Recent research has identified recurring issues in PCST with “underserved” or “nondominant” groups. Those groups differ by country and culture. They include racial or ethnic minorities, groups with low socioeconomic status, indigenous communities, women (rarely men), people with physical or mental disabilities, and others. Some projects focus on how to “reach out” to these groups, while other projects identify cultural differences between dominant or mainstream science groups and other groups, and seek to understand how cultural differences affect community responses to science. This panel will present current research on the relationship of PCST with underserved audiences, as well as international perspectives on the practice of working with those groups. Presentations: UNITED  KINGDOM: The Wellcome Trust‘s 2012 review of informal science learning in the UNITED KINGDOM examines and analyses the evidence on the provision of informal science learning and its value to science education. This talk will highlight the finding that certain audiences, including young people from low socio-economic status families, are being underserved by the informal learning community. The talk will explore why young people from disadvantaged backgrounds often have the most to gain from informal learning experiences. The talk will discuss how to address this issue, using secondary research exploring what such young people would most engage with or value with regards to informal learning experiences. USA: The US National Research Council’s 2009 report on “Learning Science in Informal Environments” identified diversity as a crosscutting issue affecting learning in everyday environments, in designed spaces, and in programs for informal science learning. A key finding was that few outreach programs recognize the cultural dimensions that shape how learners in different communities respond to science. Nonetheless, the report found, informal environments provide a particularly effective way of engaging diverse audiences in science. This talk will summarize the report‘s findings on working  with diverse audiences. MEXICO: Science communicators in Mexico engage in complicated social dialogues to reach minorities: the country’s population speaks 56 different languages, and 12% of indigenous citizens aged 6-14 do not attend school. This talk will provide examples of activities designed to reach these audiences. Mexican museums launched a program to include children living in the streets into museum life. It showed how science can be an invitation and museum spaces can be a connecting social point, a space for transformation. The Mexican Academy of Sciences started an outreach program to bring science into jail. Sunday conferences are designed for both prisoners and their families: people gather to enjoy, listen and talk about science inside prison. SOUTH AFRICA: In South Africa, the underserved are still predominantly Black (a broad term including Black, coloured and Indian people, all those previously disenfranchised), and especially people in the rural areas. These people are generally of low economic status. Even where status has improved, most have parents who were exposed to South Africa’s Apartheid education laws. This talk will discuss the role of South Africa’s CSIR in creating opportunities for PCST serving disadvantaged audiences, and the dynamics
of Parliament’s oversight of programs serving the disadvantaged. AUSTRALIA: The Inspiring Australia initiative is a nationwide set of recommendations to promote public engagement with science, with a specific recommendation to identify disadvantaged groups and provide science outreach for them. This talk will focus on one particular program. The context is that migrant and refugee children in Australia are offered special coaching in literacy and numeracy but with no focus on science education. As a result, many are unaware of opportunities a science education will open up for them. In a program funded through Inspiring Australia, disadvantaged migrant students have been introduced to science and to scientific opportunities with a view  to fostering careers in scientific disciplines. This talk will describe the program and its outcomes. BRAZIL: Many challenges of public communication of science in Brazil are due to the role of inequities. One of the inequities that plays 67 an important role is regional inequity. Brazil has a big population living far from cultural centers with little or no access  to proper scientific information. Various Science Trucks projects have grown in recent years targeting those audiences. This talk will describe one project of this kind from Museu da Vida, called  “Mobile Science  -  Life and Health for all.”  The talk will report data about the visitors, including their profile, expectations and the individual impact over the visitors, especially teachers from the local education system.

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 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Research and practice on reaching underserved audiences

Stephanie Sinclair   Wellcome Trust, United Kingdom

Maria Emilia Beyer   Universum, Mexico

Azeza Fredericks   Council for Scientific & Industrial Research, South Africa

Susan Stocklmayer   Universidade Nacional da Austrália, Australia

Diego Vaz Bevilaqua   Museu da Vida/Casa de Oswaldo Cruz/Fiocruz, Brazil

Bruce Lewenstein – Cornell University, United States

Recent research has identified recurring issues in PCST with “underserved” or “nondominant” groups. Those groups differ by country and culture. They include racial or ethnic minorities, groups with low socioeconomic status, indigenous communities, women (rarely men), people with physical or mental disabilities, and others. Some projects focus on how to “reach out” to these groups, while other projects identify cultural differences between dominant or mainstream science groups and other groups, and seek to understand how cultural differences affect community responses to science. This panel will present current research on the relationship of PCST with underserved audiences, as well as international perspectives on the practice of working with those groups. Presentations: UNITED  KINGDOM: The Wellcome Trust‘s 2012 review of informal science learning in the UNITED KINGDOM examines and analyses the evidence on the provision of informal science learning and its value to science education. This talk will highlight the finding that certain audiences, including young people from low socio-economic status families, are being underserved by the informal learning community. The talk will explore why young people from disadvantaged backgrounds often have the most to gain from informal learning experiences. The talk will discuss how to address this issue, using secondary research exploring what such young people would most engage with or value with regards to informal learning experiences. USA: The US National Research Council’s 2009 report on “Learning Science in Informal Environments” identified diversity as a crosscutting issue affecting learning in everyday environments, in designed spaces, and in programs for informal science learning. A key finding was that few outreach programs recognize the cultural dimensions that shape how learners in different communities respond to science. Nonetheless, the report found, informal environments provide a particularly effective way of engaging diverse audiences in science. This talk will summarize the report‘s findings on working  with diverse audiences. MEXICO: Science communicators in Mexico engage in complicated social dialogues to reach minorities: the country’s population speaks 56 different languages, and 12% of indigenous citizens aged 6-14 do not attend school. This talk will provide examples of activities designed to reach these audiences. Mexican museums launched a program to include children living in the streets into museum life. It showed how science can be an invitation and museum spaces can be a connecting social point, a space for transformation. The Mexican Academy of Sciences started an outreach program to bring science into jail. Sunday conferences are designed for both prisoners and their families: people gather to enjoy, listen and talk about science inside prison. SOUTH AFRICA: In South Africa, the underserved are still predominantly Black (a broad term including Black, coloured and Indian people, all those previously disenfranchised), and especially people in the rural areas. These people are generally of low economic status. Even where status has improved, most have parents who were exposed to South Africa’s Apartheid education laws. This talk will discuss the role of South Africa’s CSIR in creating opportunities for PCST serving disadvantaged audiences, and the dynamics
of Parliament’s oversight of programs serving the disadvantaged. AUSTRALIA: The Inspiring Australia initiative is a nationwide set of recommendations to promote public engagement with science, with a specific recommendation to identify disadvantaged groups and provide science outreach for them. This talk will focus on one particular program. The context is that migrant and refugee children in Australia are offered special coaching in literacy and numeracy but with no focus on science education. As a result, many are unaware of opportunities a science education will open up for them. In a program funded through Inspiring Australia, disadvantaged migrant students have been introduced to science and to scientific opportunities with a view  to fostering careers in scientific disciplines. This talk will describe the program and its outcomes. BRAZIL: Many challenges of public communication of science in Brazil are due to the role of inequities. One of the inequities that plays 67 an important role is regional inequity. Brazil has a big population living far from cultural centers with little or no access  to proper scientific information. Various Science Trucks projects have grown in recent years targeting those audiences. This talk will describe one project of this kind from Museu da Vida, called  “Mobile Science  -  Life and Health for all.”  The talk will report data about the visitors, including their profile, expectations and the individual impact over the visitors, especially teachers from the local education system.

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

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