Article: “Preaching to the Scientifically Converted: Evaluating Inclusivity in Science Festival Audiences”

What do we know?

  • As scientific institutions continue to increase their consideration of equity and inclusion in public engagement efforts, more attention is being paid to who is represented in the audience at such events.
  • Science festivals have become an important vehicle in trying to engage a wide segment of the population in science.
  • Research examining attendee data from three science festivals in the UK indicated that these events disproportionately attract audiences who are more economically privileged and have higher levels of educational attainment than the general population. Attendees also reported higher levels of interest in science.
  • Recognizing this trend is important in finding ways to understand how to create more socially inclusive environments if the goal of science festivals is to reach audiences beyond only the scientifically converted.

How do we know?

An external evaluator collected data on attendees at three different festivals across the UK – one in the east, one in the south, and one in the north. Data collection efforts included an online questionnaire for registered attendees, as well as face-to-face administration of a questionnaire at the science festival. Questions covered demographic information as well as items covering things like interests, learning indicators, and benefits of attending.

Where do we go to learn more?

Kennedy, Eric B., Eric Jensen, and Monae Verbeke. (2017). “Preaching to the scientifically converted: evaluating inclusivity in science festival audiences.” International Journal of Science Communication, Part B, 9:1, 214-232.