Me, Myself and Scicomm — My Personal Journey

School consisted of using textbooks to write out what we were learning: a pre-computer copy and paste deficit model (Hetland, 2016). It was boring and tedious, but I loved learning, and had a thirst for knowledge. Teachers preached the subjects, we just listened, except when using the two way contextual model discussing topics, or conducting science laboratory classes. The quality of my education and how it could be communicated was determined due to restraints on resources and the subsequent inequalities due to the class I was born into. Which is still evident today (Ferguson, 2017).

At home, the one-way deficit model (Hetland, 2016) of a large square box called a TV in the living room was my scicomm. Watching documentaries and sci-fi! Star Wars, Star Trek, Tron, and Back to the Future were some of my favourites. I loved Tomorrow’s World, a programme about science and technology. I would compare Star Trek and Tomorrow’s World, thinking that in the future these things would become reality? Was sci-fi inspiring the technology, science, and space exploration of the future? Or was political opinions and public reactions to the possible technological and scientific advances of the time inspiring sci-fi? Or was it a combination of them both? What came first? The science or the sci-fi?

The digital age revolutionised scicomm. Social media opened new avenues of communication (Miah, 2017), enabling scicomm like FameLab (Cheltenham Science Festival, 2018), but is rife with misinformation and fake news, affecting public opinion: which I see every day on international Facebook Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) community (Hessam et al, 2017).

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My personal journey in science communication began in my early twenties when I was finally diagnosed with a little known about condition called Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS). I wanted to help educate and raise awareness with the doctors so that they could help others too. Watching a film called “Patch Adams” inspired me to do a biology degree to learn to understand HS in a scientific way to help others. In my final year at university, I attended a scicomm lecture by Dr. Erinma Ochu opening my eyes to the world of scicomm. An epiphany moment: I realised that scicomm was what I had been trying to do in regard of HS with medical professionals, the online HS community, and with the group academic poster presentation about it for my Biotechnology module. I enrolled on the science communication and future media masters to learn more.

My journey into the world of scicomm has officially begun! I’m a scicomm student at the University of Salford! I have entered the World of Scicomm. I am on a voyage of scicomm discovery. I want to boldly scicomm, and scicomm in ways that matter and are meaningful to those I’m trying to communicate with, by experimenting with blending science, art, music, and technology: fun citizen science apps, social media, AI, VR and so much more.!

I learned the science from my biology degree. Now I’m exploring and developing my Scicomm craft on how to communicate with the public based on what they want and in ways they want to empower them. Innovating, co-creative, collaborative, and creative ways to Wellcome the public to engage and participate (Broeder, Devilee, Osers, Schuit, & Wagemakers, 2016) on a scicomm voyage of discovery important to them! My dream is to be a HS researcher and science communicator.

References

Broeder, L, D., Devilee, J., Osers, H, V., Schuit, A. J., & Wagemakers, A. (2016). Citizen Science for public health. Health promotion International. Daw086, 1–10. doi: 10.1093/heapro/daw086

Cheltenham Science Festival. (2018). What is FameLab? Retrieved from https://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/science/famelab/what-is-famelab/

Hertland, P. (2016). Models in Science Communication Policy. Nordic Journal of Science and Technology Studies. 2(2), 5–17.

Ferguson, D. (2017, 21 November). ‘Working-class children get less of everything in education — including respect’. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/nov/21/english-class-system-shaped-in-schools

Hessam, S., Salem, J., Bechara, F. G., Haferkamp, A., Heidenreich, A., Paffenholz, P., Sand, M., Tsaur, I., & Borgmann, H. (2017). Hidradenitis suppurativa gains increasing interest on World Wide Web: a source for patient information? International Journal of Dermatology. 56, 726–732.

Miah, A. (2017). Nanoethics, Science Communication, and a Fourth Model for Public Engagement. NanoEthics, 11(2), 139–152.


Originally published at docs.google.com.