PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology



Mildrey Mendoza  

The Administrative Department of Science, Technology and Innovation of Colombia (Colciencias) has among its objectives that of fostering a culture of knowledge in Colombia's population in order for scientific and technological knowledge production to be valued in a positive way. To achieve this, Colciencias has developed a strategy named Strategy for the Social Appropriation of Science, Technology and Innovation, which comprises four lines of action. One of those lines is that of Communication Focused on Science, Technology and Society (CTS).

To foster the development of communication processes with approaches different from spreading messages through mass media, there were announced two calls -541 of 2011 and 623 of 2013- to build a bank of projects that were able to help point out that science, technology and innovation outreach must surpass the mere proposition of specialized spaces and contents for general audiences. In Colombia, it is usual that the non-specialized public gets to know the final findings of research projects, the finished products of scientific activities, but they ignore the context, processes and ways of knowledge production or technological innovation. Deformed or incomplete visions of science and technology emerge as a result of this situation.

Within the frame of these two calls, thirteen communication processes were funded. These processes were analyzed by Colciencas, and they allow us to affirm that appropriation processes require the design of communicative strategies that be close to the subject communities and emerge from their needs. These are participative communication processes that demand interdisciplinary alliances and that must accept modifications in accordance to the interests of all the actors involved. Co-construction scenarios are a constant, it is not possible to impose, and the work dynamics lead relationships to become exigent and dynamic, since they call for real spaces for interaction.

CTS communication processes are not built just in one way -from the one who knows to the one who does not, from the expert to the one not considered as such-. In relation to media production, lessons are wide and diverse. Among these, it is to be highlighted the acknowledgment of audiences and publics' importance in the design of production formats that go beyond magazines, news programs or interviews and tackle arising formats such as reality shows or more traditional ones like radio soap operas. This, always under a critical scope conscious of the implications of awareness or ignorance in regards to scientific and technological development. The role that every person plays -regardless of how it is considered or recognized- is fundamental. Everybody counts in these communicative processes: teachers, students, community agents, just to mention a few.

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