ann22008 — Announcement

Cover of the IAU open-source public engagement training materials
16 February 2022
IAU Releases Free Materials for Public Engagement Trainers

Today the IAU releases a unique set of open-source materials designed to be used in public engagement training workshops. There are two items: 

  1. A workshop slide deck (Google Slides & PowerPoint).
  2. A document containing a workbook, a guide for facilitators, a literature review and pre/post-surveys.

For those who want more information on how to use them, the IAU is organising an online seminar on public engagement training, which will be livestreamed here from 11 to 13:30 UTC on 22 February 2022.

The resources have been co-created by the IAU community and a steering committee composed of researchers and practitioners in the field of astronomy outreach. They include a deep dive into public engagement practice and a co-learning discussion on best practice in equity and inclusion.

The materials focus on the importance of trust- and relationship-building in science communication, under the guiding principle that good relationships are essential to effective outreach. They are fully open source with a Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike Licence, following the Open Education Resources principles: reuse, revise, remix, redistribute, and review.

The online seminar on 22 February will feature both researchers and practitioners in the field of astronomy outreach and public engagement, including Ewine van Dishoeck, former IAU President, Brooke Smith, Director of Public Engagement with Science at The Kavli Foundation, and John Besley, Ellis N. Brandt Professor of Public Relations at Michigan State University.

“A core challenge of science communication is to foster relationships of trust between the scientific community and the broader communities in which we all live,” says John Besley, a member of the Steering Committee. “As a science communication researcher, I hope the knowledge and skills shared through this workshop can help astronomers engage with their neighbours and strengthen science-society relationships.”

The Public Engagement Training Programme will continue under the IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach. A set of open Indesign files is also being made available for adaptation, localisation and translation purposes. 

More information

The IAU Public Engagement Training Programme was supported by the Kavli Foundation, The programme was implemented by the Leiden Observatory's Astronomy and Society Group at Leiden University, under the supervision of Pedro Russo, and was managed by Kelly Blumenthal.

The IAU is the international astronomical organisation that brings together more than 12 000 active professional astronomers from more than 100 countries worldwide. Its mission is to promote and safeguard astronomy in all its aspects, including research, communication, education and development, through international cooperation. The IAU also serves as the internationally recognised authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and the surface features on them. Founded in 1919, the IAU is the world's largest professional body for astronomers.

The IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach (OAO) is a joint project of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). The mission of the OAO is to engage the public in astronomy through access to astronomical information and communication of the science of astronomy. This is implemented through a network of IAU National Outreach Coordinators (NOCs) and the IAU’s public engagement initiatives. The work of the OAO is about building bridges between the IAU and the global astronomy community of amateur astronomers, outreach professionals, educators, communicators, and the general public, and through international collaboration, to make the science of astronomy accessible to all.



Kelly Blumenthal
IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach, Deputy Director 
Cell: +1 201 463 7085

Pedro Russo
Leiden University

Lina Canas
IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach, Director 
Cell: +81 422 34 3966

Lars Lindberg Christensen
IAU Director of Communications
Cell: +1 520 461 0433/+49 173 38 72 621

About the Announcement



Cover of the IAU open-source public engagement training materials