Is it possible to export science communication models out of the country where they were bom? How many modifications are necessary to make them effective when applied in foreign cultures? We would like to discuss this argument starting from our experience inside the Italian National Institute for the Physics of Matter, which started, nine years ago, a research line devoted to communication of science. The INFM staffs involved in these activities has chosen an approach which reflects his nature: as we are primarily scientists, and not journalists or pedagogues, we decided to start from contents, i.e. from a deep knowledge of the presented matter, in order to have high chance to communicate right concepts, experimenting different strategies to pursue this objective. We tried several approaches, experimented different ideas and improved our skills and techniques, through interaction with different categories of science communicators and their strategies. The kind of actions we undertook ranges from multimedia instruments to distance e-learning, from scientific journalism to radio programs, from conferences to hands-on exhibitions; started in a national context, many project have been extended in foreign countries: some European states, as well as some extra-European states, as South Africa, China, Australia, Japan, Cuba; some projects were born from cooperation between European states, or cooperation between European and Asian countries. In all these cases, we realized that not only content but also the cultural and social background in which the project is carried on is important: models effective for a country are not effective for other ones. For institutions as our Institute, whose aim is to diffuse science, the cultural and social aspect is an important parameter to consider. The problem is probably less crucial for Science Centres or private institutions located in a specific country and more interested in capturing the attention of local public.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Exporting and adapting science communication models in foreign countries

Marco Bianucci   INFM-CNR and Department of Physics of Parma University

Roberto Fieschi   INFM-CNR and Department of Physics of Parma University

Silvia Merlino   INFM-CNR and Department of Physics of Parma University

Is it possible to export science communication models out of the country where they were bom? How many modifications are necessary to make them effective when applied in foreign cultures? We would like to discuss this argument starting from our experience inside the Italian National Institute for the Physics of Matter, which started, nine years ago, a research line devoted to communication of science. The INFM staffs involved in these activities has chosen an approach which reflects his nature: as we are primarily scientists, and not journalists or pedagogues, we decided to start from contents, i.e. from a deep knowledge of the presented matter, in order to have high chance to communicate right concepts, experimenting different strategies to pursue this objective. We tried several approaches, experimented different ideas and improved our skills and techniques, through interaction with different categories of science communicators and their strategies. The kind of actions we undertook ranges from multimedia instruments to distance e-learning, from scientific journalism to radio programs, from conferences to hands-on exhibitions; started in a national context, many project have been extended in foreign countries: some European states, as well as some extra-European states, as South Africa, China, Australia, Japan, Cuba; some projects were born from cooperation between European states, or cooperation between European and Asian countries. In all these cases, we realized that not only content but also the cultural and social background in which the project is carried on is important: models effective for a country are not effective for other ones. For institutions as our Institute, whose aim is to diffuse science, the cultural and social aspect is an important parameter to consider. The problem is probably less crucial for Science Centres or private institutions located in a specific country and more interested in capturing the attention of local public.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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