Blog Post

C*Sci 2023 Plenary: What would it take to really share scientific power?

Photo, “Vision to Reality,” by Angela Clark

What would it take to really share scientific power?

C*Sci is people from inside and outside of professional science working together to do science and solve a problem people care about. We might be working on figuring out migration patterns for monarch butterflies, reducing pollution in our redlined neighborhood, or building ethical frameworks for emergent technology, but we all share a conviction – born out by our own experience – that this work is done more precisely, more fairly, and it will have more impact when we do it together. We also know, sometimes too well, how challenging it can be to do this kind of work. Those of us in science have had to teach ourselves how to collaborate with new people, had to raise funds in systems where our work doesn’t seem to fit, faced blank looks (or worse) from colleagues, and been unrecognized for some of the things we are most proud of. As community members, educators, and community organizers we’ve have had to learn to navigate the culture of organized science, defend our knowledge and insights, fight for even a small share of resources, and smile in photo-ops designed to make big institutions look good. Institutional science, big universities, traditional funders, and government agencies don’t seem to be set up for the collaborative approaches at the heart of C*Sci.  

What if they were? What would a system that supported C*Sci as vigorously as it supported
“traditional” science look like? What if community members and community-based
organizations were supported and invested in the way we invest in science and scientists? What
if input about science came from all voices, so that it wasn’t just what academics, funders, and
policymakers think historically marginalized people want or need? How could we get there?
How much power are people invested in “traditional” science willing to share? Can we get there
with small evolutionary steps, or do we need a more revolutionary approach? What would it take
from governments, universities, community groups, and boundary spanners?
Join this panel of thought leaders from community organizing, academia, and nonprofits for a
frank and thoughtful discussion of what it will take to actually share scientific power.

Discussion Questions

  • What are some of the systemic changes needed and how can C*SA – as an organization help model and accelerate those changes?
  • How can C*SA help all of its members find their place in this vision and mobilize its membership toward this goal?
  • How can we particularly welcome & support non-scientists and non-scientific organizations into this effort and make sure we all receive our share of the benefits?
  • And, of course, questions from the audience

Confirmed Panelists:

Angela Chalk, Ph.D, is the Founder and Executive Director of Healthy Community Services, which
supports vulnerable communities as they pursue resilient and sustainable lifestyles.

Kenja Hassan, Ph.D. is Assistant Vice President, Government & Community Engagement, and the
Director of Downtown Pheonix Campus Government and Community Affairs at Arizona State

Moderator:  Mónica Ramírez-Andreotta, M.P.A., Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Public Health at the University of Arizona. Using an environmental justice framework and participatory research methods, she investigates exposure pathways and communication strategies to translate environmental health research to action and achieve structural change.

This Plenary is sponsored by AGU, Wiley and the new, multi-society, Community Science Exchange, which includes the journal “Community Science” and the Community Science Hub for high-quality resources about all aspects of community science

Session description by Raj Pandya, Vice President Community Science, AGU

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