Conducting Public Engagement in Times of Dissonances:
Successful Digital Premiere Unites the EUSEA Community!

140 participants, 41 speakers, 31 sessions and new ways of interaction and dialogue in an all-online setting: From 28 until 30 October 2020 the first online edition of the European Science Engagement Conference united the international community of science communication and public engagement professionals. With a strong focus on experimentation, co-creation and dialogue, the international gathering invited professionals and newcomers to share and discuss innovative ways to engage society with science.

This year’s motto resonated with the challenging times of a global pandemic, in which traditional ways of engagement need to be re-arranged or even re-composed: “Conducting Public Engagement in Times of Dissonances”.

The online edition of #EUSEA2020 offered practitioners in the field a Pan-European platform to expand their networks and enhance their skills via inspiring keynotes, interactive sessions and co-creative workshops. The conference shared and discussed relevant topics, funding programs and formats mainly related to the areas of public engagement and science communication.

Keynotes were delivered by Margie McCarthy, Head of Education and Engagement at Science Foundation Ireland, on “Why Innovation, Expertise and Impact are Important for Science Communications”; and Prof. Dietram Scheufele, Wisconsin-Madison, USA, on “How Dissonance can be Good – Why Our New Inability to Disagree makes Engagement so Difficult”. The many interesting talks included the “Uptake of Careers in STEAM” (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths), “Educational Robotics”, and “Celebrity Science”. The conference evenings offered a virtual Pub Quiz and a fabulous “EUSEA Paper Orchestra”, shaped by all conference participants, conducted by musician and artist Michael Bradke.

At the pre-conference on 28 October workshops were offered by UNESCO on “Science Engagement for Sustainable Futures”, by the Universities of Groningen and Valencia on “Using LEGO Serious Play to Foster Engagement and Stakeholder Dialogues”; and by EUSEA on the new “European Science Engagement Platform”, which was officially launched on October 30.

The list of cities in which the #EUSEA2020 participants were based, shows the wide geographical distribution of science engagement professionals interested in our network:

Ascoli Piceno, Barcelona, Beijing, Belgrade, Bergen, Berlin, Berne, Bielefeld, Bolton, Bolzano, Bucharest, Budapest, Cairo, Cambridge, Cardiff, Carlow, Cascais, Cork, Dąbrowa Górnicza, Darmstadt, Didcot, Dingli, Dublin, Dunlavin, Edinburgh, Enger, Ennis, Co Clare, Esch-sur-Alzette, Espoo, Galway, Garafia, Granada, Groningen, Hannover, Heidelberg, Herford, Heverlee, Hinxton, Innsbruck, Jerusalem, Karlsruhe, Katowice, Krems an der Donau, Lalitpur, Lausanne, Leuven, Liège, London, Loughborough, Lyon, Madison, Msida, New Delhi, Nottingham, Onsala, Oslo, Oxford, Paris, Pembroke, Prague, Reykjavik, Saarbrücken, Stockholm, Tampere, Trento, Trieste, Valencia, Vantaa, Vienna, Waterford, Vienna, Wroclaw, Zaragoza.