Outreach in Geoscience: what does it mean to you
Convener: Carol Cotterill | Co-conveners: Vivien Cumming, Christian Koeberl, Ulrike Prange, Thomas Wiersberg
| Attendance Thu, 11 Apr, 14:00–15:45
Hall X4

If you look up the definition of outreach you are likely to find something along the lines of “an effort made by an organisation or group to connect its ideas or practices to other groups, specific audiences to the general public”. Much has been made of outreach taking an educational component, or moving towards a more two-way street in which outreach is considered as engagement rather than solely dissemination or teaching.
Research on successful outreach suggests that it will be more effective if the people you are targeting can see the relevance to themselves, and that narrower outreach targets are more effective than all-encompassing groups: If we try to create a message that speaks to everyone we will reach no one. But if we take one step back – what do we, as those trying to develop outreach activities, or respond to the compulsory aspect of outreach activities within our funded research, see as “outreach”?
For example, a scientist working on research that has an outreach component as part of the funding – do they see it the same way as museums arranging public talks or lecture series? Do science communicators see it the same way as those engaged with stakeholders? Has the term “Outreach” become representative of so many different activities that we no longer have a common dictionary or understanding of what we are trying to achieve within geoscience? Can we comfortably continue to sit in the middle ground between science policy (working with stakeholders), science education (designing classroom activities and games) and science communication (press releases and social media activities)?
In this session we would like to explore the definition of outreach and what it means to you, and so put outreach into context as an integral part of the research process. The convenors also want to address how we continue disseminating geoscience activities from international scientific programs such as IODP and ICDP.