The 2013 convening | AGENDA

  There was energetic conversation  about the difference between aiming to achieve some specific audience impact (such as, learning) and aiming to express something artistically or personally.

There was energetic conversation about the difference between aiming to achieve some specific audience impact (such as, learning) and aiming to express something artistically or personally.

We went into the convening wanting to hear our participants think out loud about the dimensions on which change is occurring most fundamentally and rapidly in science engagement. So we began with unrehearsed “quick colloquies” and “lightning pairs” on six broad topics:

  • story(telling)
  • humor
  • participatory engagement
  • artistic expression
  • mystery and the unknown
  • informality and the connection between science and everyday life

We knew that participants would take the conversation in new directions of their own, and they quickly nominated additional themes for discussion, including:

  • emotion (including darker or negative emotion)
  • power, boundaries and belonging

By the second day of the gathering, the conversation had widened to include six new question areas, each of which became the focus of a breakout group discussion:

  • Mainstreaming science—while keeping the ‘edge’
  • Civic engagement
  • Inspiring (a focus on external impact on the audience)
  • Expressing (a focus on the internal creative and sharing impulses of the communicator)
  • Affiliation and creating community
  • Learning
  Facilitator Liz Monroe-Cook  helped keep the conversations productive and on schedule. Photo: Lisa Abitbol

Facilitator Liz Monroe-Cook helped keep the conversations productive and on schedule. Photo: Lisa Abitbol

What we learned about some of these topics—including open questions that will become the basis for further discussion and a new research agenda—is summarized in our report. We invite you to weigh in with your own comments on our blog or on Twitter (#cultureofscience), or email us directly.

You can download the convening agenda here [pdf], and read about the Story Collider performance that was held in conjunction with our gathering on the first evening.