Making Connections: Communities in Conversation

1 October 2022

Making Connections: Communities in Conversation

"Communities in Conversation" project was a vibrant meeting of high school students, adults, and STEM ambassadors to explore the multifaceted world of science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM). This project funded by the UK Science Festival Network and UK Research and Innovation.

The event was a compilation of engaging activities that urged participants to challenge their perceptions and expand their horizons. Community members were tasked with illustrating their conception of a scientist, while STEM representatives were asked to sketch their interpretation of a community. These exercises demonstrated the power of perspective and the importance of broadening our understanding of others.

The 'mingle questions' segment was a unique approach to fostering interaction and connection. Participants discovered new ways of knowing each other through a series of probing questions, leading to a more profound understanding of their counterparts.

As the day unfolded, the event highlighted the requisite skills for STEM careers: innovative thinking, diverse communication methods, and a strong sense of cooperation.

The event was articulated in three words: conversation, conversation, and more conversation. A unique exercise had participants describe their emotions with just one word, prompting them to express their feelings without speech. This underscored the power of non-verbal communication, such as sign language and body language.

The day was filled with lessons, but the most significant was the importance of active listening, encouraging others to share their thoughts, respecting diverse viewpoints, and striving to reach a consensus during group discussions.

The day ended on a high note, revisiting the 'draw a scientist' activity. The drawings that emerged, featuring hijab-wearing scientists and people of colour, signified the inclusivity and diversity present in STEM fields. It was uplifting to see young participants recognizing that science is a field open to all.

"Communities in Conversation Part Two" was more than an event; it was an enlightening journey that underlined the importance of active dialogue and mutual respect. It set the stage for continued conversations that would extend beyond the day, inspiring participants to carry forward the spirit of the event into their daily lives and future STEM endeavours.