Creating the stories together

Author: Jan Riise – Mistra Urban Futures, Sweden

Yael Barel – Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Alexander Gerber – Rhine Waal University
Jennie Metcalfe – e-connect
Padraig Murphy – City University Dublin

Many global and societal challenges, as expressed e.g. in the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda, call for increased collaboration between academics, citizens and practitioners in public and private organisations. ‘Responsible Research and Innovation’ has become a concept within the European Union, encompassing the change in agenda-setting, the need for open access and a research design that includes issues like gender equality, governance and public engagement.

Complex issues, some called ‘wicked problems’, need collaborative efforts and new, transdisciplinary knowledge to be solved. Co-production, or co-creation, of knowledge has developed as a methodology, not least in sustainable urban development contexts.

Measuring the societal impact of such endeavours is challenging as there are considerable uncertainties in attribution and timescales, and that case studies and surveys are the only methods to be used. But there is some support for the idea that the actual networking that transdisciplinary projects produce is valuable.

The science communication professionals in such contexts find themselves in a new and challenging environment. This is not about ‘building bridges’ from science to public and policy, through media releases and festivals. It is about exploring together the ground beneath the bridges, well outside everyone’s own comfort zone. Science communication experts may find a new and very important role for engagement, direction, coaching and developing new formats for making the collectively produced knowledge possible to produce and then accessible to new audiences. It is not just about telling the story, it is about creating it.

The round table session will discuss the new role for science communication experts and researchers, from perspectives such as

  • Engagement
  • Participation
  • Project design
  • Communication research questions

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Roundtable discussion
Theme: Society
Area of interest: Influencing policies through science communication