Mind the ‘Ivory Tower-Grassroots’ gap – Science communication in post conflict societies

Mind the ‘Ivory Tower-Grassroots’ gap – Science communication in post conflict societies

Author: Karen Brounéus – Uppsala University, Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Sweden

Mariska Kappmeier – National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago
Stephen Knowles – Department of Economics, University of Otago
David McBride – Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago

In this cross-disciplinary roundtable, scholars from five different disciplines – Maori studies, Economics, Psychology, Preventive and Social Medicine, and Peace research – will discuss the challenges and possibilities of communicating science results in post conflict settings globally. The roundtable participants will share experiences, and importantly also the lack of experiences, in bridging the ivory tower–grassroots gap in their work in different places around the world, eg Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Solomon Islands and New Zealand. The roundtable will discuss the challenges of communicating science in deeply divided societies, where distrust is high and where findings might be co-opted for political purposes. Similarly, the challenges of communicating research findings to people who are sceptical of what scholars have to say, and who dismiss research results that do not fit with their own priors will be highlighted. The craft of risk communication and the imperative of community engagement and ownership in science projects – not least for later communication and implementation – will be another focus of the roundtable. Looking ahead, creative possibilities for science communication in post conflict settings will be discussed, such as the growing importance of museums and their role in breaking through knowledge systems and social boundaries of community engagement. Throughout the roundtable, the ethics of science communication and the golden rule of doing no harm will be highlighted.

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