue objectives, respectful and trusting relationships emerged from long-term participation, which was key to making deficit- and dialogue-style communication more effective.
This study provides a practice insight into campus/community co-farming as a communication experience connecting civic participants and experts in exploring the potential applications of smart agriculture. The observation focuses on participants' perceptions of smart-agri practices. The objectives of smart-agri practices have been identified to reduce negative environmental impact and meet local challenges; their development corresponds to the civic value-driven experience of promoting sustainable agriculture with low-risk, trackable information. Relatively few studies on smart-agri communication have engaged with the non-expert level. The findings highlight a viable participatory communication form of problem-solving, the public's trust of expertise, and a vision for inclusive socio-economic applications of smart agriculture.
Building a strong and trustworthy communication network to report unusual signs of disease will facilitate Australia's response to a foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak. In a four-year study, the FMD Ready Farmer-led surveillance project adopted the Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS) framework, modelling transformation of how knowledge is co-created, valued, and communicated. The FMD Ready project has highlighted the need for multiple stakeholders' voices to be heard, and the importance of regulatory bodies to listen. Relationships take time and need to be valued as a necessary tool in a participatory, innovative approach to animal health and disease management.
From ‘Feed the Birds’ to ‘Do Not Feed the Animals’ takes an engaged approach in which science communication is both process and outcome of the research. The project started in the UK in March 2020, coinciding with government-imposed lockdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; since the project’s engagement had been designed around in-person interactions, a rapid and creative rethink was needed. This paper outlines the redesign of the project and describes a hybrid model of on-line and in-person engagement, integrating new skills and technologies which the pandemic catalysed, with well-established in-person practice in science communication. Our research develops good practice for online, participatory science communication, and supports the advancement of engaged research more widely.
Traditionally, the Royal Institution's Christmas Lectures have always adopted a deficit model for communication, with one or two invited scientists giving lectures to an audience present at the Royal Institution (Ri) and, since 1936, an audience watching the lectures on television at home. As trends in public engagement have tended towards more dialogue or participatory models, the Ri has made efforts to create a programme of events around the lectures: extending the experience outside of the lecture theatre and giving audiences more opportunities to experience live events and participate in discourse. In this paper, we explore data collected as part of an 18 month evaluation of the Christmas Lectures and their associated events. We focus on data collected at events designed to create live and interactive experiences beyond the lectures and evaluate these participatory approaches. The paper shares this learning to enhance the extension of traditional science communication towards science participation.
Citizen science opens the scientific knowledge production process to societal actors. In this novel collaboration process, scientists and citizens alike face the challenge of new tasks and functions, eventually resulting in changing roles. Role theory provides a way of conceptualizing the roles that people take in communication and interaction. We use role theory to create a framework that identifies scientists' and citizens' tasks in citizen science projects, main aims of communication, spaces they interact in, and their roles — thus providing a structured way to capture communication and interaction in and about CS for further scientific reflection and practical application.
Accurate news media reporting of scientific research is important as most people receive their health information from the media and inaccuracies in media reporting can have adverse health outcomes. We completed a quantitative and qualitative analysis of a journal article, the corresponding press release and the online news reporting of a scientific study. Four themes were identified in the press release that were directly translated to the news reports that contributed to inaccuracies: sensationalism, misrepresentation, clinical recommendations and subjectivity. The pressures on journalists, scientists and their institutions has led to a mutually beneficial relationship between these actors that can prioritise newsworthiness ahead of scientific integrity to the detriment of public health.
This essay examines a highly popular comic series published in Spain between 1969 and 1970 which focused on Felix Rodríguez de la Fuente (1928–1980), a prominent and influential naturalist and media icon, as main character. These comics constitute a remarkably illustrative example of the use of popular media in processes of construction of natural history knowledge. Situated in the complex final years of Franco's regime, they allow us to probe the combined role of science, media, and celebrity in the construction of a visual environmental culture through storytelling strategies designed to engage young audiences in naturalist-like practices.
This paper focuses on developing and assessing a non-obtrusive and transformative method, based on virtual reality, to evaluate science communication projects in science centres. The method was tested using deep-sea cutting-edge scientific content. We applied a mixed design, with 72 adult participants randomly assigned to experimental conditions (with/without exhibition exposure). Results showed that the exhibition promoted a better understanding of science. The non-obtrusive measures on awareness and engagement were positively related with questions posed via questionnaire and interview. The study adds theoretical and empirical support to the design and implementation of non-obtrusive and transformative evaluation experiences in science exhibitions in science centres and museums.