We've been doing science outreach for a long time, so we're used to going where the people are. Bringing the educational experiences we've created out into the world is a great way to reach people. Setting up a good community outreach table at a crowded event will keep you busy interacting with people all day.
In fact, this keeps us so busy "doing science" that we rarely get the chance to pick our heads up. When we do have a pause in the action we stay close to our designated spaces. To leave our posts would seem irresponsible...
...but some of us wandered off anyway.
As it turns out, wandering off from our spaces forces us to put down the teaching tools we're used to using: our hands-on activities, our demos and diagrams, our usual bag of tricks. This means we are finally free to stop, look around, notice what everyone else is actually doing, and...
We call joining in like this "situated engagement." If community outreach is about going where the people are, then situated engagement is about taking the next step and doing what the people do. We're experimenting with situated engagement through the Science In Vivo project, and dozens of teams from across the U.S. are taking part.
It's been an incredible ride so far, and we're glad you're here to share it with us. We're finding that situated engagement reorients our whole approach to what we do. The Science In Vivo website is built around audio clips of professionals processing this reorientation first hand. The site is full of gems, but to appreciate their real value you will need to slow down and listen.
Draw what inspiration you can from our experiences, then wander off, rethink outreach, and find your own way to join in.