Can a Participatory Approach Twist the Boundaries of Science Education? – Københavns Universitet

Institut for Naturfagenes Didaktik > Begivenheder > 2018 > Can a Participatory Ap...

Can a Participatory Approach Twist the Boundaries of Science Education?

Co-Designing a Health Promotional Exhibition at a Science Centre

PhD defence by Catharina Thiel Sandholdt

Catharina Thiel SandholdtExperimentarium & The Department of Science Education, University of Copenhagen announces the public defence of the PhD-thesis ”Can a Participatory Approach Twist the Boundaries of Science Education? – Co-Designing a Health Promotional Exhibition at a Science Centre” by Catharina Thiel Sandholdt.

The public defence takes place on the Large Stage at Experimentarium (Ground Floor, access through the main entrance).

The defence is followed by a reception hosted by the Experimentarium. The reception takes place at the Experimentarium.

Supervisors

Professor Lars Ulriksen

Associate Professor Marianne Achiam

Exhibition Developer Mai Murmann

Senior Researcher Peter Bentsen

Professor Tine Tjørnhøj-Thomsen

Assessment committee

Professor Dagny Stuedahl, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, NO

Professor Justin Dillon, University of Exeter, UK

Associate Professor Jan Alexis Nielsen, University of Copenhagen (Chair), DK 

Abstract

The PhD-project was conducted as part of the exhibition development project PULSE - a collaborative project situated at the science centre Experimentarium, Denmark. The PULSE-project aimed to increase physical activity in families everyday-life and was based on principal guidelines from the field of health promotion. The objective of the PhD-project has been to explore methods for involving family visitors in the exhibition development process; specifically in relation to exhibits on health. To meet this objective, the project combines museum research, design research and health promotional research in the field of science education. The PhD study builds new bridges between topic and method and unfolds concrete challenges and benefits of a participatory approach in exhibition development at a science centre.

The project contributes to the field of out-of-school science by introducing new methods for exploring the links between the topic of a science centre exhibition and the perceptions and values of the intended visitors. Focusing on families rather than the individual and combining ethnographic approaches with approaches from design research, the thesis offers an unusual approach to studying science communication in a museum and science centre context. This approach is particularly relevant for exhibitions focusing on themes such as health or climate change where there is an intersection between scientific knowledge and the everyday values and practices of the visitors.
Further, the thesis contributes to a conversation about how bringing together the knowledge and experiences of researchers and developers is a fruitful endeavour with much potential, but that it also presents some challenges due to differences in the ways researchers and developers approach the process.

Download PhD thesis.