Public outreach

Connecting science journalism and science with people and culture

WCSJ 2019 will transcend Lausanne’s rich cultural life with various activities, which reach people of different backgrounds and cultural interests. These activities take advantage of the fact that many well-established science-related cultural events and venues already exist in Lausanne, from theatre to museums to concept bars.

 Involve the next generation

 A special opportunity can be offered to children of middle to higher school age as part of the regional holiday programmes for children (at the time of WCSJ, there are school holidays): Taking advantage of the open doors many labs will have for WCSJ, youngsters will also have the opportunity to visit them, learn, ask questions, and then create articles in various formats in a hand-on workshop with science journalists. This work should lead to a comprehensive report, which is presented at the end of the conference.

 Facilitate public debate

 In general, science journalists scrutinize scientists’ work. We want to add a new dimension to that, in order to shed light not only on science, but also on how science is covered in the media, and how this shapes the general view on it. For that reason, public debates will take place, where science journalists and scientists critically exchange on each others roles, with a focus on topics of great societal relevance like new medical treatments, nuclear energy or climate change. The conference website will be used as a means to collect questions from an interested public in advance and to let people participate from the distance.

 Science journalism partners with the big screen

 Just when science journalists, writers and editors will gather for WCSJ 2019 in Lausanne, in nearby Neuchâtel (40min by train) takes place the Neuchâtel International Fantastic (Science-Fiction) Film Festival (NIFFF). Created in 2000, NIFFF has since developed into a major film event. Indeed, NIFFF’s quality and original programs, as well as its prestigious guests convinced both the public (more than 45,000 visitors each years) and the critics. With NIFFF, a partnership of special importance is already secured for WCSJ2019.

There are a series of themes, which are of great interest for science journalism as well as for science fiction: neuroscience, fusion of man and machine, robotisation, artificial intelligence. In close consultation, one theme will be chosen. On this theme, NIFFF will feature a special retrospective with about 20 films and a number of guests (directors, script writers, actors). It will also organise a master class on the theme, which is open to the public. After a public viewing, the most pressing questions around the chosen topic will be discussed in a public format that engages with the audience. WCSJ will bring in science journalists as facilitators and critical participants, which will moderate debates between scientists, fiction specialists science journalists/communicators and the public.