Engaging the STEM-excluded: Critical perspectives on broadening participation

Engaging the STEM-excluded: Critical perspectives on broadening participation

Author: Matthew Hickman – Wellcome Trust, United Kingdom

Bronwyn Bevan – University of Washington
Robert Inglis – Jive Media Africa
Craig Tomlinson – BBC Children in Need
Graham Walker – Australian National University

The aim of the session is to share and explore participants’ different ways of including diverse audiences in STEM. We want to collectively develop a shared understanding of the wisdom from and problems with practice, and use research to support the design and implementation of experiences and settings that reach the STEM-excluded.

People who do not typically attend our institutions or events may face many obstacles, both socioeconomic and cultural, that can influence if and how they engage with STEM (including workforce participation, learning, civic discussion). The nature of the obstacles will vary according to country, ethnic heritage, socioeconomic background, and much more besides. Yet these factors operate in most countries to consistently and persistently exclude some audiences from STEM.

Traditionally, those working in science engagement have struggled to reach people excluded from science, and can sometimes exacerbate their exclusion. For example, in high-income countries, the burden of expectation is typically on the audiences to choose to engage with an intervention of some form. It’s now clear that this approach only reaches discrete groups of people – usually, those who are already interested in the topic being explored – and marginalizes those experiencing disadvantage.

In this session, you will be invited to explore the nature of the obstacles your intended audiences face and the outcomes you want to achieve with them. By sharing our experiences we will consider, together, how to make science and science communication more inclusive. It will provide the opportunity for critical reflection and constructive discussion, with a view to:

  1. embedding opportunities to engage with science in existing programs and venues (rather than creating new ones)
  2. designing asset-based programs that are relevant, building on the cultural and intellectual resources of the target audience and
  3. empowering disadvantaged groups to create, drive and deliver their own content and/or programs.

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

Presentation type: Roundtable discussion
Theme: Science
Area of interest: Comparing science communication across cultures