Astronomy and geophysics outreach in community partnerships

Topic: Computing

Session Title: Astronomy and geophysics outreach in community partnerships: RAS200


Community partnerships in science communication and outreach impact on the lives of many of its beneficiaries with effects that go far beyond the science. Engaging the wider public with astronomical research and modern discoveries is increasingly important to the future of astronomy and geophysics.

A prominent example of this approach was RAS200: Sky and Earth, the Royal Astronomical Society’s bicentennial £1 million outreach and engagement scheme that aimed to embed astronomy and geophysics within culture and society, with a particular focus on among non-traditional and previously unengaged partners and demographics.

To achieve this, RAS200 deliberately sought out and engaged with partners that work with harder-to-reach groups, including young people with troubled lives, prisoners and their families, full-time carers, travellers and asylum seekers. The project has also targeted different cultural audiences internationally, with arts-science activities and events. Between 2015 and 2023, there were 12 RAS200 projects ran; all subject to rigorous external evaluation. Community partnerships now form a central part of the education and outreach strategy for the Society.

We propose this session to highlight the success and benefits of novel partnerships of science outreach, with contributions from community partners, evaluators and the members of the RAS200 Steering Group. We would like the session to include discussion on best practice for engaging a variety of audiences and communities with astronomy and geophysics. We invite talks on the planning and delivery of different types of community engagement, working with partners, and evaluation.

We plan to give NAM attendees an opportunity to hear from some of the RAS200 projects in addition to other community projects in partnerships, as well as hearing about the evaluation processes and findings from them. Representatives of community and novel partnerships outside of the RAS200 programme are strongly encouraged to submit abstracts.

Organiser(s): Sheila Kanani, Steve Miller, Robert Massey, Mandy Bailey, Sheona Urquhart, Lucinda Offer, Ian Robson, Sue Bowler, Jane Macarthur, Colin Snodgrass


Session 1: Thursday 18th July, 09:00 – 11:00