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For adults only: adult science capital

The concept of science capital has gained increasing attention in both formal and informal science institutions in recent years, as a potentially useful way of thinking about our audiences. To date, most of this work has focused on school pupils. But what about the grown-ups? In this session, we introduce and explore the potential of adult science capital, drawing on the development of an index of science capital in the UK, before exploring its potential for all science engagement organisations and practices. Could it give new insights into audiences (or non-visitors), particularly diverse ones?

More about this session: After the convenor introduces the concept and measurement tool, a panel from across the EU (including Italy, Ireland, Austria and Germany), representing a natural history museum, an art-science institution, a network of science centres and a science museum will consider and reflect: How might the concept of adult science capital be applied in their organisations? Next, participants will discuss in small groups about how they might use a measure of science capital in their own work. Finally, the groups will pose questions to the convenor, and the session will conclude with a wider discussion about how useful adult science capital might be in practice.


Senior Research Fellow
IOE (UCL's Faculty of Education & Society)
United Kingdom

Session speakers

Head of Exhibitions
Uwe will speak from the perspective of a natural history museum focused on adult visitors.
Director of Education and of the Centre of Research in Informal Learning
Maria will speak from the perspective of a science museum and family visitors.
Ian Brunswick
Programme Manager
Science Gallery Dublin
Ian will speak from the perspective of an art-science institution that focuses primarily on young adult and adult audiences.
Executive Manager
Barbara will speak from the perspective of a network of science centres, with a particular emphasis on underserved audiences and diversity/inclusion.
Deputy Head of Public Engagement
University of Bath
United Kingdom
Dean will speak from the perspective of a university natural history museum, which has recently seen a shift in demographics to a more adult audience.