Statement on PCST conference in Istanbul

Statement on PCST conference in Istanbul


We deplore, and we are saddened at, the atrocity in Istanbul last weekend, as we deplore the Brussels bombings this week. Governments around the world are monitoring the situation and several have recently updated their travel advice.

Visitors to Turkey are advised to exercise a high degree of caution, and we are going ahead with the PCST conference in this context. Participants should note that the conference venue is in a quiet district of Istanbul. It is easily reached from the airport, and over 3 kilometres from the scenes of two recent attacks.

However, conference participants may have to miss some of the ‘extra-curricular’ activities often associated with attending a conference. It is strongly advised, for example, not to gather in large groups in locations that are especially popular with tourists.

Together with the conference hotel and the conference management company, we aim to ensure the best-possible arrangements for a safe and successful gathering.
The conference programme is being updated continuously, with further details being added. As you can see, we have a busy and stimulating conference ahead of us. We look forward to seeing you there.

If you haven’t you booked your accommodation yet, we suggest you to do so quickly. There are still rooms available at the conference hotel at a discounted rate.

Gultekin Cakmakci, chair, Local Organising Committee
Brian Trench, president, PCST Network.



Good progress on conference plans


Preparations of the PCST conference in Istanbul were moved forward at meetings in the city on 16-17 January.

We found that facilities at the conference venue are well suited to our purposes. The hotel provides comfortable accommodation in a residential district close to the ancient city wall. It can be reached easily from the airport and is a short tram ride from the downtown area and main tourist destinations.

Rooms at the conference hotel are booking strongly. To be sure of a room at the conference discount price, book now.

Several other hotels listed on the conference web site (see ‘Accommodation’) are within walking distance of the main venue.

We have decided to extend the deadline to 5 March for conference presenters to register and thus ensure their proposals are included in the programme.

Proposals can also be edited up to that date; abstracts will be provided to conference participants in the version available on 5 February.

We understand that some prospective participants may have held back on registering due to recent events in the city. But Istanbul’s schedule of international conferences, exhibitions and trade fairs continues.

Visitors to Istanbul who take appropriate caution can be as safe there as in any large city. Those coming to the conference may also find it useful to refer to travel advice provided by their own government.

Brian Trench, PCST Network President, and Gultekin Cakmakci, Chair, Local Organising Committee



Looking forward to Istanbul, April 2016: Conference Preview from PCST Network President, Brian Trench

Brian_TrenchThe PCST conference in Istanbul next April promises a rich and stimulating experience for all who attend the event. Nearly 300 proposals covering a wide range of topics and many different modes of communication have been accepted to date, with possibly more to come.

Reflecting the current expansion of digital media and the conference’s main theme, Science Communication in the Digital Age, there will be panels, workshops, papers and posters dealing with various applications of online media to science communication.

YouTube, podcasts, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other social networks are all in the lens of the practitioners and researchers presenting their studies and their experiences. The opportunities that digital media present for new kinds of public communication and participation will be explored. Many of the long-running concerns of the science communication community are now being examined from the perspective of social networks.

In this online world as well as in the longer-established media contexts, conference presentations and discussions will look, for example, at how scientists view their public engagement activities and how controversy and uncertainty in science are portrayed and how audiences perceive them.

The communication through many media of issues such as climate change, and tsunami, infection and earthquake risks will be examined. There are also contributions on media professional practices and media audience perceptions in the host country, Turkey, and neighbouring countries.

Public attitudes to science across the world, including to particular aspects of science, and public participation in science in specific projects will be discussed in many contributions; citizen science is the focus of several of these.

Proposals on how to train scientists for public communication and how to train professional science communicators are themes in all PCST conferences, as new evaluations and experiences are brought to bear on these topics. Media practices in covering science and media relations with scientists are also lasting concerns of PCST conferences, though with experiences of more countries being added each time, and again in Istanbul.

There is interest from some conference participants in the ethical issues of communicating science and, less obviously perhaps, in the role of humour, cartoons and jokes; the diversity of approaches that will be presented extends to many art forms, including hip-hop.

PCST conferences have always brought together early-career practitioners and researchers with established practitioners, educators and researchers. Among some of the better-known experts in this field who are associated with proposals to the Istanbul conference are sociologists Alan Irwin, Ulrike Felt, Pablo Kreimer and Maja Horst, science communication professors John Besley, Dominique Brossard and Nancy Longnecker, science journalists Deborah Blum and Wolfgang Goede, along with Tiffany Lohwater, Director of Public Engagement at AAAS (American Association for Advancement of Science).

Members of the PCST Scientific Committee are well represented among the co-ordinators of panels and presenters of papers; these include Massimiano Bucchi, Sarah Davies, Hans Peter Peters, Michele Riedlinger and Bernard Schiele.

Brian Trench, December 2015