From scholars to businesses, the message was clear; there is still a great need for better communication. Day two of JWC 2015 evolved around practical ways to communicate science in a fruitful manner.
Jenni Lintula told us how scholars do it at the Arctic Center of the University of Lapland; they make it attractive and human. A series of ‘Cool Experts’ pages for each scientists, with a timeline describing important people, books and events that shape them in their career. Also, a research station in the middle of the tundra welcomes skiers and hikers to an interactive display of the current and past research of the station.
Practical ways must follow clear intentions. When Niklas Dahlback and former journalist Viktoria Raft, from Vattenfall, stepped up for a presentation in the format of a mock interview, the audience was sceptical. One asked; why doing an interview, a format people take for granted, and using it for marketing purposes? To which Vattenfall answered that a dynamic presentation breaks the monotony and allows the public to engage more easily. It’s a way to broaden the perspective of the public, in this case, to know how scientists interact with Vattenfall. In terms of communicating energy & science, that worked! Another participant pointed out; in terms of energy, the best science is really a decrease in consumption. Vattenfall is a constant guest speaker at JWC, this is essential for really getting all sectors to mingle.
And mingling we did! Several group talks, workshops and roundtables were organised to get to deeply discuss on energy, climate and communication. From policies to businesses, from the role of scientists to the role of the public. Turning ideas around, breaking down concepts and thinking from other perspectives.
Here are some questions and thoughts that came out of these talks;
* How precarious is it to use science funded by businesses?
* It can be easy for young scientists now to overwork the communication and spend more time on this than on research.
* Is science research of benefit to people? Is there value in applied science?
* It takes time to get in contact deeply with what science says.
* The public can take more than it seems; bring on the real information! Don’t dumb it down.
* What are the real impact factors when publishing?
* It takes respect of other worldviews to really bridge science to people.
It can be easy to carry on the negative impacts of badly communicated science. However, in order to stay motivated and inspired, as Bodil Jonsson nicely reminded us; trust is a must!
Selena Raven Cordeau is a member of the JWC reference group and student in the Masters of Indigenous Studies at the University of the Arctic in Norway.