GlobalSCAPE develops workshop materials dedicated to scicomm practitioners. Our project partner Jon Chase, from Leiden University, has spent the past months working on this material with the aim to make it globally relevant and applicable in different local contexts. Today, he tells us more about this process.
Jon, can you tell us a bit about yourself? What is your role in GlobalSCAPE?
I’m a science communicator, author and science rapper who is currently working at Leiden University, Netherlands on GlobalSCAPE. I’ve spent fifteen years as a science communicator, interacting with a wide range of audiences and have co-authored a number of popular science books, including The Science of Star Wars and The Science of Jurassic World. I’ve also presented and talked about science and technology on numerous television and YouTube channels. In 2017 I was awarded the UK’s Josh Award in Science Communication.
For GlobalSCAPE I’m working on a set of open access workshop materials that aim to be globally relevant and applicable to a range of science communication practitioners.
In GlobalSCAPE, you have developed workshop material. Could you tell us more about? How was the development process?
The materials are based around four modules, chosen for their potential to address areas that have been identified as lacking within science communication training and also for their potential impact on society. These modules consider
- A glocalised approach to science communication,
- Exploring SciComm as an ecosystem,
- Issues of Justice, equity, diversity and Inclusion in scicomm, and
- Scicomm for sustainable development.
The target audience is science communication practitioners from various stakeholder groups and is intended to be used and adapted as needed by different stakeholders from different global regions, depending on their needs. It is intended that practitioners can choose whatever feels most relevant to them, to get new ideas and approaches for how they can use Science Communication to achieve broader impacts within society.
My whole approach from the outset of this project was to explore new ways of considering and approaching science communication. As such it hasn’t been a very straightforward process. Many of the things I have brought together do not seem to have been given a lot of specific attention within scicomm, particularly on a global level. The global aspect has proven particularly challenging as well, due to the vast differences in approaches, audiences, languages, needs, representation, funding, government support etc. There is also a huge need to get feedback from our scicomm colleagues around the world, whose valuable knowledge and experiences are still somewhat undocumented on a global level. We hope the diary study can inform this deficit somewhat but ultimately, the major benefit will be seen when local communicators adapt and utilise these materials to suit their needs, and hopefully be prepared to feedback any lessons learnt
Your material covers the notion of “Glocalised” scicomm. What does it mean and why is this important for scicomm?
A Glocalised approach to scicomm is about experiencing the global locally or through local lenses. So on the one hand it considers the scope of scicomm activities being extended for global application. Importantly this is not about ideas just travelling from the ‘West to the rest’, but more about science communicators looking further afield for inspiration, partnership and impact within science communication. On the other hand, it is about taking these diverse global approaches and adapting them to suit local needs and circumstances, which is a practice that we should be doing within science communication anyway, to improve relevance and potential impact of our activities.
As a result of modern transport and communications we are increasingly coming into contact with and becoming reliant on circumstances that are global in nature, whether it be global audiences, global issues (i.e. Climate change, sustainability, Covid-19), or global sources of research or funding. However, often we still only regard things from our own localised perspective, which makes sense but I would argue that identifying ways to interact with a wider regional variety of actors can help to foster both global and local networks of science communication. Ultimately, we would hope this helps the field to become more responsive to the increasingly diverse landscapes in which science communication takes place.
A lot of educational resources already exist, what is the added value of the one produced by the GlobalSCAPE project?
Mostly it is that these resources intentionally have global awareness as a key focus. We are not saying that we have reviewed or considered all of the ideas and approaches of the world, a task that is much more immense than the scope of this current project. However, we have taken pains to incorporate a wide variety of global experiences, perspectives and circumstances in order to highlight the diverse applicability of science communication nowadays.
Also, these resources are open access and open source, so they can (and should) be adapted and used as is needed and relevant within different locales and circumstances. The important thing is that science communicators take on a reflexive attitude when approaching their practice and we hope that anyone who is inspired to use these resources, can build upon them in a way that is responsive to their local needs, and isn’t afraid to challenge mainstreamed perspectives held within science communication practice and research, that is often skewed towards a Western perspective.
What do you hope the participants will take away from the workshop?
It depends on which module(s) they undertake but I would generally hope that participants become more aware of the diverse ways in which science communication can act within societies across the globe. Also, the hope is that the approaches considered in the modules will inspire more communicators to find new ways of using science communication to create meaningful impact within their local communities and also beyond national borders.