Why work in partnership?

Equitable partnerships are fundamental to good, community-based informal science learning and engagement.

Diversity of thought

Relevance to life experience, personalisation and localisation are key elements of STEM engagement. Working in partnership ensures your activity suits the needs of the participant and avoids a ‘parachuting in’ approach where communities are talked ‘at’ by STEM engagement professionals and the content and approach is decided for them.

Partnership is also essential for research, ensuring we tackle real community needs, challenges and interests for novel research areas. Close community relationships enable more diverse research participation, public acceptance and involvement, and promote clinically relevant outcomes. Ultimately community participation improves the science itself.

Great partnerships are active, open and generous relationships, built on trust with shared values. They recognise and bring together diverse expertise and connections for the greater benefit of all parties.

Partnerships need time to evolve, to understand each other, to share values and to build trust.

Working in partnership we can all work towards transforming the field in ways that support science centres and science museums to become meaningfully inclusive, welcoming and relevant to everyone.

Emily Dawson, Associate Professor, Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS), UCL