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Symposium on Exploring the Communication of Research across Contexts and Theoretical Perspectives, University of Copenhagen, 9 October 2009

You are invited to participate in a one-day symposium at the University of Copenhagen on Exploring the Communication of Research across Contexts and Theoretical Perspectives, 9 October, 10.00-16.00.

The symposium is to be held under the joint auspices of the Network on Experts and the Communication of Knowledge funded by the Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, University of Copenhagen (http://vidensformidling.mef.ku.dk/) the Nordic Network for the Study of the Dialogic Communication of Research funded by NordForsk (www.dialogue.ruc.dk) and the Science and Environment Communication Section, European Communication Research and Education Association (http://www.scienv-com.eu/).

The symposium will explore how research within and across the humanities, social sciences and the natural sciences and technology is communicated in different contexts. In research policies internationally, there is an increased focus on the communication of research, with researchers being urged – and often required through legislation - to communicate their research via the mass media and to engage in dialogue-based activities with different social actors. Practical initiatives have been launched, such as awards for research communication and research days in which university researchers go out and talk about their research with different audiences. Practical initiatives also include “upstream” public engagement with science exercises, officially designed to further public engagement in decision-making about the direction and content of scientific developments. In addition, collaborative research between researchers and diverse social actors is promoted. In such collaborative research, the communication of research does not only involve the communication of finished research results to different target-groups but can be understood as the ongoing communication processes in which the collaborating actors (university researchers and practitioners) co-produce research by negotiating between different knowledge forms and expert identities.

The above research communication activities are often framed as expressions of a new, democratic form of scientific governance based on dialogue, interaction and participation throughout the research process rather than the unidirectional knowledge transfer of completed research results from researchers to policy-makers, practitioners and publics. At the symposium, research will be presented that critically examines such activities in the light of questions of scientific governance, power and democracy. The research presented will deal with examples of the communication of research in a wide range of contexts including the mass mediation of natural sciences and technology, the social sciences and environmental problems, and the communication of research-based knowledge in collaborative research. A plethora of different theoretical perspectives will be applied, including public understanding of science and public engagement with science, action research, actor-network theory, discourse analysis and dialogic communication theory. By providing a forum for discussion across these contexts and perspectives, the symposium aims to further research on the diverse practices of research communication.

The symposium will be organised around five presentations by invited speakers. As a participant, you will be able to attend these presentations and take part in the discussions that will follow each presentation. Immediately after the symposium, there will be a meeting from 16.00-17.30 for members of ECREA’s Science and Environment Communication Section, including anyone interested in joining the Section, where we will discuss shared interests and themes that emerge from the symposium and consider ideas for future collaboration, building on those shared interests and themes.

The invited speakers and their presentations are as follows :

Bruce Lewenstein (Professor of Science Communication, Department of Communication, Cornell University) on the Public Communication of Science and Technology. Ulla Britt Lilleaas (Professor, Faculty of Health and Sport, University of Agder) on the communication of her research in a film shown in cinemas across Norway. Anabela Carvalho (Associate Professor, Department of Communication Sciences, University of Minho on the negotiation of expert knowledges and identities in the discursive construction of an environmental problem. Ursula Plesner (Doctoral Student, Department of Communication, Business and Information Technologies, Roskilde University) on an actor-network approach to studying the mass mediation of social scientific research. Louise Phillips (Associate Professor in Communication Studies, Department of Communication, Business and Information Technologies) on the negotiation between different knowledge forms and expert identities in the dialogic communication of research-based knowledge in collaborative social scientific research.

The symposium (including refreshments in the breaks) is free of charge for all participants.

If you have any queries, you are welcome to get in touch with one of the two main organisers, Associate Professor Christa Lykke Christensen (christal@hum.ku.dk) or Associate Professor Louise Phillips (louisep@ruc.dk).

If you would like to attend the symposium, please register by sending a mail to Christa Lykke Christensen (christal@hum.ku.dk) by Monday, 7 September 2009. A detailed programme (including symposium room number) will be sent to all registered participants.