Why Inclusive Scicomm?
The benefits of centering inclusion and justice in scicomm (and life!) have been well-documented. With Meteor, we’re especially interested in how this impacts mid- and advanced-career science communicators (SCs).
Scicomm practitioners and professionals are hitting exclusionary barriers and a ceiling on their change-potential way too early (and these career obstacles affect some folks more than others, of course!). At a certain level of professional expertise, we know growth, opportunities, and innovation are no longer contingent upon skills or training, they are contingent upon relationships and access to resources.
The ceiling is simple: most trainings for SCs impart entry-level skills to early-career communicators. Scicomm career advancement and impact are impeded and obscured by a lack of dedicated professional development opportunities for experienced professionals that actually meets the need for securing resources and building relationships. [Sure, mentoring/fellowships can uplift accomplished SCs, but such programs are rare, extremely competitive, and often reinforce privilege. Thus, most experienced SCs, and especially vulnerable/marginalized professionals, have less help than they deserve navigating and negotiating growth and shifts above entry-level career stages.]
Further, the field of scicomm and the audiences scicomm should target are way more diverse than is accounted for in existing scicomm funding, training, and research domains. Most scicomm research and programming focuses on skill-building, networking, funding, and awards for two types of science communicators: scientist communicators (in institutions and agencies) and journalists (e.g., NAS recent awards, Royal British Society surveys of scientist-communicators’ attitudes, whole bodies of research, etc.). And yet, our peer groups are crowded with people that are often excluded from science institution and legacy/new media journalism conversations, spaces, and opportunities. Examples include outdoor science educators, YouTubers and TikTokers, and science artists.
Basically, we think the conception, training, funding, research, and practice of scicomm needs to include a whole lot more folks in a whole lot more ways. We founded Meteor and are launching associated initiatives (like our podcast, SciComm STEP, and other stuff in the works) to actively push for these expansions of what scicomm is, who does it, how well resourced they are, and what their impact is and should be.