Key lessons and areas for development

Key lessons and areas for development

Throughout the course of this OPENER programme we have not only been conducting our own community events, training and capacity building exercises, but we have been investigating the current status quo in public engagement with the natural world. In doing so, we have been looking into current opinions about the importance of bringing communities together, the most effective mechanisms for opening up science and where developments could be made in the field through an organic process of: Creating blogs: As you are here, you have clearly found our blogs page- hurrah! Here you will find not just your typical written commentaries, but video animations, poetry and art work all exploring what it is to open up science. We have been seeking the opinions of professionals in the field of public engagement, NERC academics, policy makers, teachers and the public. Attending external meetings: One particular meeting organised by the UK Environmental Observation Framework’s (UKEOF) Citizen Science Working Group provided a rich source...
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One PhD student’s journey in the discovery of SciArt

One PhD student’s journey in the discovery of SciArt

Louise Arnal, creates us an animation to reveal how she came across the value of communicating her research through cartoons: "Up until last year, I had done nothing in science communication (SciComm) or science and art (SciArt)! I recently discovered this new world and tried lots of different things to find out what I liked doing most. It turns out standing up in front of a SciComm audience and trying to make them laugh is not quite my cup of tea, while I really enjoy communicating the science I do through arts! I made this little animation to tell you about my SciComm journey and what I learnt from it. Enjoy!"   Want to see more SciArt? Check out Louise's blog at https://sciartfloods.wordpress.com/...
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Science, poetry, motivation and community

Science, poetry, motivation and community

Is such a Zen-like poem of interest to the physical sciences? We now live in an era in which the latest development for the justification of investment of resources for the natural environment is Natural Capital Accounting. We are continuously prompted to be practical, to be realistic. It enwraps me in despair that within our governmental structures or our funding frameworks, nature is not at the top of the list because of the way it makes us feel truly and fully alive. Instead, we have to descend to setting ourselves within a bleak list of desperate essentials reduced to the economics of mere physical survival within joyless policies. These are fundamental mistakes. There have been high profile lessons. They are recent, but the lessons have not been fully learnt. Remember the proposed selling off of the State Forest Estate? The swift reversal was the result of outcries from the heart and not the presentation of a budget spreadsheet. It demonstrated that the...
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Can curiosity save our planet?

Can curiosity save our planet?

On a sunny summer’s day about five years ago, I was doing the laundry – not particularly enjoying it. I hung the clothes on the line in my garden to dry. I was about halfway done when my daughter, four years old at the time, came up to me and asked: “What are all these little black bugs on that yellow shirt? And why are there so many on that single shirt and none on any of the other clothes?” At that point I could have made an educated guess or even give her a made up answer, but I did something else instead. I asked a question back. “Why do you think this could be the case?” She first thought they may just like that particular shirt, but then wondered whether yellow was their favourite colour. Again, I decided to answer with a question - being more than happy to procrastinate some more from my household tasks: “How do you...
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The varied nature of CoPs: insights from citizen science gatherings

The varied nature of CoPs: insights from citizen science gatherings

June was a busy month in the citizen science calendar. One of the OPENER team embraced this opportunity for learning, sharing and discussing participatory science approaches by darting between 6 meetings, events and conferences in the Swiss City of Geneva. Since then, Muki has been reflecting on the relevance of this diverse set of gatherings and has written an account sharing his thoughts about the multifarious forms that Communities of Practice can take in the citizen science arena. Read all about how they vary in size, level of formality, topic and the opportunities for involvement on his personal blog Po Ve Sham. ...
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Q: What do you get when you cross a scientist with a poet?

Q: What do you get when you cross a scientist with a poet?

A: Beautiful, thought-provoking audio visuals, that's what. One of the aims of the OPENER project is to open up science for all, and this includes reaching new audiences. OPENER's very own Ed headed to the infamous Hay Festival in Wales at the beginning of the month. He reflects on his experience teaming up with the brilliant poet, Nicola Davies and shares their eye opening creations where science collides with art. Check out his blog here. ...
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