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IDEA-THON: sensemaking applied to science engagement practice

November 2021

In this Workroom, participants were able to join a mini idea-thon and work in a group with five professional peers over four, weekly sessions on practical science engagement case studies and creative challenges, to try out new conceptual tool design by the RETHINK project.

This Workroom has now ended.

The central concept of the Workroom was following the sensemaking theory - which explores how people make sense of science and the world by bridging the gaps in their knowledge with previous experiences, expectations, emotions, values and interests.

As part of the RETHINK project, researchers have been exploring how sensemaking can be applied to science engagement - and they believe that it opens new ways of interacting with audiences, whether new or old. They have also identified a series of roles and repertoires used in science communication, a useful way to reflect on your own practice and expand your palette.

Attendees could explore new ways of interacting with your audiences and harvest ideas for engagement with new and underserved audiences. After getting familiar with the theory, they worked as part of a small team of practitioners and explore what sensemaking, roles and repertoires could bring to a specific science engagement challenge. They were able to "pitch" their own case studies for group work or put their creativity at the service of someone else.

Invited experts, as champions and disruptors helped teams throughout their four-week creative process, and there was also time for reflective moments on own practices, and discussion on how we could begin bringing ideas back to daily professional life. The Workroom culminated in a final (and joyful!) pitch session where promising ideas were harvested and shared with the wider science engagement community.

The Workroom was held online on 9, 16, 23 and 30 November. Creative sessions took place between 13:30 and 16:30 CET.

The Workroom was free of charge and places were allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.


  • Rethink
  • Ecsite workrooms


Julie Becker


Registration for the Idea-thon is now closed.