7294 Science Agora: The Evolving Science Festival and Its Roles in Japan's Science Communication Policy-Making

Sunday, February 19, 2012
Exhibit Hall A-B1 (VCC West Building)
Senkei Umehara , Japan Science and Technology Agency, Tokyo, Japan
Kenji Yoshida , Japan Science and Technology Agency, Tokyo, Japan
Masataka Watanabe , Japan Science and Technology Agency, Tokyo, Japan
Since its inception in 2006, Science Agora has continued to be one of the leading science communication events in Japan. Making its progress over the past six years, it accepted the growing number of competitive proposals nationwide. It also featured sessions on the country's most current topics of the respective years, among which we discussed informal science education, funding, science outreach and the relationship between science and society. In recent years more than a thousand exhibitors and individual program organizers join together, making the place more like a salad bowl where they contribute to the evolving network of science communicators with their own skills and materials. Catalytic functions among the participants define the core values of Science Agora. It actually synchronizes with the evolution of Japan's science communication policy from traditional public understanding schemes to more engaging, dialogue-based, bidirectional ones. Responding to Japan's new Science and Technology Basic Plan, which declares the better involvement of societal members into policy-making, it further encourages dialogues and discussions on various trans-scientific issues that involve more diverse stakeholders and the public. Moreover, the year 2011 saw a dramatic change in considering how trust in science and technology should be (re-)gained after the major earthquake and the subsequent nuclear accident. Therefore, with this as the year's main theme, Science Agora has tried to be a place of assembly ("agora" in Greek) where everyone, both experts and lay people, talks about this important issue as individual citizens. This presentation reviews the recent history of Japan's science communication policy, and introduces the roles of Science Agora as one of the largest festival-style event in the country. Analyses of a range of empirical, qualitative and quantitative evidence will be demonstrated for open discussion with the meeting participants.
See more of: AAAS General Poster Session
See more of: Poster Sessions