In a Science Shop, a great amount of success relies on communication, specifically on science communication. Communication impacts the very beginning of the process (how to contact with communities you can collaborate with), and it should be very well led through the research design and during the research as well – unless you can’t effectively co-conduct your research with the various kinds of organizations or civil society groups you work with in a Science Shop. Good science communication underpins the engagement of the society for research, such as the engagement of policymakers. It also increases the impact of the research in the local environment of the civil society group involved in the research. Science communication also develops the mutual learning process of the stakeholders of community-based research.
The Science Communication Unit of the University of the West of England is famous for combining theory and practice and is renowned for its innovative perspective of engaging the public with science. The Applied science communication: connecting people, creating events module provides a broad theoretical foundation in issues such as the rationale for public engagement with science, understanding the audience, communication theory and models of informal learning. However, this module was held entirely online. We had online seminars with the tutors. A number of other possibilities were ensured to ask questions or assess the tasks we had to complete. As the course was very practice-oriented, through some exercises, I could ask the tutors for some guidance. Their invaluable advice helped me put forward an event of our participatory research, ‘InVisible Green’ (one of our mini-projects of InSPIRES), a science communication event about an endangered snake for partially sighted people.
The module of the University of the West of England established my knowledge. It gave me very good training on audience engagement models, communication project planning, face to face activities and the ways to transform them online, facilitation skills, techniques of reaching new audiences, and entire project-communication evaluation. And above all, this programme helped me better define and understand the important factors to consider for designing and delivering successful science communication or a participatory science activity and the adjustment of our research protocol to civil society groups.
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