The audiences reached by those engaged in science communication and the nature of the connections with those audiences is of central importance to the science-society relationship. It determines who is reading, listening and watching information about science but also characterises those interactions. Do the interactions involve a one-directional ‘broadcast’ of information from communicator to audience, or is the relationship more of a two-way approach that fosters a more integrated relationship between science and society?
To answer such questions, an online questionnaire was distributed in seven European countries: Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Sweden and the UK. This explored the audiences these communicators sought to reach and the nature of their connections with them. Further insights into audience connections were provided by ‘Rethinkerspace’ workshops held in the same seven European countries. These workshops involved a variety of ‘actors’ involved in science communication, as well as academics.
A high proportion of the questionnaire respondents said that their intended audience is individuals already interested in science, technology and/or health topics to some degree. The discussions with Rethinkerspace members show that a lack of time to communicate science is a barrier that transcends actors and European countries. In terms of digital communications, many communicators reported a sense of disconnect with their audience.
Ridgway, A., Milani, E., Weitkamp, E., & Wilkinson, C. (in press). Investigating the Links Between Science Communication Actors and Between Actors and their Audiences. European Commission repository and Zenodo: European Commission