Empowering local communities through "Talking Science"
Barbara Gorgoni – University of Aberdeen. United Kingdom
Beatriz Goulao – University of Aberdeen United Kingdom
Helen Heaney – University of Aberdeen United Kingdom
Andrea Spence-Jones – Station House Media Unit (shmu) United Kingdom
Science Communication increases science capital, curiosity and knowledge, breaking down barriers between academic institutions and local communities. It is also a powerful tool to improve confidence and aspirations and involve these communities in research.
We will discuss how long-lasting partnerships can be established between universities and local communities through science communication projects, and the outcomes for all those involved, looking also at how the pandemic has affected participation and perception of science and how we’ve adapted our activities accordingly.
The University of Aberdeen has a long-standing relationship with a local charity, Station House Media Unit (shmu) that supports residents in the most disadvantaged areas of the city in media production. In particular, University staff and students work with shmu Youth Media Group (YMG; 10-18 year olds) producing science-based radio shows, videos and podcasts. In 2017 shmu and the University started the “Curiosity” project that successfully engaged young people from the city’s regeneration areas in science activities. We recently secured phase 2 funding, which will support a further 3-year partnership enabling YMG to determine the research content of the activities, based on their interest and relevance to their communities. YMG are also co-creating a “Podcast Camp”, as part of a research project on public/patient involvement in numerical aspects of research, aimed at developing young people’s critical thinking.
We will demonstrate our approach to engaging young people with science and different media platforms and invite young participants to share their experience and showcase their outputs (videos, podcasts and blogs). We will discuss the impact of these projects on researchers, young people, their communities and the University, and how science communication can be used to empower the local community. This partnership also allows a transformation of the relationship between communities and the University, enabling a wider participation of a group traditionally disengaged from research and science.
The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.