Our third and final session about practice/research projects was originally set out by Jenni with the intention of providing a space for how to support better practice/research collaborations & delving examples and experiences we have collectively about what work and what doesn’t. Looking through the discussions here on the blog as well as on emails it seems to me there will be a huge amount of overlap and likely some shifting around of concerns, interests and ideas over the course of next week, so I’m loathe to structure the session too much at this stage.
To that end, can I ask that everyone comes with at least two practice/research project examples in mind (I’m thinking one good/one bad), so that we can try to tease out what the useful components are (for instance, are relationships key, as Bronwyn suggests?). Within that, I agree with Marina’s suggestion that Alex’s question (How might we overcome normative views of good/bad, upstream/downstream forms of communication when the challenges & approaches in science communication are obviously diverse) becomes a useful framing. Many thanks also to Ayelet for sharing the rubric she & her colleagues have developed for understanding science communication practices.
I also want to reserve space to think about praxis. Not least the following three questions/thoughts (which we may well be sick of by the end of the week!)
1) What is science communication research if not allied to practice? This is surely a practice-based field, but what does that mean?
2) In the UK there has been a big push for what Martin called “evidence-based practice”, which rings alarm bells for me as it seems to be typically used as a smokescreen for the exact opposite (certainly in education policy at any rate, c.f. the on going debates about grammar schools). It also makes me respond like a recalcitrant teenager, desperately wishing that I could decouple expectations about relationships between practice & research. But can we? In social justice terms, without aiming to change “something” about practice & policy equity oriented research is simply descriptive, so a commitment to praxis becomes pretty central.
3) In an email somewhere Joan mentioned she felt like the “research”/”practice” discourse was a red-herring and served to make unhelpful distinctions, while Bruce pointed out that the vast majority of people involved in science communication may have little idea of the broader field in terms of what constitutes best practice, or research, which brings us back to Marina’s questions about professionalism.
So to that end I think I’m going to play around with the session plan during the week, once we have a sense of how our conversations are going. I suspect things will emerge over the week that will derail a nice, neat plan, but please bring/invent your project examples anyway!