Science In Vivo categories are collections of individual sites that share a distinct setting or a set of processes. Simple enough! But these categories are worth noting for two reasons:
Individual Science In Vivo sites are very focused on adapting to the particulars of their specific setting and context. Some general lessons can always be learned from a single site, but learning how situated engagement plays out in different scenarios requires that we try something more than once, with more than one team, and in different cultural contexts. Categories allow Science In Vivo to bring together team members and observers to compare lessons from multiple sites, so we know the conclusions here apply to more than just a one-off event.
In a sense, Science In Vivo categories have passed the test. We have thought deeply about the potentials and pitfalls related to each category, and share that thinking here. However, this doesn't mean that you can now skip that work. Situated engagement does not lend itself to plug-and-play templates, or nifty tricks that you can put together in a week. Behind each of the events featured here was a local, intentional, and sometimes messy process. So, yes: try these categories out if they seem like a fit for you, but don't leap over all of the preparation that makes situated engagement meaningful.
Everyone at a parade is a part of the action, but it is usually clear who is actually on parade and who is not. This clear distinction makes parades a great entry point for considering situated engagement. All of the veteran teams with sites featured here could easily throw together outreach tables at the end of a parade route, but actually joining a parade was a very new experience. Creatively putting “parade technology” to use involves so much more than just hitching up a trailer for a parade float. For science outreach, it means rethinking everything from basic messaging, to who shows up, to overall goals and expectations. And it sure is worth it. Hear why from the teams and observers involved in three Science In Vivo sites: St. Pete Pride Parade, DragonCon Parade, and the Flagstaff Fourth of July Parade. The audio highlights here are from final critiques in 2019 and a group category conversation in 2021.Explore More
Look around at any big event and it is obvious that many people feel open, comfortable, and even empowered as choosy consumers in busy vending areas. At the core of that activity is a personal exchange, and that means pop-up retail is full of potential for science engagement. Could the joyful moment when a shopper finds an item just right for them (or a loved one) also double as a science engagement experience? As with all situated engagement, realizing the potential of this category requires rethinking outreach. And it is worth it. Hear why from the teams and observers involved in two Science In Vivo sites: Startorialist at the Grand Bazaar, and the Science Boutique. Startorialist set up a retail stall at the Grand Bazaar, an open-air market on NYC’s Upper West Side. Science Boutique set up a retail stall at downtown Boston’s Greenway Open Market. The audio highlights here are from final critiques in 2019 and a group category conversation in 2021.Explore More
Neighborhood connections and memories can span decades and generations. These deep ties forged by shared experiences over time shape a neighborhood’s identity. This is what gives neighborhood-level outreach such strong potential. It is also why neighborhood-level outreach ought to emphasize process over product. In many cases, integrating science experiences into neighborhood gatherings simply cannot be done without first taking the time to forge strong relationships and adjust to neighborhood priorities. And it is worth it. Hear why from the teams and observers involved in two Science In Vivo sites: SciCycle, and Science Haven. The audio highlights here are from final critiques in 2019 and a group category conversation in 2021.Explore More
Fantasy and SciFi Conventions celebrate super-fans, and in that respect they have much in common with other conventions for hobbyists and enthusiasts. However, they also celebrate self-expression, so are generally open and welcoming spaces. Integrating science engagement into a Con while honoring the dedication of passionate fans can be a bit of a tightrope walk. This means both proceeding with caution, and recognizing and embracing wildly creative energy that others can bring to your mission. And it is worth it. Hear why from the teams and observers involved in two Science In Vivo sites: Science CosPlay, and the DragonCon Parade. The audio highlights here are from final critiques in 2019 and a group category conversation in 2021.Explore More