Blog Post

Promising Practices for Community Partnerships

“How do we engage more diverse audiences?”
If you and your program are asking this question, you are not alone. This question was heard again and again from educators and administrators attending a series of 2012 workshops on citizen science at science centers. The same question was explored by citizen science project leaders at a 2012 workshop facilitated by the Center for Diversity and the Environment.
With support from the Association of Science-Technology Centers, a task force was convened to address this question and provide insights for the field. A team of PPSR practitioners and researchers, science center administrators, and experts on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) in Informal Science Education (ISE) settings worked together to develop evidence-based recommendations for improving the cultural inclusiveness of PPSR projects and to explore the role that science centers might play in this effort. Insights were based on case studies of efforts to engage communities that have been most marginalized and disenfranchised in the sciences and PPSR, including communities of color, low income communities, and tribal communities. We hope the insights gained from these studies may also speak to cultural inclusiveness in broader terms.
This work aims to advance the development of cultural competence across the field of public participation in scientific research by highlighting programs that feature promising culturally inclusive practices. Culturally inclusive practices allow for flexibility to engage participants from a variety of backgrounds and worldviews. Integrating culturally inclusive practices in PPSR program design is essential for working positively with participants from communities that are underrepresented in the sciences and the environmental movement. The report and related case studies aim to inspire and inform next steps for the field, and to provide guidance for scientists and science educators who are organizing, managing, creating or expanding PPSR projects. We welcome additional discussion, debate, and examples of similar work in this area to further fuel the effort.
Download the report (PDF, 392KB).
Download the case studies (PDF, 489KB), or read excerpts online.

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