PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology


STEM & Makers Fest/Expo for Public Engagement

Gokhan KAYA  

This study's aim is to show that how STEM and makers festival or expo organizations can use for public engagement of science and technology. As this organization's mission is to stimulate and sustain the interest of nation's youth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by producing and presenting compelling, exciting, and educational festival in their region. Moreover, celebrating STEM through stellar, multi-faceted programs with high entertainment value and integrity of scientific content, that is accessible to the general public. According to Royal Society research (2006) scientist and engineers, 69% of whom agreed or strongly agreed, would be happy to take part in a science engagement activity that was organized by someone. This points to the importance of the substructure of science engagement: science centers, science festival and science expo all help to provide the places and occasions for public/scientist dialogue (Bennett & Jennings, 2011).

For that reason, we would like to share our experiences that comes from STEM and Makers' fest/expo Turkey 2015, which was organized by Hacettepe University and some associated partners. Our festival targets were to build the nation's largest network of individuals, institutions, corporations and organizations with a similar focus, resulting in increased collaboration between the scientific and educational communities. Around 1500 participants, who age of 5 until 60, joined in this organization through 2 festival days. There were 26 different workshops, 21 different company stands, over 50 poster presentations and hands-on activity areas. Furthermore, two different international scientists conducted some workshop. During the organization, we conducted some semi-structure interviews to understand public engagement in the festival as such. Besides that, we collected some video data and images to show how participant gets in interaction with scientist or science materials while they were working together or by self. Analysis processes of the data are in progress.

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