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Subject:

Monologue

From:

"Burnet, Frank" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Burnet, Frank

Date:

Wed, 19 Jul 2000 12:38:10 +0100 (British Summer Time)

Content-Type:

TEXT/PLAIN

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

TEXT/PLAIN (49 lines)


Dialogue? What Dialogue?

Well that should be a lesson to me.  We had a very 
interesting discussion about the New Genetics at the ICC in 
Birmingham on Monday night. An audience of about 150. A 
great intro presentation by Jenni Murray. A lively, 
sometimes quite impassioned discussion, which had to be 
curtailed so people could get dinner. But there was a 
slight snag. Only about four of the audience were 
non-scientists.

Why? There were pieces on local radio. 18,000 full colour 
leaflets were distributed locally. [A strategy that pulled 
in at least 400 non-scientists for the concert on the 
previous evening].

My strong feeling is that the ICC once customised for a 
mega-science conference is not a place that the public feel 
is theirs. So next time it has got to be a venue that is 
very obviously in the public's rather than the scientist's 
domain. 

It wasn't wasted. Many of the bioscientists who turned up 
were young and vociferous about the need to build bridges 
with the public. A show of hands revealed that the great 
majority of attendees would be comfortable for the public 
to play some role in the setting of research priorities.

So there is a foundation to build on. I have just got to 
think again about the structures that will fit on it. 

----------------------------------------
Dr Frank Burnet MBE
Principal Lecturer in the Public Understanding of Science
School of Interdisciplinary Sciences
UWE
Coldharbour Lane
Bristol
BS16 1QY

e-mail [log in to unmask]
tel 0117 976 3879
fax 0117 976 3871
mobile 07881 580523



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