July 22, 2014

Public dialogue on community rights hots up

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nanasha @ 4:13 pm

By Amy Pollard, Sciencewise Dialogue Manager

Public engagement 2Last night I attended the final session of a public dialogue on community rights and wellbeing, supported by Sciencewise and organised by the New Economics Foundation, the Cabinet Office and Hopkins Van Mil.

It was a boiling hot summer’s evening in Kennington – the kind of stifling heat that social psychologists have long associated with a tendency for public rioting. Would we see tempers fray as members of the public got to the nitty gritty of the community rights agenda?

Would it be possible to bring together a coherent conversation with such a diverse group? Would the policy makers attending the session find themselves encircled by a braying pack? (more…)

July 15, 2014

Call for policy maker input: ‘Best of’ Sciencewise thought leadership and research

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nanasha @ 8:33 am

By Amy Pollard, Sciencewise Dialogue Manager

whitehallSciencewise has now done twenty different research and thought leadership pieces, which in different ways explore the role of public dialogue in policy making and discuss issues of best practice when engaging the public. For those of you still deciding on your summer holiday reading, I can heartily recommend a look through this index with one sentence summaries of our different pieces.


June 5, 2014

Public dialogue on flood risk – Leicester

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nanasha @ 3:41 pm

By Jacqui Cotton, Policy, Strategy and Investment R&D Theme Manager, Environment Agency

Communicating risk 2The Environment Agency held the first of its public dialogues on flood risk in Leicester this week and were taken aback by the energy, enthusiasm and insightful ideas which people brought to the event.

On Tuesday evening, 24 randomly selected members of the public, whose homes are all in flood risk areas in Leicester came to the Grand Hotel in the city centre to talk about flooding. We started with a video from John Curtin, Director of Incident Management at the Environment Agency, stating how important this work was and how useful it will be to gain people’s views about flood risk communications. This set the tone for the evening and the following Saturday where people really helped us to grapple with flood risk issues and communication challenges. (more…)

May 23, 2014

Public and Stakeholder Dialogue: every journey begins with a single step

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nanasha @ 3:11 pm

By Suzannah Lansdell, Dialogue and Engagement Specialist, Sciencewise

test tubeI was the Sciencewise Dialogue and Engagement Specialist working on the Openness in Animal Research public dialogue. The public dialogue fed into the development of the draft Concordat which was consulted on last autumn and the final Concordat was recently launched.

From the outset it was recognised the dialogue would have challenges – the timing and resourcing was tight, the subject matter challenging and the sector one that has been largely behind closed doors for many years.  The risks were, in short, quite high.


March 14, 2014

Confessions from the Head of Public Dialogue

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nanasha @ 12:07 pm

By Simon Burall, Head of Dialogue for Sciencewise

Siman BurrallThis is the second post in a series of reflective pieces about Sciencewise’s Citizen Group. The posts are exploring how well the Group has played its role in bringing citizen perspectives into the heart of the programme. In the first post in the series, Confessions of a Citizen Group Member, Mark Symmonds gives a very honest account about how it worked from his perspective.

This post takes the perspective of one of the ‘commissioners’ of the Group. (more…)

March 3, 2014

Confessions of a Citizen Group member

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nanasha @ 2:46 pm

By Mark Symonds, Sciencewise Citizen Group member


The Sciencewise Citizen Group – kicking off our reflection process
[Editor’s note] In Autumn 2012 Sciencewise launched a Citizen Group to bring the knowledge and perspectives of the public into the development and implementation of the Sciencewise programme. It was intended as an experiment, and would test how far a programme such as Sciencewise (which, after all, aims to be an expert resource centre on engaging the public) could incorporate public views into our own programmatic decision-making. (more…)

February 20, 2014

Outside the Goldfish Bowl: Facing up to the Challenges of Digital Engagement (PART 2)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nanasha @ 2:52 pm

By Dr Eric Jensen, Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer), University of Warwick
(@JensenWarwick, e.jensen@warwick.ac.uk)

New goldfish bowlIn this blog post, I continue to engage with the report ‘In the goldfish bowl: science and technology policy dialogues in a digital world‘ (authors: Susie Latta, Charlotte Mulcare and Anthony Zacharzewski), which was commissioned by Sciencewise and published in 2013. This is part 2 of my critical review of this report. This part of my review focuses on the report’s conclusions about the benefits and limitations of digital methods for public dialogue. (more…)

February 11, 2014

Response to Eric Jensen’s review of the Goldfish Bowl

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nanasha @ 12:32 pm

By Susie Latta and Charlotte Mulcare from the Democratic Society

Blog picWe thank Dr. Jensen for interesting and thorough review our report, and hope that our responses will prove useful in extending the debate further.

Perhaps the most important point to make is that this report was never intended to provide an academic sociological report: Dr. Jensen correctly makes the observation that our arguments are forward looking and do not provide an academic paper focused on sociology. This was not the intention of our article, which was specific to the future of engagement in science policy, and how the internet can support it. Hence our evidence comes from political not academic sources, MORI polls and comprehensive reports collating research rather than single publications. Bearing this scope in mind, we believe that many of the omissions he mentions, although interesting points worthy of research, would not have been appropriate to cover given our remit. (more…)

February 7, 2014

Public views of the great eight technologies

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nanasha @ 9:22 am

By Monica Lobo, Science and Society manager, British Science Association

circuit-boards-design3Investment in technologies has the potential to contribute to the UK’s economic growth. But what does the public think?

‘The great eight’

In November 2012, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, described science as a driver of the UK economy. At his speech at the Royal Society he challenged the scientific community of Britain to lead the world in what are now known as ‘the eight great technologies’. These are: (more…)

January 30, 2014

Outside the Goldfish Bowl: facing up to the challenges of digital engagement (PART 1)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nanasha @ 1:56 pm

By Dr Eric Jensen, Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer), University of Warwick
(@JensenWarwick, e.jensen@warwick.ac.uk)

New goldfish bowlThis set of blog posts comprise a review and critique of the Sciencewise-commissioned report entitled: ‘In the goldfish bowl: science and technology policy dialogues in a digital world‘ (authors: Susie Latta, Charlotte Mulcare and Anthony Zacharzewski), published in 2013. While the authors make some useful points, they exaggerate the ubiquity of digital technology, overstate the benefits of adopting digital dialogue approaches and understate the potential downsides. I argue for an understanding of the role of online technologies for dialogue in contemporary societies that is better grounded in sociological research. (more…)