Do It Yourself (DIY) Engagement: How to Communicate Science and Geographic Knowledge

Type: Panel
Theme: Public Engagement in Geography
Sponsor Groups: American Association of Geographers
Poster #:
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: Napoleon B2, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Organizers: Derek Alderman
Chairs: Henri Grissino-Mayer


This session is one of several organized for the purpose of providing grounded but critical discussion of public engagement and outreach opportunities, strategies, and challenges. Sessions build upon the experiences of panelists/facilitators and the sharing of perspectives from the audience to create a space where geographers can train each other, trade innovations and ideas, and negotiate practical and even political obstacles to public engagement in geography.

Geographers are faced with ever-increasing challenges for transfer of geographic knowledge to a nation increasingly adverse to and skeptical of scientific expertise. Like other scientists, geographers are efficient communicating within their respective sub-disciplines (the so-called ivory tower), but is this enough? Knowledge transfer involves more than communicating among peers. It especially concerns communicating effectively and efficiently to the public, stakeholders, and policymakers. This knowledge transfer can be understood as a closed pathway whereby geographers not only engage intended audiences directly but also become informed by engagement for specific research needs, thereby leading to more informed research proposed to funding sources. In this session, we’ll explore examples of DIY public engagement, some successful, some not, and learn how to more effectively communicate to those most in need of geographic knowledge. We’ll draw upon experiences from audience participants as well to learn the breadth of techniques that can be employed to ensure geographic knowledge is understood, disseminated, and appreciated. We’ll conclude by discussing obstacles that can be expected by geographers as we attempt to effectively communicate more broadly.


Type Details Minutes
Panelist Henri Grissino-Mayer University of Tennessee 20
Panelist Marshall Shepherd University of Georgia 20

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