Been there, Dunedin that

Professor Richard Holliman, The Open University. Credit: Michael Francis.

Professor Richard Holliman, The Open University. Credit: Michael Francis.

It has been a very productive couple of weeks in New Zealand. Thanks to my wonderful host Nancy Longnecker (and family) I’ve had a chance to explore the local environment. New Zealand is clearly a very beautiful place, interwoven with many cultures.

I’ve had opportunities to meet with staff and students from the Centre for Science Communication during my stay in Dunedin, and more widely from the University of Otago as we’ve explored aspects of culture change in relation to engaged research.

We have discussed aspects of New Zealand’s National Science Challenges, at a time when these islands and their citizens have been facing the very immediate challenge of responding to a series of earthquakes.

Collectively, these challenges require us, as science communicators, to re-double our efforts to create a reflective culture of evidence-based practices as we connect scientists, citizens and other stakeholders in ways that are meaningful and relevant.

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Empowering lifelong citizenship

Professor Richard Holliman, The Open University. Credit: Michael Francis.

Professor Richard Holliman, The Open University. Credit: Michael Francis.

In a recent post on the Guardian Science Policy blog I wrote, among other things, about the need for a vision for citizenship that moves science communication and engagement programmes beyond activities designed for ‘gifted and talented’ children and young people.

‘Cloned’ approaches to public engagement with research
In part, my concerns about this lack of diversity can be traced to research findings that showed how academics limit their framing of publics, purposes and processes when they plan their public engagement activities (Holliman and Jensen, 2009). My concerns were also born out of experience, working with teachers during my PhD research.

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Science for Some, but Not for All

Dr Emily Dawson, University College London

Dr Emily Dawson, University College London

Launchpad, Wonderlab and Gallery Entry Fees at the Science Museum

I only realised last week that the Science Museum was planning to charge visitors to the revamped Launchpad Gallery, now called “Wonderlab: The Statoil Gallery”. If you’ve not visited Launchpad, the then two rooms were filled with hands-on, interactive science exhibits for children, intended to stimulate science learning.

The gallery was re-launched in July with the news that the Science Museum will charge an entry fee to the new gallery (prices start at £6 per child, £8 per adult).

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Border crossings in science communication and engagement

Professor Richard Holliman, The Open University. Credit: Jane Perrone.

Professor Richard Holliman, The Open University. Credit: Jane Perrone.

I’ve just returned from the Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST) Conference in Istanbul, Turkey. It was, in almost every sense of the term, a most extraordinary event, organised with courage, solidarity and warm hospitality in the face of a devastating refugee crisis and political unrest.

The spirit of the conference was captured beautifully by the PCST President Brian Trench at the start of the event. “Let’s talk, let’s laugh, let’s listen”, and we did.

If you haven’t seen Brian’s opening address, you can find the text here (Opening Address).

The 15th international PCST Conference, University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand

The 15th International PCST Conference, University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand

And if you think this is for you, start saving your [insert name of currency here] and come along to the 15th International PCST Conference in April 2018.

The PCST community will meet again at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand; #hugahobbit

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