The journey taken by scientific information, which travels from within the institutes where it is generated to the members of general audiences, can be tortuous. When scientists and/or communicators of  science interact with different social actors, many prejudices and misunderstandings arise. One of them has to do with the fact that there are epistemic asymmetries between the participants in these communication of science actions. Usually, those scientists who are willing to communicate their work during fairs or public lectures are convinced that people will not understand them. Even more worrying is the fact that the members of those audiences do not trust their capability to understand scientific knowledge or to participate in the debates about scientific information. Hence, one of the main problems that arise between members of the scientific community and other communities is the distrust of the participants about their own knowledge. This mistrust can even stop the dialogue between scientists and other communities. But, what happens when two communities belonging to professional areas that seem very  different have horizontal dialogues to create new proposals both in communication of science and art? In this paper I will report the experience of the Communication of Science Unit of the Nuclear Sciences Institute of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, which promoted several encounters between a group of contemporary artists from the Laboratorio Arte Alameda Cultural Center and a group of scientists expert in the nuclear sciences. In particular, I will talk about the difficulties in the interaction that arise from the nature of the different disciplines and the products of this interaction, which consisted of sculptures, performances and new ways of communicating science.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Art in a science institute?

Gabriela Frías Villegas   Nuclear Sciences Institute, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico

The journey taken by scientific information, which travels from within the institutes where it is generated to the members of general audiences, can be tortuous. When scientists and/or communicators of  science interact with different social actors, many prejudices and misunderstandings arise. One of them has to do with the fact that there are epistemic asymmetries between the participants in these communication of science actions. Usually, those scientists who are willing to communicate their work during fairs or public lectures are convinced that people will not understand them. Even more worrying is the fact that the members of those audiences do not trust their capability to understand scientific knowledge or to participate in the debates about scientific information. Hence, one of the main problems that arise between members of the scientific community and other communities is the distrust of the participants about their own knowledge. This mistrust can even stop the dialogue between scientists and other communities. But, what happens when two communities belonging to professional areas that seem very  different have horizontal dialogues to create new proposals both in communication of science and art? In this paper I will report the experience of the Communication of Science Unit of the Nuclear Sciences Institute of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, which promoted several encounters between a group of contemporary artists from the Laboratorio Arte Alameda Cultural Center and a group of scientists expert in the nuclear sciences. In particular, I will talk about the difficulties in the interaction that arise from the nature of the different disciplines and the products of this interaction, which consisted of sculptures, performances and new ways of communicating science.

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

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