Teaching: Critical & Creative Thinking in Science Communication

Critical & Creative Thinking in Science Communication

I run this course as an exercise in critical thinking about modern science (what is science & how is it now changing?) and the challenges of contemporary science communication. We examine expectations of science (by different people, cultures etc), & debunk the myth of science as separate from society. We explore a multi-disciplinary approach to produce creative ways for actively engaging society & science (e.g. aesthetics of science, visual cognition, citizen science, dialogue). Wherever possible we combine a philosophical approach for understanding science with a practical approach for critical & creative thinking in communicating science. The underlying premise? A deeper understanding of social (contemporary & historical) & aesthetic aspects of science gives us greater power for clarity, creativity, & effectiveness in science communication. THE BRIDGE BETWEEN THEORY & PRACTICE IS IMPORTANT… WE CLIMB ALL OVER THIS BRIDGE.


–  Understand the historical drivers of how we view science, & contemporary expectations of science.

–  Understand the labile nature of science, & its relationship with society.

– Develop the awareness of cognitive drivers of learning & engagement.

– Gain better understanding of the modes & broad-reaching applications of science communication.

–  Develop visual communication skills through critical & creative thinking & practice (I.e. hone your ways of knowing & showing!)

Student Work:

A selection of student Essays on various angles of Science Communication

Some preliminary work in Mapping Science

And here’s another example mapping the human injustice of climate change…

 injustice of climate change


The 2 DEGREE Different project here, and also on at CanvastheOceancreative engagement with the science of ocean warming

A community-engaged project on traditional knowledge and marine management with the East Otago Taiapuri  more at CanvastheOcean.

Visualisation challenges:  on everything from pirate fisheries to bee health to genome size

by Jerry RockArcher


Bee 2

Bee 3

by Kimberley Collins

and see here  and here for Lindsey Horne’s work on bee health or here for Phoebe Shaw’s on the Anthropocean, or here and here for Brandon Gantt’s images on GM.


and for new ways of evoking empathy for the plight of amphibians worldwide: screen shots below of  a gaming approach!

Making the Game 2

Making the Game 1

Visualisation - Frog's Reach (Before and After)

by Mike Lamb

Making the Game 3