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Sep 18, 2023 Practice Insight
How to save the world with zombies? — A scientainment approach to engage young people

by Petra Bättig-Frey, Mirjam West, Rahel Skelton and Verena Berger

When trying to sensitize adolescents for sustainability, innovative communication approaches are needed. In the outdoor escape “Zombie mission”, players follow a story and try to save the world by solving puzzles about sustainability topics with scientific information found in the university gardens. This study investigates to whom this scientainment approach appeals and whether it can impart knowledge and raise interest in science and the environment. A mixed methods approach was adopted using questionnaires and interviews. The results suggest that the game is a promising tool for communicating sustainability to adolescents, even those who may not have had prior interest in the environment or science. Participants enjoyed the activity and gained new knowledge as a result.

Volume 22 • Issue 05 • 2023

Jul 24, 2023 Practice Insight
Opening museums' science communication to dialogue and participation: the “Experimental Field for Participation and Open Science” at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

by Wiebke Rössig, Bonnie Dietermann, Yori Schultka, Suriya Poieam and Uwe Moldrzyk

The Museum für Naturkunde Berlin (Natural History Museum — MfN) established participation and exchange as central elements of the entire institution alongside its research. In order to experiment with formats and settings for dialogue-oriented exchange and participation, an area within the exhibition round walk was designated for this purpose in 2018. Over the course of three years, the “Experimental Field for Participation and Open Science” has developed the practice of opening the museum's research and collection in a dialogue-oriented, participatory way. Focus lies on museum visitors and on reaching new groups who are not in close contact with science yet. The practice of opening and participation was tested, reflectively accompanied, and further developed during the whole time period. This article describes the idea, concept, design, and the results of the external evaluation of the formats of dialogue-oriented and participatory outreach in the Experimental Field at the MfN. It gives an overview of underlying ideas, design of the space, and how the goal of creating mutually beneficial encounters and enabling participation and co-creation was addressed.

Volume 22 • Issue 04 • 2023

Jun 20, 2023 Practice Insight
Promoting sustainable mobility in communities with citizen participation: approaches, perspectives and results of a Living Lab in Germany

by Madlen Günther, Simone Martinetz, Josef F. Krems and Bernd Bienzeisler

The present contribution deals with a practical insight into the design, implementation, and evaluation of different participation formats (on-site, direct mail, online) to participate in a living lab. A total sample of 290 citizens was recruited to promote sustainable mobility (i.e. walking and cycling) and improve urban space quality. Results further address the influence of participation methodology on participants' evaluation, willingness to participate and reported satisfaction with the participation used as well as predictors for participation satisfaction. Although the sample was not representative, the results suggest that citizen participation contributed to a more sustainable mobility awareness and a higher acceptance of the urban transformation.

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

Jun 20, 2023 Practice Insight
Living labs as third places: low-threshold participation, empowering hospitality, and the social infrastructuring of continuous presence

by Christian Pentzold, Ingmar Rothe and Andreas Bischof

In this practice insight contribution, we reflect on our learnings from configuring and upholding a living lab as a third place in an urban and distinctively non-academic environment. Trying to make space for an empowering hospitality necessitated withholding our schemes and workshop plans so to facilitate grassroots endeavors on the side of the people dropping in and staying around though they might follow unexpected paths. This follows no blueprint but requires researchers and science communicators to be open to surprises, to be patient and persistent, and to be willing to swap positions and be the learners, not the instructors. While the physical and technical infrastructures were at one point installed, keeping the social infrastructuring of continuous presence running remains an open issue that requires us to rethink how to fund and support living labs and their mission in the long run.

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

Jun 05, 2023 Practice Insight
Life and Death on the Tuapeka Goldfields — stakeholder input for a community museum's bioarchaeology-based exhibit

by Ruby Parker and Nancy Longnecker

This practice insight describes community consultation and creation of an exhibit that was installed in a local museum to share findings from research involving excavations of historic cemeteries. Two individuals who had been buried in unmarked sites in historic cemeteries in the town of Lawrence, in the Otago region of New Zealand were exhumed for bioarchaeological research that included biochemical methods. Results were combined with cultural and environmental information from the Otago goldrush era to reconstruct lives of these settlers and tell their stories in the exhibit described here. Community values about exhibit representations related to human remains were explored through 16 semi-structured stakeholder interviews. Interviewees overwhelmingly but not unanimously supported the creation of an exhibit about this research. Interviewees recommended things to exclude from the exhibit (human remains or images of them) as well as information and objects to include. Information was compiled from multiple sources, including: existing bioarchaeological research findings; interviews with descendant groups, community, and other stakeholders; and historical archives. Information from these multiple sources was combined to create osteobiographies of two individuals — a woman and a Chinese journeyman — who had lived in Lawrence during the goldrush period (1850–1910). These osteobiographies formed the basis of an exhibit that was created and installed in a community museum in the town where their graves were located.

Volume 22 • Issue 02 • 2023

May 29, 2023 Practice Insight
Active ingredients of science communication impact: a quantitative study at a science festival

by Madelijn Strick and Stephanie Helfferich

This quantitative survey study aimed to identify “active ingredients” of a science festival in The Netherlands. Active ingredients are the elements of science communication activities that drive the impact on visitors' knowledge, attitudes, or behavior. Factor analyses of data from on-site surveys conducted in two different festival years (Total N=456) revealed three active ingredients: personal relevance, accessibility, and interactivity. Furthermore, the analyses revealed two impacts: increased knowledge/insight and increased familiarity with science. The strongest predictor of impact was personal relevance, which denotes the feeling that the festival activities touched on visitors' emotions and personal life.

Volume 22 • Issue 02 • 2023

Mar 06, 2023 Practice Insight
Contemporary multimedia applications in the cultural communication discourse of the museum

by Ádám Kuttner and Andrea Kárpáti

AR/VR applications are gaining prominence in exhibition communication. In this field research project, we developed an assessment model to identify major AV/VR application types and their functions. We then used this model to describe 32 contemporary multimedia exhibition applications in 12 countries. During our visits to the exhibitions, we assumed the perspective of the non-specialist visitor to better identify communicative effects of AR/VR applications and compare them with traditional guides developed for similar exhibitions. Our results show that these innovative sources of information may significantly contribute to visitor enjoyment as well as knowledge gain and retention.

Volume 22 • Issue 01 • 2023

Oct 26, 2022 Practice Insight
Our Ocean Climate Story: connecting communities with local data

by Cathy Cole, Gianna Savoie and Sally Carson

The ocean has a vast capacity for absorbing heat and carbon dioxide, seriously threatening local habitats for marine life. Challenges in connecting wider society with this crisis may originate in its poor visibility for non-specialists: the data can be inaccessible and hard to relate to. In a series of immersive community workshops, participants created artworks combining recent physical ocean climate data recorded in Otago, New Zealand, with impacts on local species from published studies. We found that crafting visual stories was a powerful way to distill greater meaning from complex climate data, and engage participants with harmful changes underway locally.

Volume 21 • Issue 06 • 2022

Sep 19, 2022 Practice Insight
The culture of science communication in rural and regional Australia: the role of awe and wonder

by Saba Sinai, Lisa Caffery and Amy Cosby

Experiences of awe and wonder are vital to science and innovation. In this practice insight we explore how these emotions shape the culture of science communication. In doing so, we examine how exclusively nature- and place-based experiences for awe and wonder are often features of resource-limited settings. We then describe strategies for awe- and wonder-centred science communication beyond reliance on nature or the power of place by detailing a successful hybrid resourcing model in a rural Australian science centre. We finish by describing the role of science communicators in engaging potential collaborators to enable science communication in resource-limited settings.

Volume 21 • Issue 06 • 2022

May 02, 2022 Practice Insight
A standard for public consultation on science communication: the CONCISE project experience

by Carolina Llorente, Gema Revuelta, Malgorzata Dziminska, Izabela Warwas, Aneta Krzewińska and Carolina Moreno

Citizen consultations are public participation mechanisms designed to inform public policy and promote public dialogue. This article describes a deliberative consultation conducted within the CONCISE project framework. The aim was to gather qualitative knowledge about the means and channels through which European citizens acquire science-related knowledge, and how these influence their opinions and perceptions with respect to four socially relevant topics: vaccines, complementary and alternative medicine, genetically modified organisms, and climate change. In 2019, the CONCISE project carried out five citizen consultations in Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Italy and Portugal to explore the understanding of nearly 500 citizens, enabling the development of a standard for the carrying out of citizen consultations on science communication.

Volume 21 • Issue 03 • 2022