Crowdfunding Astronomy Outreach Projects: Lessons learned from the UNAWE crowdfunding campaign

Abi J. Ashton, Thilina Heenatigala, Pedro Russo

In recent years, crowdfunding has become a popular method of funding new technology or entertainment products, or artistic projects. The idea is that people or projects ask for many small donations from individuals who support the proposed work, rather than a large amount from a single source. Crowdfunding is usually done via an online portal or platform which handles the financial transactions involved. The Universe Awareness (UNAWE) programme decided to undertake a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign centring on the resource Universe in a Box. In this article we present the lessons learned and best practices from that campaign.


Increasing Mathematics Engagement in an Astronomy Outreach Context

Mark Woodland

The ability to better understand the Universe is very enticing, but for many of us mathematics can be a steadfast barrier to getting there. This article explores the role of mathematics in astronomy outreach and shares my experience of using mathematics to engage an audience, rather than shying away from it.


The Aeolus project: Science outreach through art

Ian A. Drumm, Amanda Belantara, Steve Dorney, Timothy P. Waters, Eulalia Peris

With a general decline in people’s choosing to pursue science and engineering degrees there has never been a greater need to raise the awareness of lesser known fields such as acoustics. Given this context, a large-scale public engagement project, the ‘Aeolus project’, was created to raise awareness of acoustics science through a major collaboration between an acclaimed artist and acoustics researchers. It centred on touring the large singing sculpture Aeolus during 2011/12, though the project also included an extensive outreach programme of talks, exhibitions, community workshops and resources for schools. Described here are the motivations behind the project and the artwork itself, the ways in which scientists and an artist collaborated, and the public engagement activities designed as part of the project. Evaluation results suggest that the project achieved its goal of inspiring interest in the discipline of acoustics through the exploration of an otherworldly work of art.


Narratives of Science Outreach in Elite Contexts of Academic Science

David R. Johnson, Elaine Howard Ecklund, Anne E. Lincoln

Using data from interviews with 133 physicists and biologists working at elite research universities in the United States, we analyze narratives of outreach. We identify discipline-specific barriers to outreach and gender-specific rationales for commitment. Physicists view outreach as outside of the scientific role and a possible threat to reputation. Biologists assign greater value to outreach, but their perceptions of the public inhibit commitment. Finally, women are more likely than men to participate in outreach, a commitment that often results in peer-based informal sanctions. The study reveals how the cultural properties of disciplines, including the status of women, shape the meaning and experience of science outreach.