This thesis is submitted to meet the requirements of a Doctorate of Philosophy within the field of Psychology. Through a series of nine publications, this body of work aimed to develop a deeper psychological understanding of cultures of science communication at live science events in order to better support audiences and practitioners. Live science events encompass an enormous diversity of activity ranging from science festivals to education outreach in schools. While the scale and audiences may vary, they are all live, in-person programmes aiming to engage the public with science in a social context. Science communication practitioners (including scientists and engineers) and audiences report that live science events provide powerful experiences to engage with science, but empirical measurements of these impacts are sparse.
As such, these publications and the associated commentary have sought to advance future research and practice in science communication on this topic. The DPhil had three objectives: to analyse audience perceptions of and needs for engagement formats and learning at live science events; to explore science communication cultures in STEM research environments and live science events; and to evaluate and influence the motivations and perceived self-efficacy of STEM researchers/students taking part in engagement and outreach. Through leading these projects and publishing the results, the candidate has met the requirements of the UWE Doctoral Descriptors. The insights from these projects have proven applicable to both researchers and practitioners in the science communication and science education industries, and will help to drive forward best practice in the field.