The art and science of engagement – A global perspective on science communication through the arts

The art and science of engagement – A global perspective on science communication through the arts

Author: Wiebke Finkler – University of Otago, New Zealand

Bronwyn Bevan – University of Washington
Wolfgang Goede – International Science Journalist, WFSJ, TELI
Robert Inglis – Jive Media
Eric Jensen – University of Warwick

Despite society’s increasing dependence upon – and increasing need for – scientific solutions to global and local challenges, the diffusion, understanding, and use of science in society remains an area that is daunting and impenetrable. Use of the arts can be a powerful strategy to effectively communicate the understanding and use of scientific information to increase informed-decision making.

Research demonstrates that intellectual benefits of the arts include the development of general thinking skills and problem-solving abilities, and arts experiences help to develop a more complex network of connections in the brain. The arts engage audiences physically, intellectually, and emotionally. Increasingly, science communicators around the world are using an art-based approach to science communication through mediums such as theatre, music, parody, comics, filmmaking, photography, poetry, and storytelling to engage diverse audiences. Using the arts to effectively communicate science and advance society (not to mention the plethora of possible outcomes such as improved environments and health) is a multi-layered, innovative, culturally and linguistically appropriate approach to communicating science. This panel will include geographically and methodologically diverse examples of the use of the arts to successfully communicate science.

Further, no dedicated interest group for science engagement through the arts exists within the International Public Communication of Science and Technology network. This roundtable intends to create interest in such a group by addressing both theoretical and practical contributions of the arts to science communication, with the goal of establishing a new PCST interest group. This will be a new and unique development in the history of our organisation.

  • Wiebke Finkler (New Zealand) Filmmaking, soundscapes and visual rhetoric.
  • Wolfgang Goede (Germany) Fiction, drama, cabaret.
  • Robert Inglis (South Africa) Music (hip hop and rap), comics and film.
  • Eric Jensen (UK) Impact evaluation, performance, social media.
    Bronwyn Bevan (USA) Parody, cabaret, performance art.

Presentation type: Roundtable discussion
Theme: Society
Area of interest: Investigating science communication practices