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Biomedicine in museums

The future of health science communication — the menu version

Last week, I was invited to give a speech about the future of science communication at a dinner arranged by the Center for Healthy Ageing here at the University of Copenhagen.

The terms for the speech were harsh. I got a mere five minutes between the entree and the main course — and I wasn’t allowed to use powerpoint!

So how to catch the attention of 35 hungry academics in a noisy restaurant?

My solution was to translate the main ideas in my health science communication vision into a classical menu format:

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The noise in the room was overwhelming, but the menu largely spoke for itself.

  • Appetizers is what journalists and traditional media can serve to meet the immediate needs for sensation.
  • University communication departments serve tossed press releases dressed with branding oil and disseminated facts of the season.
  • The main course is social media in all varieties — and what all students and faculty should be engaged in.
  • And, finally, museums like ours can provide some food for enlightened cultural discourse.

I only needed to say (or rather shout) a few extra sentences, like “each of this courses can satisfy only part of your health science communication needs”, and “a rounded communication environment probably needs all four courses”.

It was great fun, and the guests apparently liked it.

Thomas Söderqvist

Author Thomas Söderqvist

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