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"At least we're trying": Experimenting with roles and repertoires to foster new connections between science and society

Barendse, Sem; Rerimassie, Virgil; Kupper, Frank

The aim of this report is to explore the different roles science communicators assume – or should be assuming – to meet the challenges and demands in the contemporary science communication landscape. On the basis of earlier RETHINK research on how science communicators employ innovative techniques to reach underserved audiences, six roles were formulated that can be – and are – adopted by science communication practitioners to enhance their connections with a wider range of audiences: The Broker, creates connections between target audience and actors to obtain access to a target group, links with other actors to supply, involves all actors in dialogue; The Listener, connects to target audience with active listening and empathy and integrates that what is learned in communication activity; The Includer, breaks down physical, social, cultural barriers to give audience access to resources, spaces, knowledge & opportunities; The Enabler, provides target audience with access to information, resources, spaces, and changes power dynamics between science-society; The Educator, contributes to understanding scientific method and process, and critical thinking skills leading to misinformation identification; and The Entertainer, gets scientific communication across via games, arts, performances, hands-on activities & storytelling.

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