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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

Apr 20, 2022 Practice Insight
Science communication during COVID-19: when theory meets practice and best practices meet reality

by Christopher D. Wirz, Ashley Cate, Markus Brauer, Dominique Brossard, Lori DiPrete Brown, Kaiping Chen, Pauline Ho, D. Gavin Luter, Haley Madden, Sara Schoenborn, Bret Shaw, Cory Sprinkel, Don Stanley and Gail Sumi

This paper synthesizes the efforts of an interdisciplinary, University-convened communication task force in the U.S. that used science communication theory to develop an effective strategy during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. We outline recommendations for researchers and practitioners who are, or are interested in, implementing theory-based communication practices while describing how we dealt with the unforeseen realities we faced. Overall, we recommend that effective public health and science communication should be based on theory and formative evaluation while relying on established infrastructure, real-time data, a deep understanding of intended target audiences, and intentional coordination with community partners.

Volume 21 • Issue 03 • 2022

Mar 28, 2022 Practice Insight
Participatory science communication needs to consider power, place, pain and ‘poisson’: a practitioner insight

by Anne Leitch

The language of science communication has moved from deficit to dialogue and talk of a ‘new social contract’ with the public ‘invited to participate’. This paper outlines a practitioner path that begins with storytelling and moves to a more participatory mode of practice of science communication for adaptation to climate change at the community scale. I outline personal practitioner reflections, specifically the need to consider issues of power, place, pain and the need to challenge assumptions. I propose the need to consider context, many forms of local knowledge and expertise, social learning, plus the pain of historical, contemporary or projected loss.

Volume 21 • Issue 02 • 2022 • Special Issue Participatory science communication for transformation (PCST2020+1)

Mar 28, 2022 Practice Insight
#finaltrashtination. An art-based intervention to collaboratively generate conversations about climate change

by Franzisca Weder

In this practice insight, an art-based, participatory intervention (#finaltrashtination) is presented as higher education assignment in environmental and climate change communication. The project #finaltrashtination made dominant environmentally destructive ways of wasting visible and stimulated students to take responsibility, advocacy and authorship for transformation. Beyond the one-day eco-culture jam, the project engaged the wider public through conversations about a specific environmental problem. Thus, the project shows how conversational problematization and sensemaking around scientific facts can be initiated by using eco-culture jams promoting very unsettling moments of reflection.

Volume 21 • Issue 02 • 2022 • Special Issue Participatory science communication for transformation (PCST2020+1)

Mar 28, 2022 Practice Insight
Valuing visitors' knowledge: the experience of Association Traces at the crossroads between science communication, participatory activities and social inclusion

by Matteo Merzagora, Claudia Aguirre Rios, Paul Boniface, Clementine Bricout and Celine Martineau

In this “practice insight” we present a series of experiences run by Association Traces, injecting participatory approaches into science engagement activities by valuing the knowledge of the public rather than focusing on their ignorance. Starting from the observation that a sort of hybridization is occurring between cultural activities and public engagement with science on one side, and co-creation and participatory activities on the other, we provide some insight on the features of each approach. Examples are then used to highlight the potential value of this hybridization: as a way of making participatory activity more recognizable and accessible to a wide audience; to ensure that scientists have a professional interest in engaging in the communication activity; to raise a sense of ownership and empowerment in the audience, etc. These examples will eventually show that participation may lead to science communication practices that are socially-inclusive and/or productive for research, and ideally both.

Volume 21 • Issue 02 • 2022 • Special Issue Participatory science communication for transformation (PCST2020+1)