PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology


Co-created science communication
'Democratising engagement' through co-created exhibition

Jenny Rock  

Creative representation and visual narratives provide effective and compelling means for the public to document and share local environmental knowledge. Co-creating exhibitions of such material builds process-based collaborative conceptual practice. This in turn produces constructive mutual (democratised) interaction between a range of participants, from the collective 'public' to the professional/expert(s). This presentation describes the design, implementation and assessment of a platform for publicly co-created science communication. We summarise details of the conceptual design and construction of a mobile exhibition platform for co-creation, before presenting examples of its initial implementation. Two case studies are introduced, detailing quite different implementations: (1) an exhibition on water quality and a citizen monitoring group, co-created between the group ('Healthy Harbour Watchers') and a postgraduate student; and (2) an exhibition co-created between a small island community and a professional artist about local conservation management methods. We describe the extended implementation of the latter as a traveling exhibition serving to prime critical dialogue and participation in other communities initiating locally-run conservation work. For both case studies we provide an assessment of the process of co-creation, and also of each exhibition's apparent impact on its viewing public. A range of assessment foci and methodologies are implemented, including action research, reflective journaling, and visual research on the production of critical reflection, dialogue and active participation. These results contribute to developing a putative framework for facilitating co-created science communication exhibitions.

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