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Forum Wissenschaftskommunikation DIGITAL

Forum Wissenschaftskommunikation DIGITAL took place from October 4 to 6 2021. The thematic focus this year was:

“Science communication and language”

Please note: The conference language of the Forum Wissenschaftskommunikation DIGITAL is German. We offer selected parts of the programme in English: Workshops and panel discussions, project presentaions and the keynote with an English description will be held in English. The full programme is available in German only. Download English-speaking programme (PDF).


Tuesday, 5th October 2021

8.30 - 9.00 Welcome to the virtual lobby

Networking and interactive exchange, exhibitior/supporter area with multimedia walks, poster exhibition, WiD-Goodie-Bag: All digital!

9.00 - 9.25 Interactive start of the day

Wissenschaft im Dialog invites to an activating exercise.
"Relax your neck!" with Sandra Wegeng, Movement therapist

9.30 – 10.30 Greeting & Keynote

Greeting: Markus Weißkopf, Wissenschaft im Dialog

Science and storytelling

Keynote: Dr. Jessica Wade, Imperial College London

The past year has shown how central science is to society; and how crucial scientific literacywill be in the future of our planet. Dr. Jessica Wade believes scientists have an important role to play in public policy: in communicating their research beyond seminars and technical conferences. Effective science communication can build public trust in research, as well as challenge outdated misconceptions of who actually does science. In this talk, Dr. Jessica Wade will talk about why scientists talk about matters, and their role in public engagement and building a better scientific community. She will also discuss her efforts to increase visibility of scientists from historically marginalised groups on Wikipedia, her research in material sscience and nanotechnology, the power of social media for early career researchers and he rnew picture book “Nano, the Spectacular Science of the Very (Very) Small”.

11.00 – 12.15 Parallel Programme

Panel Discussion: Communicating sustainability – Art as a means to transform narratives in society?

Moderation: Alexandra Tost, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies
Panel discussion, 60 minutes
11.00 – 12.00, 5th October

What role does art play in changing dominant narratives in society? What are the roles of art and science in democracy? And are there ethical and aesthetical limits for the use of art to communicate science? In this session, the role of art in the communication of sustainability and the reshaping of our imaginaries are discussed from a transdisciplinary point of view between art, science and society. A key element that obstructs the scientifically demanded eco-social transformation is the form in which our societies and democracies are historically marked by carbon rationalities. Art can create access to questioning and redefining these rationalities in a profound and personal way thus unfolding unique transformative forces.

Dr. Kat Austen, Studio Austen: Radically changing environmental relations through transdisciplinary art
Stefanie Holzheu, Futurium: Potentials in speculative design for societal engagement and scientific advances
Dr. M. Cecilia Oliveira, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies: Scientific performance about the political images of the Amazon rainforest

Workshop: When it gets political: Strategies for taking part in public controversies

Moderation: Robin Tschötschel, University of Amsterdam, NLD
Interactive workshop, 75 minutes
11.00 – 12.15, 5th October

Currently highly relevant topics combine epistemic with normative questions, and blur the boundaries between science and politics. In many areas, scientists’ opinions and interpretations are as sought-after as their research results, and the expectation to take part in public conversations about contentious issues is rising. How should scientists respond to this demand, and how can they communicate about politically controversial topics in a way that does not undermine public trust in science? This interactive workshop offers the opportunity to reflect on the wishes of researchers to partake in public discourse and experiences with doing so. The participants will discuss possible threats to individual and collective scientific trustworthiness, and develop communication strategies to deal with them. The latter are chiefly informed by empirical insights from the field of climate change communication, Robin Tschötschel’s research area.

Project Presentations "SPECIAL" Block 2

Moderation: Anne Weißschädel, Wissenschaft im Dialog
Round of presentations, 75 minutes
11.00 – 12.15, 5th Ocotber

Learning awe from science picture books: The role of language and emotions in children’s science communication
Speaker: Daniel Silva Luna, University of Otago, NZL

This presentation looks at the role of language in the construction of emotions in the context of science picture books and the culture of science communication. The results of a series of content analyses on children’s picture books are presented, showing the centrality of awe-related language in the culture of science communication and the variety of ways in which this emotion is depicted in this space. The findings suggest that children enculturated into the culture of science communication through picture books learn these varieties of awe more readily than those confronted with alternative materials. Navigating this cultural space may increase people’s ability to experience and express this distinctive emotion.

Can science communication in the mother tongue foster science motivation of migrant pupils?
Speaker: Joana Moscoso, Native Scientist, GBR

Inspiring ethnic minority and migrant students to pursue higher education or careers in STEM challenges many European countries. This target group often underperforms in STEM subjects due to various reasons, including specific linguistic and educational needs. In this presentation, the outcomes of a science education and outreach project targeting underserved/under-represented migrant communities and using a content and language integrated learning approach will be shared. Results on the outcomes for both students (the beneficiaries of the project) and scientists (the instructors in the project) were obtained from a randomised controlled trial, interviews, and feedback forms, and show multiple positive outcomes.

A world of potential: The power (and pitfalls) of digital academic events
Speaker: Sebastian Horndasch, Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft

As online and hybrid events are expected to stay also in a post-covid world, in this presentation, insights and best practices for creating successful digital academic events will be shared. When the world shifted online in March 2020, so did the Hochschulforum Digitalisierung. That meant that their team had to move their “University:Future Festival” online, an event that had been in the making for years. The result dramatically exceeded the expectations, drawing in almost 2000 attendees from around the world to experience three days of lively workshops, BarCamp sessions and talks. By shedding light on these best practices, the team hopes that participants learn to harness online formats and make the goal of inclusion a reality.

12.15 – 13.15 Break

Digital exhibitor/supporter area, digital poster exhibition, interactive area.

13.15 – 14.30 Parallel Programme

Panel Discussion: Rewarding scholarship in all languages: Addressing inequalities with fairer assessments

Moderation: Helen Sitar, European Molecular Biology Organization
Panel discussion, 60 minutes
13.15 – 14.15, 5th October

Unfortunately, this session does not take place because it had to be canceled at short notice by the session organizers.

Alternative modes of evaluation, inclusion and exclusion of knowledge from non-English authors, and new modes of publishing: Along these and other topics this panel will debate the risks associated with research assessments that preferentially reward science communication and scholarly works in some languages over others. Options for addressing systemic inequalities will be discussed – towards increased inclusivity of knowledge from around the globe.

Emanuel Kulczycki, Adam Mickiewicz University, POL: Research evaluation, metrics, scholarly communication and policy
Joy Owango, AfricArXiv, KEN: Science communication training, preprints, capacity building and evaluation in the African context
Alicia Fátima Gómez Sánchez, Technische Universität Wien, AUST: Open science, open access, responsible evaluation and social impact of research

This panel discussion has been cancelled by its organisers.

14.30 – 15.00 Break

Digital exhibitor area, digital poster exhibition and interactive area.

15.00 – 16.15 Parallel Programme

Workshop: The rhetoric of scientific knowledge

Moderation: Dr. Markus Gottschling and Michael Pelzer, Universität Tübingen
Interactive workshop, 75 minutes
15.00 – 16.15, 5th October

Science is shaped and framed by the words and images we use to promote it. Examples of these processes of transformation are manifold, be it the introduction of plain English as the language of science in the early modern period, Darwin’s diary entries aboard the Beagle or the usage of technically engineered visual evidence in contemporary neuroscience. In this interactive workshop, the rhetorical aspects behind the creation and transformation of scientific knowledge is explored. Through examples from recent research, the participants will examine the mechanisms of illustration, persuasion and target group orientation. Equipped with a rhetorical perspective, they will be able to deepen their understanding of linguistic and visual strategies behind science communication.

Project Presentations Block 3

Moderation: Anne Weißschädel, Wissenschaft im Dialog
Round of presentations, 75 minutes
15.00 – 16.15, 5th October

Tackling the wicked: Privacy by design
Speaker: Annemarie Hofer, Universität Graz, AUT

Communicating legal issues, especially privacy, is often difficult as it is perceived as boring, abstract, and too distant from our everyday lives. How can this be improved? At the University of Graz’ “Design Sprint 2020” law and design were combined with the aim of making legal issues more tangible. This interdisciplinary approach helped spotlight the gaps in scientific communication of legal issues and suggest new ways of engagement.

Written communication in an oral era – How to reach an unwilling audience
Speaker: Jenny Björkman, Stiftelsen Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, SWE

Traditionally humanities and social sciences are predominantly written research. Books, articles and essays are of course read and spread also today, but it is harder to reach new audiences, and even older audiences can have difficulties finding the time to read long books. To face this problem, the speaker’s project team invented an “Annual Box” made up of five small booklets written by five different scholars on one topic. Together the booklet constitutes a prism reflecting different angles of the theme. It was also launched as a podcast and broadcasted in a conversation on Swedish national television, thus broadening the researcher’s audience.

Cartas com Ciência: “Letters with science” to inspire children in Portuguese-speaking countries
Speaker: Dr. Rafael Galupa, Cartas com Ciência, PRT

Creating opportunities for social development and knowledge sharing – Cartas com Ciência organizes educational programmes of letter exchanges between pupils in Portuguese-speaking countries and scientists across the globe. The idea is to mitigate barriers and prejudices associated with higher education and scientific careers through one-to-one, lasting written conversations, simultaneously promoting scientific and language literacy. Since May 2020 nearly 100 pupils have exchanged letters. For most of them, this was the first time they met a scientist and for many the first time exchanging letters. The co-founder of the initiative will share experiences on overcoming challenges while keeping focused on the mission and impact of a multi-continental operating spin-off.

16.30 – 17.30 Digital Get Together