SPIs pilot workshop in Italy
Looking for standards, principles and indicators in scicomm and science journalism: the ENJOI workshop during the Italian Conference of Science Communication in Trieste, November 2021.
“Ethics”. “Rigour”. “Sources”. Engagement”. These are some of the pillars to define good science communication and journalism. We call them the ENJOI Standard, Principles, and Indicators (SPIs). And here’s our preliminary list of SPIs.
But how can we apply SPIs to our everyday life as science journalists, communicators, practitioners, researchers, citizens? To answer this complex question, we are organizing a series of Engagement Workshops throughout Europe.
Last November, we had our first “stress-test” of the ENJOI SPIs with the Italian science communication community: the ENJOI SPIs pilot workshop during the Italian Conference of Science Communication in Trieste, Italy. Here’s the report of the workshops, with the preliminary results we collected to test our SPIs and find new ones.
ENJOI Workshop @CNCS, Trieste, Italy
What makes excellent science communication? This question kicked-off the ENJOI Workshop organized by Formicablu on November 19th, 2021 during CNCS, the Italian Conference of Science Communication (Convegno Nazionale di Comunicazione della Scienza) at SISSA in Trieste, Italy.
Identifying a list of "Standards, Principles & Indicators" (SPIs) is one of the key objectives of the ENJOI project. The Italian workshop aimed to test from a practical point of view the preliminary list of SPIs identified within the project.
Based on the process of co-creation and design thinking, the SPIs were considered the "prototype" to be evaluated with a participatory and open approach that allowed professionals, experts and practitioners to dialogue on the building blocks of effective and transparent science communication.
The workshop (1,5 hours) involved 20 participants from different science communication and journalism backgrounds. It was structured in 3 main phases:
- Brainstorming and teamwork about excellent science communication: following the general guidelines 1 principle = 1 post-it, participants reflected on the essential “ingredients” of good science communication. Divided into 3 groups, they created 3 tables of principles. Each group presented their results.
- The “big table”: the facilitators built a new table of principles matching all the results from the groups. Was the overall table surprising? This question initiated the plenary discussion, and the second phase of the workshop.
- Voting the principles: formicablu team quickly presented the ENJOI definition of Standard, Principles and Indicators. At this point, participants voted on their favourite principles from the “big table” generated during the workshop. A final discussion about the real added value of these principles for participants’ everyday work concluded the session.
And these were the main principles for excellent science communication identified by the workshop participants:
- Target audience: talk to the “right” public
- Language: be clear, direct, accurate
- Context: always present “the big picture”
- Rigour: be precise and reliable
- Storytelling: be creative, empathic
- Engagement: promote the dialogue, receive input from your public
- Sources: be transparent and independent
- Consistency: be coherent
- Complexity: don’t oversimplify
- Time: take your time to investigate
- Impact: find ways to evaluate the effect of your work
- Ethic: follow the professional deontology
During the discussion, a controversial aspect emerged: the idea of “scientific truth”. Should this be a guiding principle, or is it a dangerous one? Does the absolute “scientific truth” exist, after all? These and other related questions will be further investigated within the ENJOI project.
This Italian workshop held during CNCS was a pilot event in preparation of the ENJOI Engagement Workshops, to be held in Italy, Spain, Belgium and Portugal from March 2022.
The Italian Conference of Science Communication gathered hundreds of science communicators, science journalists, practitioners, researchers, and students.
The event included more than thirty workshops, round tables, and thematic sessions to discuss the challenges and innovations in science communication. The conference was organized by SISSA Interdisciplinary Laboratory in collaboration with Feltrinelli Education, Immaginario Scientifico, Sissa Medialab and SWIM - Science Writers in Italy.