Science and public: Ugandan experience of cafe scientifique

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<ul><li><p>Patrice Akusa Mawa</p><p>*</p></li><li><p>BackgroundA Caf Scientifique is a place where, for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, people meet to discuss the latest ideas of science and technology that are changing our lives. (Dallas et al).Meetings take place in cafes or winebars, community centres or other public venues. The Caf Scientifique is the first worldwide network devoted to publicly discussing science. </p><p>*</p></li><li><p>Caf Scientifique in UgandaStarted independently in July 2007. Some support and guidance from Caf Scientifique, Leeds (Duncan Dallas group).Meetings take place once a month.Usual format is for a speaker, usually a scientist, to speak for 20 minutes, followed by a break for drinks and then discussion and questions for up to an hour.Attendance between 10-30 on average. More in local cafes.</p><p>*</p></li><li><p>Why a cafe?</p><p>Traditional cultural waysChanging the location of scientific discussion, from the University or research centre to a cafe, changes the agenda, tone and nature of the discussion.The meetings are open to anyone and the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. In a Caf you expect to have a conversation, and the object of the Caf Scientifique is to bring science back into conversation and culture.</p><p>*</p></li><li><p>Find a cafe in UgandaEntebbe (central Uganda)- 2 cafes.Kasese (western)Kampala (central)Arua (north western)Nkumba univeristy (central)</p><p>Speakers: research centres &amp; universities.Topics: Health, environment, agric, social, aviation, financial.</p><p>*</p></li><li><p>Challenges &amp; lessons Lack of resources.Self sustenance is a problem.Maintaining scientific spice &amp; flavour in the cafes.Discussions of sensitive issues-ethical? Few ladies attending.Cafes in local languages look to benefit the ordinary person directly. (live testimonies!)Using creative approaches can get the public back to science. Big appetite for informal science discussions in Uganda.</p><p>*</p></li><li><p>Good news.........Wellcome trust public engagement award.Expand/strengthen adult cafes and start junior cafes in schools in Uganda. Junior cafes meant to popularise science, encourage science education and hopefully make scientific basis of conditions easy to understood.Project co-ordinator recruited already. To start work in January 2009.</p><p>*</p></li><li><p>*</p></li><li><p>*</p></li><li><p>Thank you</p><p>*</p><p>*</p><p>*</p><p>*</p><p>*</p><p>*</p><p>*</p><p>*</p><p>*</p><p>*</p><p>*</p></li></ul>


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