University Museums and Archives: partners in science communication

Margarida Isabel Almeida - Portugal

Communication is a constant in Margarida Almeida's career. Working with multidisciplinary teams, with people of different backgrounds and knowledges, is also a pleasure and a challenge she likes to pursuit.

She started his professional career on the radio and moved to institutional communication when he joined the Communication Office at the University of Aveiro. In these Services, which she coordinated for ten years, she was responsible for the creation and development of major institutional communication projects, public engagement, science communication and public relations actions. Meanwhile, she has been working in the Rectory of the University of Aveiro as communication and culture advisor. Currently she works in the Library, Documental Information and Museology Services, where she coordinates Cultural Management projects and integrates the Museum and Archive structure.

Session introduction

The University Museums and Archives have nowadays a very wide mission and a close approach to the community. Its action in promoting the public literacies, in widening the open access to data, but also promoting the community participation and involvement in its projects and cultural dynamics is turning their approach very close to science communication and engagement activities. Can we all join efforts?

We think we can. And we are having great fun doing it in the University of Aveiro.

In this workshop we will share thoughts and initiatives that we are organising in the University of Aveiro. Your out of the box experiences are also welcome to this workshop.

Session in-depth

Documents, many documents, golden or (not so) shiny pieces, art, stuffed animals or muscles and bones inside glass bottles. Collecting, cataloging, preserving, exhibiting… but do not touch and be silent.

This may be a stereotype of an old museum, library or archive. But the action of these memory institutions were never close to that stereotype. Nowadays their role and intervention is very transversal and assume a great impact on various areas of the university mission (teaching, research, cooperation) The University Museums and Archives can be strong partners of communication strategies in the public engagement on science and culture.

The models underlying science communication to non-specialized audiences and the promotion of literacies (digital literacies, informational literacies, scientific literacies, cultural literacies, …) have assumed great relevance in the approaches and interpretations of cultural works and in the processes of cultural mediation that promote the inclusion and enjoyment of visitors of different profiles (children and young people, academic audience, general public, special needs public). “Do Not Touch / Do Touch” interaction explained by scientific communication models can enhance fields and application approaches with potential development in the relationship between curation/ cultural mediation/ literacy /science and cultural communication.
Information - Communication - Participation - Engagement is a process that can be similar in scientific communication and cultural mediation processes. The archives and museums area of the University of Aveiro, in the Library, Documentary and Museology services of the University of Aveiro, develop some initiatives and exhibitions that try to put these premises into practice. To encourage the sharing we will show you some examples of exhibitions, some experiments using 3D printing, Virtual and Augmented Reality and other technologies, but also other initiatives with a more conventional model that we develop. Do you also have examples of science communication projects developed with your university museums and archives? Let’s share some experiences.