836   Insight talk

Between science engagement and co-construction : the pros and cons of a natural marriage.

Author: Matteo Merzagora
TRACES - ESPGG, France

Through a series of relevant examples collected within the action research H2020 project “SiSCode”(www.siscodeproject.eu) I will explore the points of contact and the points of divergence between science engagement activities, and emergent co-construction and participation practices.

In recent year we have observed an increasing interest of the science engagement community for the world of participation and co-construction, and vice-versa. More and more science centers are integrating fab-lab spaces and living lab approaches in their offer; citizen science activities are increasingly merging with science engagement activities; hybrid cultural spaces are multiplying, working in the grey zone between knowledge production and knowledge sharing; discussion games are often used to explore or even influence policy making around controversial socio-technical issues; design thinking is becoming an expertise valued to develop science communication actions. 

This is a wonderful opportunity of renewal for science communication practices to move beyond the dialogue model. However, co-construction activities and science culture/engagement activities do not necessarily share the same objectives, neither the same business model. Also, this marriage could be influenced by fashion effects, masking differences and blurring the clarity of the political value of the activities.

The EU funded project SIS-CODE (co-ordinated by Politecnico of Milan) is exploring co-construction activities from many different angles, with a specific focus on social innovation and RRI, involving several key actors, and more specifically the EU networks of science centre and museum (ECSITE) and of living-lab (ENOLL), and the international networks of FabLabs. The experiences emerging from 10 co-design labs across Europe are currently being analyzed. In the PCST session, I will present and submit to open discussion specific results on how co-construction and science engagement activities can in fact nourish each other without loosing their specific identity and agenda, and explicit and identify the main critical factors that can promote or hinder this convergence.

Co-author: Aude Ghilbert
TRACES, France

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