I’m organizing a 4 day PhD course at Medical Museion in March, as part of the Medical Science and Technology Studies Graduate Programme. The course, ‘Pushing the Boundaries of Science Communication’, is described below:
Science communication always involves questions of translation and persuasion, asking how accurately technical knowledge can be communicated to non-expert audiences, and with what effects. In the medical context, these questions often focus on how risks of disease and prescriptions for health can be communicated in order to persuade people to take up lifestyle advice and comply with treatment. Yet public health campaigns have a notoriously difficult time changing behaviour, and sociological studies have revealed complex interactions between media representations of medical research, the motivations of those who fund and conduct it, and the ways public audiences take up, resist, and shape media messages.
The course approaches medical science communication from this broader perspective, through a range of methodological lenses. Lectures will survey the diverse forms, motivations, and effects of public communication, consider political and ethical dimensions, and discuss the ways in which doctors, patients, and healthy bodies are defined and enacted in part through media persuasion and new online practices. We will also reflexively consider the challenges of communicating social science, media studies, and humanities research, both to public audiences and to researchers from other disciplines. In practical activities that draw on the lectures, students will examine media texts and film depictions, debate case studies, and discuss the role of communication in their own research projects and careers.
The lecturers will be myself and Thomas Söderqvist from Medical Museion, plus Maja Horst, Head of the Media, Cognition, and Communication Department at the University of Copenhagen, and Jenell Johnson, who will join us from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The course is relevant to students from disciplines including sociology, anthropology, STS, and media, culture, and communication studies, whose research focuses on public health, biomedical research, medical technology or clinical practice. It’s also relevant to students from medicine or public health with a strong interest in studying or contributing to public communication, and we’ll be mixing lectures with practical and hands-on activities.
You can apply to take part, as a KU or external student, through the course catalogue. If you have any questions about the course, send me an email on , and I’m also collecting ideas for reading materials, activities, and examples of medical science communication or related courses if you have any tips…