Piktogramm eines Zuges

Review: Networking Meeting with Science Communication Centres in Kiel

***Gen­er­al Information***

The net­work­ing meet­ing from 15–17 May 2024 is behind us. Attend­ing were Olaf Kramer, Salina Weber, Anna Köhler, Markus Gott­schling and Erwin Fey­er­sing­er from the RHET AI Centre in Tübin­gen, and Annette Leßmöll­mann, Pat­riz­ia Attar and Monika Hanaus­ka from Karls­ruhe. Addi­tion­ally, our prac­tice part­ner Sci­ence in Dia­logue (ger: Wis­senschaft im Dia­log) was rep­res­en­ted by Leya Safiy­an and Alissa Schüller in Kiel.

Organ­ised by the Kiel Sci­ence Com­mu­nic­a­tion Net­work, the net­work­ing meet­ing took place between the four research centres fun­ded by the Volk­swa­gen Foundation's Wis­skomm-Hoch3 ini­ti­at­ive – the Kiel Sci­ence Com­mu­nic­a­tion Net­work, the Rhine Ruhr Cen­ter for Sci­ence Com­mu­nic­a­tion Research, the Munich Sci­ence Com­mu­nic­a­tion Lab, and of course the RHET AI Centre.

The Tübinger team in Laboe. From left to right: Alissa Schüller, Markus Gott­schling, Pat­riz­ia Attar, Anna Köhler, Monika Hanaus­ka, Leya Safiy­an, Erwin Fey­er­sing­er, Salina Weber. Photo: Stephan Reiche.

***WEDNESDAY, 15. May 2024***

Arrival Day!

It star­ted on Wed­nes­day with a pan­el dis­cus­sion between Olaf Kramer (RHET AI), Hol­ger Wormer (RRC), Anna Vollersen (KielSCN), and Sarah Stil­ler (MSCL). The top­ic: Tar­get audi­ences in sci­ence com­mu­nic­a­tion. Whom do we reach, where, how, and why?

Dur­ing the dis­cus­sion, the fol­low­ing key ques­tions, among oth­ers, arose: What sig­ni­fic­ance do tar­get audi­ences have and how do we define them? Do more tar­get audi­ences need to be reached at sci­ence com­mu­nic­a­tion-spe­cif­ic loc­a­tions (e.g., museums)? How is the address­ing of tar­get audi­ences car­ried out tech­nic­ally and in terms of content?

In this con­text, Olaf Kramer emphas­ises the import­ance of com­mu­nic­at­ing broadly and diver­si­fy­ing tar­get audi­ences. He sees the chal­lenge in inform­a­tion over­load and also points out that sci­ence com­mu­nic­a­tion (and its formats) should not only be made access­ible in met­ro­pol­it­an areas but also increas­ingly in places where there is cur­rently a lim­ited offer (e.g. in small towns or rur­al areas).

The dis­cus­sion also promp­ted the audi­ence to reflect. One attendee raised the dif­fi­culty of the term tar­get audi­ence. Is "reach­ing tar­get audi­ences" even the right phrase? Or does this ter­min­o­logy lead us in an unin­ten­ded dir­ec­tion? Anoth­er per­son wanted to know what role build­ing rela­tion­ships with tar­get audi­ences plays. Addi­tion­ally, the ques­tion arose about the impact of the neces­sity for sci­ent­ists to step out of their usu­al com­mu­nic­a­tion com­fort zones on sci­ence and sci­ent­ists themselves.

To con­clude the day, each group gave a final state­ment to sum­mar­ise the discussion.

Group Statements

How can we improve our listen­ing skills? How can we learn more from the audi­ence? How can we more accur­ately invest­ig­ate which inten­ded and unin­ten­ded tar­get audi­ences we have reached?

We need: More col­lab­or­a­tion, more engage­ment, and more diversity!

We need to strengthen the role of press offices!

Emo­tions are the bridge in sci­ence com­mu­nic­a­tion; we need a com­munity on equal foot­ing – like in a foot­ball stadium!

The day ended with a shared din­ner at Jan & Hein and Klaas & Pit, accom­pan­ied by a pint or two of self-poured beer in Kiel.

***THURSDAY, 16. May 2024***

Work­shop Day!

Thursday star­ted afresh with a wel­come from rep­res­ent­at­ives of Kiel SCN, Chris­ti­an-Albrechts-Uni­versität, IPN , and Muthesi­us Kun­sthoch­schule.

The sub­sequent lec­ture by Anna Vollersen focused on the top­ic of "pub­li­city." Does a "gen­er­al pub­lic" actu­ally exist? And is it reach­able in its entirety? Vollersen sug­gests refram­ing the ques­tion from seek­ing a broad pub­lic to ques­tion­ing the concept of a "gen­er­al pub­lic," view­ing het­ero­gen­eity as a chal­lenge. She explains that reach­ing the pub­lic also depends on indi­vidu­al, social, and struc­tur­al factors.

After­wards, equipped with cof­fee or tea, par­ti­cipants engaged in dis­cus­sions in vari­ous café-style set­tings, in cosy small groups. Con­ver­sa­tions covered top­ics such as tar­get­ing audi­ences, sci­ence com­mu­nic­a­tion versus mar­ket­ing, know­ledge trans­fer between research and prac­tice, under­rep­res­en­ted groups, and the per­sona meth­od. The concept of chan­ging per­spect­ives also emerged dur­ing these discussions.

In the after­noon, par­ti­cipants strolled to work­shops at vari­ous loc­a­tions in Kiel, such as dur­ing the Digit­al Week, along the Kiel Line, or at the Kiel Research Work­shop at the Botan­ic­al Garden. This allowed par­ti­cipants to explore the city and imme­di­ately after­wards devel­op sci­ence com­mu­nic­a­tion formats tailored to their chosen tar­get audi­ences in the workshops.

Fol­low­ing that, there was a trip on the Fördedamp­fer to Laboe to a res­taur­ant. The even­ing con­cluded with a relaxed beach vis­it at sunset.

The RHET AI team with WID-guests in Laboe at the beach. From left to right: Markus Gott­schling, Alissa Schüller, Erwin Fey­er­sing­er, Pat­riz­ia Attar, Monika Hanaus­ka, Anna Köhler, Leya Safiy­an, Salina Weber. Photo: Salina Weber.

***FRIDAY, 17. Mai 2024***

Depar­ture Day!

In the morn­ing, the sci­ence com­mu­nic­a­tion formats developed dur­ing the pre­vi­ous day's work­shops were presen­ted. Anna Köhler, Pat­riz­ia Attar and their group emerged as the win­ners – receiv­ing a flower­pot-trophy in the shape of a crown!

The "award cere­mony" for the fic­ti­tious sci­ence com­mu­nic­a­tion format "Stay Ken­nec­ted". Photo: Kiel SCN.

Fol­low­ing this suc­cess, a joint recap of the past days and clos­ing state­ments from vari­ous par­ti­cipants marked the con­clu­sion of the net­work­ing meet­ing. Unfor­tu­nately, there were delays on the jour­ney home due to the Ger­man Rail­ways, strug­gling with flood­ing and heavy rain­fall in the south­w­est. It was a shame to leave sunny Kiel behind so quickly!

The next joint net­work­ing meet­ing will be organ­ised by the RRC. A spe­cif­ic date has not been set yet. We are look­ing for­ward to see­ing our sci­ence com­mu­nic­a­tion col­leagues from the oth­er centres again!

View of the beach in Laboe. Photo: Anna Köhler.