Research and Development on Understanding STEM Identity Using Live Experiences

April 27th, 2023 | EVALUATION

Dedicated science learning spaces primarily attract audiences who seek out science learning experiences. This self-selection represents a major challenge for broadening participation. We examined an approach to reaching audiences who may not ordinarily engage with science. Termed Guerilla Science, this approach blends elements of access, by removing barriers to participation by embedding science into unexpected places, with those of inclusion, by designing activities that speak to the learning identities of participants.

Guerilla Science develops live events that mix science with art, music, and play, and bring scientists into face-to-face contact with the public in the places and spaces where science is unexpected, for example, music and arts festivals, disused urban spaces, and nightclubs.

The primary focus of this evaluation is to investigate whether providing easy access and designing inclusive experiences is enough to attract some audiences to science, or whether, when an opportunity to engage with science is presented in non-science contexts and in atypical formats, these activities still just attract those portions of the audience who are already part of the 'science choir.'  We find, surveying two case studies at two public art and culture festivals, that this approach is successful in engaging low science-affine audiences. We find that, for these audiences, although the primary motivations in attending is curiosity related, the primary outcome is learning related.




Team Members

Martin Storksdieck, Oregon State University
Kari O'Connell, Oregon State University


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: Advancing Informal Science Learning
Award Number: 1612719
Funding Amount: $1,125,634.00

Related URLs

Research and Development on Understanding STEM Identity Using Live Cultural Experiences


Access and Inclusion: Urban | Women and Girls
Audience: Adults | Evaluators | Families | General Public | Learning Researchers | Museum | ISE Professionals | Scientists
Discipline: Art | music | theater | Education and learning science | General STEM
Resource Type: Audience Study | Evaluation | Evaluation Reports | Summative
Environment Type: Community Outreach Programs | Exhibitions | Park | Outdoor | Garden Programs | Parks | Outdoor | Garden Exhibits | Public Events and Festivals | Public Programs | Theater Programs

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This material is supported by National Science Foundation award DRL-2229061, with previous support under DRL-1612739, DRL-1842633, DRL-1212803, and DRL-0638981. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations contained within are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF.

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