The Communication Researcher’s Role(s) in Science and Environmental Communication

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Event Dates: 
June 6, 2013
Clarion Hotel Gillet, Uppsala, Sweden


Pre-IECA conference: International workshop organised by the Science and Environment Communication Section, ECREA ( and and Department of Culture and Media Studies, Umeå University, Sweden (

Where: Clarion Hotel Gillet, Dagarbrunnsgatan 23, Uppsala, Sweden ( (For directions see: and the map below.)

When: 6 June 2013 from 9.00-15.20

REGISTRATION AND PAYMENT: Each participant (presenter and others) is asked to register before the workshop since there are limited spaces available and we need to pre-book the lunch bag (which in turn will be paid (100 SEK) directly at the conference venue). There is no workshop fee for participants. If you plan to participate send an email to Annika Egan Sjölander at (  before 17 of May with information about your name/affiliation and possible restrictions regarding food alternatives. 

CONTENT: The purpose of this workshop is to focus on the role of the communication researcher in science and environmental projects. This type of (self)reflection is a much needed, yet on the whole overlooked or at least not sufficiently acknowledged activity among our research community. And this even if the position(s) of communication researchers often are complex and contradictory. Many science-related projects for example suggest that the main problem (for instance regarding implementation of new technologies), is that the public is uninformed and needs education. The role of the communication researcher therefore becomes to tackle the 'deficit'. Such approach can, in turn, be problematic seen from a democratic perspective where everybody’s view is equally valid or at least seen as legitimate. In environmentally related projects, on the other hand, communication researchers are themselves often motivated by a will to change or to improve actual situations (for people and the environment), if not to solve practical problems. Sometimes the work involves initiating communication campaigns to raise awareness about an urgent environmental issue or attempts to influence people’s behaviour, for example. But how to decide what the best way forward is and how do you combine the analytical task with practical work to solve the very same problem? How can the identities of communication scholars as researchers and as advocates be reconciled? What kinds of ethical and value-related questions do different roles raise? And lastly, to what extent can we expect potential transformative impacts from the specific perspectives, research questions and methods we start from in the framing of our research projects?

In this workshop we want to gather communication researchers with different experiences from the field of science and environmental communication and discuss their different role(s) in projects. We hope to create a space for dialogue, (self)reflection and learning among the participants and to offer an opportunity to deepen the understanding of these vital issues.






Welcome and introduction

ECREA SEC Management Team

Annika Egan Sjölander, Anabela Carvalho and Pieter Maeseele


Chair: Annika Egan Sjölander



Gitte Meyer

Communication scholars in science projects: Technical experts or critical participants?


Stefanie Wahl; Christoph Klimmt

The „Strategy“ Deliverable as Vehicle to Reconcile Project and Public Obligations of Communication Scholars in Science and Technology Projects


Michael Schanne, Christoph Spurk

Evaluation of an International Education and Training Programme for Science Journalists: Boundary Work between Science Journalism and Science Journalism Research


Chair: Anabela Carvalho



Sally S. Deffor

Climate Change Communication in West Africa- Who Does What And How


Therese Asplund

Experiences from research practice: The Communication researcher´s role in Science and Environmental Communication





Chair: Pieter Maeseele



Marie-Ève Maillé

When citizens’ concerns meet the ethical doubts of the researcher


Veronica Dermott

Researcher’s role in ‘bearing  witness’ to environmental issues -


Justin Rolfe-Redding

Para-Scholars as the Impresarios of Researcher/Practitioner Collaboration





Chair: Annika Egan Sjölander



Sukanya Sereenonchai

Environmental Communication Researcher’s Roles: Sharing from Thailand


Sam H Ham

Balancing two roles for interpretation researchers


Jen Schneider

Science Communication Turning Inward: The Promise and Peril of the Self-Reflexive Turn in Federally Funded Science Projects





Final discussion

All participants

Download the attached flyer for a map of the location.