Olivia F. McRae, Alice Motion, Reyne Pullen


The development of science communication practice is often driven by the evolving needs and embedded values of a specific culture or country (Davies & Horst 2016). These differing perspectives are lost when we focus on Western histories of science and science communication. In the literature, and often in practice, this has resulted in the exclusion of non-Western and Indigenous histories of communicating scientific knowledge (Orthia, 2020).

Similarly, science syllabi often privilege Western histories of science, with narratives of white male scientists dominating science history (Pringle & McLaughlin, 2014). These narratives are neither representative of the rich history of science nor the diversity of the student cohorts. Incorporating science history into curriculums can improve student engagement and understanding of concepts (Olsson et al., 2015), highlighting the importance of representing diverse histories.

This presentation will explore multiple histories of science communication, including Western, non-Western, and Indigenous histories. It will challenge the ‘deficit to dialogue’ rhetoric by highlighting the broad landscape of science communication in Australia and globally. Finally, it will suggest some ways to broaden histories of science communication and acknowledge those that have been excluded in order to build towards a more inclusive future of science education and communication.


Davies, S. R., & Horst, M. (2016). Science Communication. Palgrave Macmillan UK.
Olsson, K. A., Balgopal, M. M., & Levinger, N. E. (2015). How Did We Get Here? Teaching Chemistry with a Historical Perspective. Journal of Chemical Education, 92(11), 1773–1776.
Orthia, L. (2020). Strategies for including communication of non-Western and indigenous knowledges in science communication histories. Journal of Science Communication, 19(2), A02.
Pringle, R. M., & McLaughlin, C. A. (2014). Preparing Science Teachers for Diversity: Integrating the Contributions of Scientists from Underrepresented Groups in the Middle School Science Curriculum. In M. M. Atwater, M. Russell, & M. B. Butler (Eds.), Multicultural Science Education: Preparing Teachers for Equity and Social Justice (pp. 193–208). Springer Netherlands.


history, science communication

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