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    Science and You

    Science&You Conference

    Nancy, France from the 1st to the 6th of June 2015.

    Hester du Plessis, Faculty Head, Humanity at MISTRA, attended a science communication conference in Nancy, France from the 1st to the 6th of June 2015. She is a member of the Steering Committee of the Journées Hubert Curien International Conference on Science&You that took place in Nancy (France). The Conference was hosted by the University of Lorraine at the Centre Prouvé in Nancy - 1 Place de la République and was attended by 50 countries with some 700 presenters. The Science&You Conference Centre recorded 10,000 visitors during the week of this event.

    Hester has been involved in the planning of this conference for the past two years. The previous Journées Hubert Curien conference took place in 2013 and was based on the theme Science communication today: international perspectives, issues and strategies. The 2013 conference led to the production of a book: Baranger, Patrick & Schiele, Bernard. 2013. Science communication today: international perspectives, issues and strategies. Paris: CNRS Éditions.

    Hester du Plessis hosted and presented a paper for one of the sessions based on the topic of: Political challenges for science communication: perspectives from Africa, India, Canada, France and Europe. She was joined in the session with presentations by Prof Joelle Le Marec, Professor of Information and Communication Sciences at the Centre de Recherche Lettres Arts Cinéma (CERILAC) at the University of Paris, Diderot; Professor Bernard Schiele, Science communication specialist, University of Quebec in Montreal and Professor Gauhar Raza, Science Communication through Multi-media. NISCAIR, CSIR, India. The presentations will be submitted to a future edition of the Journal for Scientific Temper.

    Pictures from the Conference can be accessed by: http://www.science-and-you.com/en/node/35

    The

    Science&You Conference details are posted on: www.science&you.com

    A declaration was issued at the launch of the first day of the conference and comments were discussed during the closing ceremony. The declaration was well received, evoked constructive debates and was signed by more than 50 of the delegates. The declaration will be shared with a wider audience in the coming months after the conference – the task will be facilitated by the VC of the University of Lorraine, Professor Pierre Mutzenhardt.

    Nancy declaration 2015.

    This gathering of 1,000 Scholars, Researchers and Science Communicators, from 50 Countries, assembled at the International Conference, Science and You-2015, Nancy, France, held from 1st to 6th June, takes note of the following developments in the recent past.

    1. The history of science shows that the development and propagation of scientific ideas has sometimes been challenging traditional belief systems, conservative cultural groups and the intolerant sections of ruling classes.

    2. Contemporary debates show trends of strong temptations to distort scientific research for vested interests, and thereby using science communication for their own purposes, instead of common good.

    3. In the recent past, a number of science communicators and researchers across the world, have faced increasing violent interference.

    4. On the other hand, they have also faced, increasing pressure to work for the promotion of techno-scientific innovations rather than the scientific debate.

    5. The interference comes from at least three different sources; the state, the corporate sector and the religio-fundamentalist and other undemocratic social forces operating within specific cultures. The degree of uncalled for interference varies a great deal across the globe and sometimes leads to violent acts.

    6. The recent past has witnessed the re-emergence, widespread expansion and consolidation of variants of religio-fundamentalist forces. These forces have become increasingly intolerant. The process has a direct impact on the propagation of scientific ideas.

    7. Propagation of science in any society cannot be delinked from the freedom of enquiry, freedom of expression and free exchange of thoughts. In order to propagate science it is imperative to ensure a secured atmosphere for exercising these sovereignties. It is also noted with concern that the spaces for exercising freedoms are shrinking in both the developed and developing countries.

    8. Societies, which for long were considered to be a safe haven for scientists and science communicators, have witnessed today the re-emergence of science-sceptical beliefs and manipulation of cynical attitudes.

    Consequently, we resolve the following:

    • We pay our deep respect and homage to those who have laid their lives in the service of propagating science.

    • We urge the governments to create a congenial atmosphere for freely sharing the outcome of scientific research. 

    • We urge the governments to provide a secured environment for free exchange of ideas and tolerance towards open debate on scientific issues, even when these are socially, culturally, economically or politically uncomfortable.

    • We shall in future place on record all incidents of interference, attacks, physical or otherwise, on those individuals and organisations who propagate science.

    • We also resolve to use every available forum for spreading freedom of scientific consciousness and thereby resist the forces that inhibit propagation of the spirit of enquiry.

    • We will undertake and encourage colleagues and scholars to scrutinise sources, nature and methods of agencies which interfere with the spirit of inquiry and sharing of knowledge.

    • We will treat the public domain as a free and democratic space where the uncensored intellectual exchange of ideas must be promoted and supported.

    Resolution moved by: Patrick Baranger, Martin Bauer, Hester du Plessis, Joëlle le Marec, Gauhar Raza and Bernard Schiele.​

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