Accepted Paper:

BioHack*Kolding : bringing science to citizens and citizens to science  

Author:

Danielle Wilde (University of Southern Denmark)

Paper short abstract:

BioHack*Kolding explores the potential of do-it-together biology to support community building in a town that lacks strong science representation, assisting participants to reflect on the bio-potential of their personal, social and political ecologies and to translate their ideas into action.

Paper long abstract:

Organisations that support lay people to practice bioscience alongside experts are proliferating. They enable interested people to join the global discussion on Bio Engineering by supporting them to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to do it themselves. Such organisations play an important role in facilitating informed debate around the biological sciences. Yet they cannot reach everyone. BioHack*Kolding asks how community-focused biology initiatives can reach people in smaller towns that lack science representation, so that they too can join the debate and ensure that its development is relevant for the full spectrum of society. Using Participatory Innovation - an approach that expands the repertoire of how to support change processes - we expand the space of action to reach diverse participant groups. We discuss initiatives designed for different communities in response to questions such as: How might we empower people with perhaps radically different perspectives to come together in a Do-It-Together BioLab? Can engaging with science in this manner facilitate connections between communities? Can it empower participants to engage directly with scientists? Can their ideas and experiments inform emerging science to ensure that science is societally relevant? If so, how? Members of BioHack*Kolding gain knowledge through experience, discussion and practice in an evolving, responsive process. This approach is enabling us to gain deeper insights into what design can do to help scientists and citizens engage with each other through reflections, discussions and actions that emerge directly from the civic imaginary.

Panel T107
Maker Movement, FabLabs, Hackerspace and improvisation: Science, Technology and Education by other means?