12 August 2019

By Karien Joubert

Several weeks ago I joined a group of 48 adventurous individuals from 15 countries and embarked on a journey into the world of public science communication. This journey (via an interactive online course) is now drawing to a close. As any traveller returning home knows, the barrage of questions is about to begin. Where did we go? What sights did we see? How did we experience the local food and culture?

Well, our journey took us far afield in both time and place. We traced the roots of science as a public activity back to ancient times and considered its development as an organised part of public life in Western society during the 17th Century with the formation of the first scientific societies. We visited international leaders in the field in the USA, Europe and the UK and had fascinating conversations about their understandings of #scicomm.

Our understanding of the relevance and importance of #scicomm, especially in diverse cultures like South Africa, has been richly deepened. My fellow travelers have subsequently described the journey as “an adventure”, “delighting and challenging” and “eye-opening to the power of science communication in society.”

If you feel ready to embark on a quest exploring new people and ideas, don’t despair, you haven’t missed your chance. Travel plans for undertaking a similar journey in 2020 are already underway. If you are interested to join the next leg of this journey, please send an email to rlm@sun.ac.za and ask Rolene to put your name on the list of interested participants.