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Five years of #pintNL

Five years of #pintNL

Organising #pint22, I came to the realisation that it would be my fifth Pint of Science Netherlands. Well, I guess the past two years have been an interesting time to organise science communication events (although, a very important time to continue outreach to the general public). Regardless, I have had the tremendous opportunity to steer the Pint of Science Netherlands organisation and work with fantastic volunteers from across the Netherlands for the past five #pintNL events. Wrapping up of this year’s events brought me much joy as, while there were some cobwebs to be dusted, we were able to engage with the general public across seven cities over 23 events in three days in the Netherlands. Talking to attendees, I can share in their excitement how one is able to understand new topics previously thought outside their comfort zone and delightfully engage in further discussions. After organising events from my house for the past two editions of #pintNL, I was thrilled to be back. So, how did this journey begin? Kickstarting Pint of Science Netherlands It all started with a phone call to Pint of Science UK on organising an event in London for work. Seeing as there was no Pint of Science set up in the Netherlands, I was rather easily swayed to pick up the task of organising the events (seeing as I had some experience during my time in London). Well, I was too easily swayed ;) Pint of Science Netherlands was set-up in February 2018, which gave me roughly three months to organise a team to find venues and speakers, promote events and ensure that there was enough traction to keep the ball rolling for the coming years. Looking back, this chaotic period was exciting and watching the events unfold for the first time in the Netherlands is something that I will always cherish. We started with four events across three cities (Amsterdam, Utrecht and Wageningen) with a team of five volunteers. To our delight, the audience was fully engaged with our events - there was even one night where people ended up discussing the talks until 2 am in the morning (and the bar had to kick them out!). Building on our initial success Building from the success of #pint18, the organisation for the following year’s event began in earnest. From the three initial cities, we grew to eight cities (Groningen, Maastricht, Nijmegen, Eindhoven and Den Haag joining in on the festivities) and were organising events with 100+ volunteers. I took the time then to visit each city to meet with all the city coordinators and volunteers. One, to walk through the process of organising an event but to also state my thanks for dedicating their time and effort to helping out in science communication. To my delight, #pint19 was a resounding success with 38 events across the eight cities. The cherry on top of the sundae was that there were 12 events organised in Dutch. From my name and how I am writing this in English, you can see that I am not a native Dutch speaker. My Dutch was rather poor then and it is a bit better currently. Well, good enough to talk on the radio and host an event in Dutch (but still not good enough to make a Dutch version of this summary!). Since our initiation, I have stressed the importance of organising events in Dutch. As our aim is to conduct science communication (wetenschapscommunicatie), events in Dutch would help bridge the gap better between the presenting researchers and the general public. I mean, we are organising the events in the Netherlands - there should at least be some events in Dutch! Welp, COVID19 Pint of Science Netherlands didn’t hit a sophomore slump and were quickly gaining traction for #pint20. We were looking to expand to two new cities (Leiden and Rotterdam) and were making headway to reach half the events organised in Dutch. Then COVID19 hit. It was rather surreal watching it slowly unfold and encapsulate everything. From research to work to Pint of Science, everything was turned upside down. It was hard to keep things tied together then. I was wondering how to communicate effectively to teams to take care of themselves first, as the strain on peoples’ mental health was heightened in the period of uncertainty. Of course, in times of adversity, the opportunity arises to attempt something new. In conjunction with other Pint of Science countries, the Pint of Science Netherlands team transitioned to organising online content. While it was a steep learning curve for us, the success we had in organising online events (dubbed #pintNLthuis) has been a highlight for me this past couple of years. We are back live (?) Entering 2022, the Netherlands was in a rather strange situation compared to its European neighbours, as we were the only country in Europe in lockdown. This also put a strain on whether we would be able to organise live events in May, as the uncertainty of how long the lockdown would last weighed heavily on our mind. Luckily, the lockdown did not last long into the year. Our kick off meeting in February was exhilarating. Although there was some crunch time faced by the teams, I was happily surprised how invigorated everyone was to get back to organising events live. I mentioned that due to time constraints and expected laggardness to transition back to live events to not push themselves to organise too many events. I guess that had a reverse effect on everyone as I was delightfully surprised by the eagerness to organise live events. In the end, we had 23 events across three days, which was far more than I had ever imagined for this year. It was, truely, a remarkable effort by the volunteers to get everything organised for #pint22. Musings on the past five #pintNL events For those unaware, coordinating Pint of Science Netherlands is a voluntary position. For the majority of the period I have been managing Pint of Science Netherlands, I have also been working in biotech companies and pursuing my PhD. A bit nuts? Yes, but that’s another story. Watching how the organisation has been able to scale-up from a handful of volunteers to a nationwide network of driven young researchers has been a crowning achievement for me. There have been trials and tribulations (COVID19 and non-COVID19 related) but being able to work together with driven individuals has kept me going for the past four and a half years. While it has not been always gone smoothly (especially in delivering blog posts that I keep on promising to Eline or my never-ending battle with the Wix platform to get the website presentable), I have been extremely lucky to have a group of volunteers patient with me and supporting me to continue the work with Pint of Science Netherlands. I definitely would not have been able to continue this work without you. Extending my never ending gratitude to everyone who made it possible While I have the pleasure of writing this piece of looking back on #pintNL events, its ongoing success would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of each and every volunteer that has given countless hours to organising their events. As we have an open door policy for helping out at our events, I have met dozens of dedicated young researchers, eager to bring the latest research to the general public in an accessible manner. To previous and current volunteers, thank you for everything. Naturally, my gratitude also extends to the speakers of our events. While giving talks to an academic audience is commonplace for researchers, having to adjust your talk to fit an audience who may be completely unaware of what you do is a daunting task. I guess having a pint before the talks help with the nerves, so it is a good thing we are organising these events in bars! Nevertheless, thank you for accepting our invitations to give these talks in a gezellig environment. I hope it has been as fun for you as it has been for us to host you. As we are a non-for-profit organisation, we would not have been able to continue organising these events without our dedicated sponsors, some of who have been supporting us for multiple years. We look to keep our events accessible to everyone by hosting the events for free (or providing a drink if we incur a ticket cost). Therefore, without your sponsorship, we would not have been able to grow as much as we have. It is an honour to be supported by organisations and institutions that believe science should be accessible to everyone, regardless of education background. Last but not least, I would like to thank, from the bottom of my heart, the audience for attending our events for the past five years. While some of you may have been dragged by volunteers to attend events, I have had the pleasure to meet audience members who were just curious about the topic and decided to attend. As we look to continue organising events (hopefully to more cities and more events in Dutch), your participation ensures the work we undertake builds towards tearing down ivory towers and make science accessible to everyone who is interested. Thank you. I hope to continue to be part of Pint of Science’s journey to bring science to the general public for years to come (even perhaps to have the opportunity to write a ‘look back from 10 years of #pintNL’). And I hope to have the opportunity to be able to chat with you, our audience, at an upcoming event to share in your excitement of learning about something new from our speakers. Warmest regards, Taichi Ochi Director On behalf of Pint of Science Netherlands

What's up Groningen!?

What's up Groningen!?

In 2019, the Pint of Science team in Groningen hosted nine events with 18 speakers and more than 260 audience members across four bars. In 2021, the Groningen team organised an online event in conjunction with the Green Office Groningen for #pint21online However, in 2022, unfortunately, there were no events for #pint22 :( As with any volunteer organisations, there are ebbs and flows of participants helping out with organising events. So does this mean that there were no science communication events in Groningen over the past couple of years? Not at all! The city has a vibrant community of researchers, thanks in part to the University of Groningen and Hanzehogeschool. Just because there were no Pint of Science events, it does not mean that there are other organisations working to disseminate science to the broader public. Studium Generale Groningen organises a variety of events throughout the year in the fields of science, culture and society. If you are keen to attend their upcoming Groninger Wetenschapsquiz 2022 event (in Dutch), you should check out their website and buy your ticket before it gets sold out! You might even be able to meet Prof. dr. Ben Feringa ;) For Pint of Science, a majority of our volunteers tend to be PhD researchers. So how have they been keeping busy the last few years for science communication? A group of PhDs have been working diligently to promote science communication and public outreach via the platform MindMint. If you are a PhD researcher in Groningen, make sure to check them out to learn tips and tricks on how to better communicate your research to the broader public! Of course, there are other organisations and research groups that also engage with science communication (e.g. Science LinX, Speech Lab Groningen, etc.). We hope we have given you a taste of the science outreach activities ongoing in Groningen. We hope for #pint23 to organise events in Groningen so make sure to keep your eyes peeled for future events in the north! Er gaat niets boven Groningen :)

#Pint22 shining brightly in Nijmegen

#Pint22 shining brightly in Nijmegen

Brightness can be defined as the amount of light we perceive when we see an object. The more light is reflected back to our eyes, the brighter an object becomes. A similar definition can be used to define someone, but now using light as a metaphor for intelligence. In that sense, the concept of brightness is an intersection between physics, visual perception and cognition, three elements that are present in the program of Nijmegen’s 2022 edition of Pint of Science, which is sponsored by the Donders Institute and the Radboud Young Academy. Previous editions have seen Pint of Science Nijmegen increase in events and numbers of volunteers. Unfortunately, the lockdown forced us to interrupt our enthusiasm for science (and beers), but not for too long! After almost two years of lockdown and online talks, this year’s event will go back to being live, taking place at the Selbachs (Nijmegen city center) on the 10th and 11th of May. Themed “Different shades of Brightness”, we will have a mix of neuroscientists and physicists talking about their recent work, to tickle your curiosity for bright new ideas! On the first evening, Prof. Harold Bekkering from Donders Institute will talk about how brightness, as a personal trait, can be a product of the environment we live in. He will be followed by Dr. Alexander Lemmens, from the FELIX-HMFL lab who will talk about his research on using infra-red lasers to study stellar evolution. On the second evening, we will also have researchers from Donders and FELIX-HMFL lab: the PhD candidates Michelle Appel and Sanne Kristensen, and Prof. Rogier Kievit. Among the talks, Michele’s talk will cover her research on how visual implants and AI can help recover vision and will include a small interactive demonstration. The night ends with Sanne’s talk, who will tell us about high-magnetic fields, and how they can help us to uncover the properties of materials under extreme conditions, discovering new phases and quantum effects that can be used in the next material age. Even though for some of the talks we can see a direct impact on our lives (like recovering vision with AI), it’s interesting to notice that others are quite distant from daily life applications (like the research on stellar evolution). This type of research is mostly driven by the curiosity about how things work, known as basic science, and are important for the future advances of knowledge (you will never know what they could be used for in the future). Are you interested in knowing more about those different shades of brightness? Excited to hear more and talk about science, while having a cold beer? Make sure to register for one (or why not both!) of our evenings. Tickets are free, but we have a limited number of spots! Hope to see you there! Warm regards, Pint of Science team Nijmegen

Pint of Science Amsterdam event 2022 - meet the speakers

Pint of Science Amsterdam event 2022 - meet the speakers

After two years of online events, Pint of Science is back in your local pub! Pint22 will be hosting Science talks from May 9-11 and you will be able to enjoy mind-blowing scientific talks with a cold beer in your hand at your local bar in Amsterdam. We are really excited to present you the preview of this year’s Pint22 festival. Sustainable Foods The festival will kick off with the first event on Monday May 9th that is all about Sustainable Foods. The first speaker, Daan Luining, from Meatable will introduce us to the topic of Lab grown meat and Avis Nugroho will try to convince us “Why plant-based fermentation is the latest trend.” The event will take place at Café Checkpoint Charlie. Read below interesting facts from the speakers about their talks. At Meatable, we love meat. We see it as an essential part of a balanced diet. However, what we don't love is industrial farming. Because it is bad for the planet. And, of course, cruel for the animals too. Thus, we are pioneering a way of producing real meat without harm. To note: lab meat is definitely real meat. Identical on every level, without any of the drawbacks. It is efficient and harm-free as the production just takes a couple of weeks and no animals need to be slaughtered. It is sustainable, since we don’t need 1.799 gallons of water to produce just 1lb of beef and according to Oxford, lab grown meat could cut down greenhouse gas emissions by 96%. But most importantly, it is delicious. How we do it? First we take a sample from an unharmed cow or pig. Then we replicate the natural process of fat and muscle growth, and mix the two elements together to produce meat. Real, succulent, delicious meat. A new natural process. - Daan Luining Today, we got various World’s Best Restaurants that experiment and use fermentation heavily in their menu. We see fermentation clubs and traditional fermented foods such as sourdough and kombucha make a ‘comeback’. People exchange their starter cultures, and the knowledge around fermentation propagates like a virus. Fermentation is what the vegan evangelists can agree on and bond with the hardcore scientists. It is something that is so accessible that almost anyone can practice. Indeed, fermentation is one of the oldest methods of food preservation, and it makes up a significant part of the diet in many countries. However, fermentation is also a highly dynamic process, and it remains a challenge to steer its outcome. During my Ph.D., I studied how we can modulate flavor development in cheese ripening. This goes in different directions: increasing yield, slowing down formation, or degrading them. Little did I expect that such knowledge would eventually prove to be highly relevant in protein transition. Flavor is a significant issue of protein transition, and many people find grassy, greeny, or beany characteristics in plant-derived proteins to be undesirable. In contrast, traditionally vegan and fermented foods such as tempeh and miso do not contain perceivable off-flavors and have been long celebrated for their taste. - Avis Daan Luining is co-founder and CTO of Meatable. In 2013 he contributed to the world’s first cultivated hamburger. Later he became the research director at New Harvest in New York, an NGO that funds academic research on cultured meat. This is where he started to think about the huge gap in Europe when it comes to cellular farming and cultured meat. This thought has led him to idea of co-founding Meatable together with Krijn de Nood (CEO) and Mark Kotter (Advisor). Meatable is an innovative food company that strives to produce sustainable cultivated meat at a large scale. Avis is fascinated by the science and technology behind our food. More than 15 years ago he started to spent a great deal of time experimenting at home with fermentation and the harvest of his parents’ garden. Following the accidental invention of a wine made from the flowers of Averrhoa bilimbi, understanding how microbes transform a raw material and create complex flavors has become his personal and professional goal. Intrusive thoughts The second event on Tuesday May 10th will take place at the bar De Nieuwe Anita. During this event, Renée Visser and Sophie Rameckers will talk about Intrusive thoughts which occur in everyday life and across disorders, including how these intrusions can be treated in clinical practice: Intrusions are thoughts or mental images that come to mind unbidden, and that interrupt what we were doing at the time. Sitting at your desk, you may wonder whether you turned off the gas, and the taste of beer might bring a vivid memory of a recent King’s Day where you had a few too many. Such intrusions are very normal, as everyone experiences them from time to time, and they usually don’t cause a lot of problems or distress. However, intrusions become problematic when they are very disruptive and/or distressing and can be a symptom of a mental disorder. For example, someone with an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can have unwanted intrusions about things that might happen if they don’t act in a certain way (“If I don’t touch the doorhandle until it feels right, my mother will get hurt”). Intrusions are also common after traumatic experiences, where people might suddenly re-experience the smell of burnt rubber, the sound of explosive blasts or someone screaming. Such intrusions usually abate with time, but in the case of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), distressing intrusions persist, and people tend to do things to stop them (e.g., avoid certain situations that trigger intrusions), which is often counterproductive. Fortunately, we have treatments that are effective at reducing intrusions. - Renée Visser (left) & Sophie Rameckers (right) Renée Visser is an assistant professor at the Department of Clinical Psychology at the University of Amsterdam, with a background in cognitive neuroscience. In her research, Renée aims to gain a better understanding of the flexible nature of emotional memories, such as how and when they are formed, retrieved, and modified, and how they influence our behavior. She has been part of a working group focusing on defining intrusive thinking and its underlying neurocognitive mechanisms. Sophie Rameckers, is a PhD-candidate at the Department of Clinical Psychology at the University of Amsterdam. In her research, she mainly focuses on novel treatments of PTSD. Her main interest is currently on PTSD due to traumatic childhood experiences, as such early-life experiences can have a broad impact on our lives. For the ones who are interested: here is a link to a freely available book about intrusive thinking. During this event, real-life examples of intrusive thoughts will be used. As every person is different it would be amazing to use (anonymous) examples from members from the audience. Help us by clicking on the button below and filling out the form (also if you have no intrusive thoughts)! Synthetic life The last event of the festival on Wednesday May 11th takes place at the bar House of Watt. During this event, Ramon Creyghton, Mareike Berger and Michelle Habets will discuss the topic of Synthetic life: Cycling through the city of Amsterdam in spring is a real joy: Fresh, green leaves are growing on the trees, flowers are blooming at every street corner and the city is bursting with life! But what is driving this continuous cycle of life? And how can we understand the mystery of life? Every living organism is made of cells, and the smallest unit of life is a single cell. It is part of biology to study cells in a lab. Synthetic biology takes that a step further, and aims to recombine or reshape elements of life, or even make new life in a lab. The question becomes: what ingredients do you need to mix together in order to create something that is 'living’? One essential ingredient of every living cell is the DNA: It contains all the relevant information for building the cell. DNA is a very long molecule. Every cell in our bodies even has two meters of DNA! But those cells are about ten times smaller than a human hair. How do you make that fit? And all of it needs to be passed on to the next generation, when cells copy themselves and split in two. How can that be organized? - Ramon Creyghton & Mareike Berger The creation of synthetic life is expected to revolutionize biotechnology and lead to new medicines and self-healing materials. It also raises urgent questions about the ethical limits of research, how synthetic life will change our society, and who owns this new life. We need to address these issues timely so scientists can take ethical and socioeconomic concerns onboard when shaping this new technology. - Michelle Habets Ramon Creyghton and Mareike Berger are theoretical physicists. In their talk “Shaken, not stirred: a recipe to make life” they explain their method of looking at things the simplest way possible to find a recipe on how and when to combine ingredients like DNA into a working cell. Michelle Habets studies socially relevant aspects of various developments in the field of synthetic biology, agricultural biotechnology, and medical biotechnology. She is giving the public a voice in shaping the technology to design our future together. During her talk “Designing the rebirth of life” she will address questions like: How far do you think science should go when recreating life? What are your thoughts and concerns about synthetic life? Registration Excited to hear more and discuss about these interesting topics while drinking a cold beer? Don’t hesitate to register for the events of your interest, because we have a limited amount of spots! There is FREE ticketing for the events on May 9th and 10th, for the event on May 11th you can buy a ticket for €5,- (one drink included). Hope to see you there! Warm regards, Pint of Science team Amsterdam

Navigeren door de jungle van informatie tijdens de COVID-19 pandemie

Navigeren door de jungle van informatie tijdens de COVID-19 pandemie

Vorige week hield het door Europa gefinancierde RETHINK-project hun laatste beleidsevenement getiteld "Connections, Conversations and Science Communication – The future of public trust in times of uncertainty". Er is geen beter moment om stil te staan ​​bij de inzichten van RETHINK voor de praktijk van wetenschapscommunicatie, nu dit project na 3 jaar actieonderzoek ten einde loopt. Met hun actie-gerichte onderzoek wilde dit project de praktijk van wetenschapscommunicatie bestuderen en tegelijkertijd de praktijk transformeren. We gingen in gesprek met Tessa Roedema, promovendus bij het RETHINK-project, over haar onderzoek naar wetenschapscommunicatie en de manier waarop we publieke discussies over wetenschap voeren. Waar ging het RETHINK-project over? Het RETHINK-project is gestart vanuit twee observaties op het gebied van wetenschapscommunicatie. Ten eerste dat we leven in een steeds meer gedigitaliseerde samenleving. Online is een overvloed aan wetenschappelijke informatie te vinden, delen en te zelf te creëren. Denk aan vloggers of influencers die delen hoe zij klimaatneutraal proberen te leven, of blogs over gezond eten. Ten tweede dat de laatste jaren duidelijk is geworden dat de wetenschap niet altijd één eenduidig ​​antwoord geeft op complexe maatschappelijke problemen, zoals gezondheid, klimaatverandering, of hoe te leven tijdens een pandemie. Digitalisering, de opkomst van sociale media, en het feit dat wetenschap niet altijd een eenduidig antwoord kan geven, heeft consequenties voor de manier waarop we praten over wetenschap. Wetenschappelijke feiten zijn gepolitiseerd en mensen zijn gepolariseerd rond wetenschappelijke onderwerpen. Werken gezichtsmaskers wel, of niet? In welke situaties? Zijn de maatregelen van de overheid passend of onevenredig zwaar? Onze publieke discussies over wetenschap zijn verhard. Wetenschappers konden deze vragen niet altijd eenduidig ​​beantwoorden – en soms waren wetenschappers het zelfs niet eens over de wetenschappelijke feiten zelf. Tijdens de pandemie werden feiten, waarden, ethiek, politiek en emoties gemengd. Het zorgde ervoor dat veel mensen zich onzeker voelden over wat en wie ze moesten vertrouwen, of hoe ze de nieuwste wetenschappelijke ontdekkingen en anti-pandemische maatregelen in hun dagelijks leven moesten implementeren. In het RETHINK-project stonden deze dynamieken centraal. We onderzochten hoe mensen wetenschap begrijpen in deze onzekere tijden. Vervolgens hebben we onderzocht hoe wetenschapscommunicatoren het best open en constructieve publieke discussies over wetenschap kunnen faciliteren, wanneer de wetenschap publiekelijk bekritiseerd wordt. Met ons onderzoek probeerden we wetenschapscommunicatoren te helpen met uitdagingen in hun vakgebied, zoals hoe om te gaan met wetenschappelijk scepticisme, afnemend vertrouwen, verhoogde sensationele waarde van wetenschappelijk nieuws en de opkomst van desinformatie online. Ons doel met dit project was om een ​​transformatie teweeg te brengen in de praktijk van wetenschapscommunicatie. Hoe heb je dit onderzocht? In de loop van 3 jaar heeft het RETHINK-project de zogenaamde "Rethinkerspaces" tot stand gebracht in 7 landen in Europa: Italië, Polen, Portugal, Nederland, Servië, Zweden en het Verenigd Koninkrijk. De Rethinkerspaces bestonden uit stakeholders die relevant zijn op het gebied van wetenschapscommunicatietheorie en praktijk, zoals beleidsmakers, wetenschappers, wetenschapscentra en wetenschapsmusea, en wetenschapscommunicatiebeoefenaars, waaronder freelance journalisten en communicatieadviseurs bij onderzoeksinstituten. In de Rethinkerspaces bespraken we verschillende uitdagingen op het gebied van wetenschapscommunicatie en zochten we naar mogelijke oplossingen om deze uitdagingen te verminderen. Daarnaast vroegen we of de wetenschapscommunicatoren uit de Rethinkerspaces in hun dagelijkse praktijk wilden experimenteren. Door wetenschappers en mensen uit de praktijk samen te brengen, waren we in staat om uitdagingen en oplossingen op een brug te slaan tussen het theoretische niveau de praktijk. We wilden niet alleen de uitdagingen in het huidige landschap van wetenschapscommunicatie onderzoeken als neutrale waarnemers, maar we probeerden onze ideeën en onderzoek in de praktijk te brengen, met de hulp van wetenschapscommunicatoren verspreid over Europa. Omgekeerd zijn de inzichten van praktijkmensen die in hun dagelijkse werk met ideeën hebben geëxperimenteerd, zeer belangrijke input geweest voor vervolgbijeenkomsten in de Rethinkerspaces, evenals voor het onderzoek dat in het RETHINK-project is gedaan. En wat waren die inzichten? We zien dat veel mensen die zich bezighouden met de publieke discussie over wetenschap, en vooral wetenschappers en politici, mensen zekerheid proberen te bieden in deze onzekere tijden. Ze komen online wetenschapssceptici tegen, of ze zien dat mensen wetenschappelijke informatie negeren. Hun bijna automatische reactie is om 'het nog een keer uit te leggen'. Denk hierbij aan uitleggen hoe mensen moeten reageren op de waarde van wetenschappelijke informatie, hoe mensen moeten handelen of welke metingen in bepaalde situaties gerechtvaardigd zijn, door met nog meer wetenschappelijke informatie en feiten te strooien. Dit is problematisch, want het veronderstelt dat misverstanden of meningsverschillen over wetenschappelijke feiten komen doordat ‘de ander’ onwetend is of niet over de juiste kennis beschikt. Een groot deel van mijn promotieonderzoek is gericht op de manier waarop mensen betekenis geven aan wetenschap. We noemen dit, bij een gebrek aan een goede Nederlandse vertaling, sense-making. Hierin zagen we dat meer informatie de complexiteit van de pandemie niet wegneemt. Maar, mensen moeten nog steeds proberen om sense te maken van de situatie: ze proberen erachter te komen hoe ze de (wetenschappelijke) informatie moeten interpreteren, wat de betekenis van de informatie is in hun dagelijks leven. Mensen doen dit met behulp van hun persoonlijke situatie, hun reeds bestaande waarden en overtuigingen, en hun sociale context. Ze kijken wat andere mensen doen en vergelijken dit met hun eigen perspectief of situatie. Tijdens interviews met burgers door heel Europa, zagen we dat burgers slechts zelden refereren aan de output van wetenschapscommunicatie. Dit is een ontnuchterend inzicht voor wetenschapscommunicatoren. Bovendien gaven wetenschapscommunicatoren aan dat ze weinig inzicht hebben in wie hun publiek is, en vonden ze het daarom moeilijk om hun output af te stemmen op deze persoonlijke en contextuele factoren. Zo zijn mensen, zeker in een online setting, niet meer dan een profielfoto; ze blijven anoniem en hun waarden en wereldbeelden blijven vaak onbekend. Om toch aan te sluiten bij je publiek, en om mensen te helpen door de jungle van (ambigue en vaak conflicterende) wetenschappelijke informatie te navigeren, denken we dat het belangrijk is voor wetenschapscommunicatoren om een reflectieve praktijk te ontwikkelen. Wat is dat precies, een reflectieve praktijk voor wetenschapscommunicatoren? En waarom is dat nodig? Een reflectieve wetenschapscommunicator onderzoekt kritisch welke veronderstellingen ze hebben of assumpties ze maken over hun publiek. Daarnaast zijn reflectieve beoefenaars zich bewust van hoe hun eigen perspectief op wetenschap, hun waarden en wereldbeelden, van invloed zijn op hoe zij over wetenschap communiceren met het publiek. Dit is een belangrijke stap in het afstemmen van de wetenschapscommunicatiepraktijk op wat burgers nodig hebben om sense te maken van de huidige, onzekere en complexe dynamieken in het publieke gesprek over wetenschap. Het kan wetenschapscommunicatoren helpen om hun praktijk te verschuiven van 'de feiten nog een keer uitleggen', naar de vaak legitieme zorgen die burgers hebben, of de misschien kritische vragen die ze hebben over hoe de wetenschappelijke kennis van waarde is in het dagelijkse leven. Tot slot helpt het reflecteren op je eigen perspectief linkt aan hoe je communiceert over wetenschap de wetenschapscommunicatoren ook te ontrafelen waarom hun output soms niet het beoogde effect heeft in hun publiek. We vroegen leden van Rethinkerspace om hun eigen reflectieve praktijk te ontwikkelen, door hun ervaringen bij te houden in een reflectiedagboek. Een voorbeeld van een reflectieve praktijk, was bijvoorbeeld hoe veel wetenschapscommunicatoren
benoemden hoe ze Covid-19-vaccinsceptici wilden overtuigen om zich te laten vaccineren. Ze ontdekten dat ze zich vaak onderdeel van de wetenschappelijke gemeenschap voelen, en daardoor geneigd zijn om de wetenschap te verdedigen wanneer deze publiekelijk in twijfel getrokken wordt. Door te reflecteren op hun perspectief en daaraan gerelateerde activiteiten, kwamen veel communicatoren erachter dat ze geloven dat meer wetenschappelijke zekerheid over vaccins mensen het vertrouwen geeft dat vaccins veilig zijn. Onze Rethinkerspace leden gingen vervolgens aan de slag met het kritisch onderzoeken of deze assumptie over hun publiek ook klopt. Zo vroegen ze bijvoorbeeld om feedback op hoe ze wetenschappelijke informatie over vaccins in hun podcast hadden weergegeven aan hun luisteraars. Zo ontdekten ze dat vaccinsceptici zeer goed geïnformeerd zijn, maar beslissingen nemen op basis van emoties en zorgen. Sceptici voelden zich vaak in het nauw gedreven, en werden bij elke interactie bevestigd in hun overtuiging dat hun zorgen onwettig waren. De communicatoren experimenteerden op basis van deze inzichten met een nieuwe praktijk: in plaats van meer informatie geven - die hun luisteraars eigenlijk alleen meer angstig maakte – kwamen ze erachter dat het beter was om eerst deze legitieme zorgen te adresseren. Heb je tips (voor het grote publiek en voor wetenschappers) bij het lezen of oefenen van wetenschapscommunicatie? Probeer mensen die een andere kijk op wetenschappelijke feiten hebben niet direct te negeren. Probeer je oordeel uit te stellen en wees nieuwsgierig naar wat er onder de meningen van ‘de ander’ schuilgaat. En reflecteer op hoe je eigen kijk op wetenschap de manier beïnvloedt waarop je anderen over dat onderwerp aanspreekt. Het helpt om expliciet te maken dat verschillende mensen verschillende zorgen, waarden, of persoonlijke situaties relateren aan wetenschappelijke informatie. Het helpt bij het verschuiven van discussies over wetenschap, die vaak gaan over het betwisten van elkaars feiten, naar wat die wetenschappelijke informatie betekent in het dagelijks leven van mensen. Ik kan dit iedereen aanbevelen die het over wetenschap heeft. Of je nu een wetenschapper bent die wil schrijven over de laatste wetenschappelijke ontdekkingen, een wetenschapscommunicator die wetenschapssceptici wil overtuigen dat klimaatverandering echt plaatsvindt, of een burger die zich overweldigd voelt door alle wetenschappelijke informatie waarmee ze dagelijks worden geconfronteerd. Door wetenschap te bespreken die uitgaat van verschillende persoonlijke situaties, sociale contexten, waarden, wereldbeelden en perspectieven, voelen alle stemmen zich betrokken en legitiem. Waar kunnen we meer over uw onderzoek vinden? Je kunt me volgen op Twitter (@TessaRoedema) en ik vind het leuk om met je in contact te komen op LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/tessaroedema/). Mijn onderzoeksoutput is hier te vinden: https://research.vu.nl/en/persons/tessa-roedema. Onderzoeksgerelateerde vragen kunnen worden gestuurd naar t.f.l.roedema@vu.nl. Je kunt ook het RETHINK-project volgen. Op onze website vindt u bronnen voor communicerende wetenschappers en professionele wetenschapscommunicatoren (https://www.rethinkscicomm.eu). Wat is je favoriete bier/drankje? Ik hou van een pint scientonics vermengd met citroen en een subtiele hint van openbare discussies in de zomer.

Rethinking the way in which we hold public discussions on science

Rethinking the way in which we hold public discussions on science

Last week, the European-funded RETHINK project held their final policy event titled “Connections, Conversations and Science Communication – The future of public trust in times of uncertainty”. There is no better moment to reflect on the insights of RETHINK for the practice of science communication, now that this project comes to an end after 3 years of action research. With their action research approach, this project aimed to observe or study the practice of science communication and transform practice at the same time. We engaged in a conversation with Tessa Roedema, PhD-student on the RETHINK project, about her research into science communication and the way in which we hold public discussions on science. What was the RETHINK project about? The RETHINK project started from on basis of two observations in the field of science communication. First, that we live in an increasingly digitalised society, where an abundance of scientific information can be generated and accessed online. Second, that it has become clearer over the last few years that science does not always provide one univocal answer to complex problems in society. This has implications for the way in which people make sense of science and how science communicators should respond. For example: Scientific facts are politicised, and people have polarised around scientific topics. Do facemasks work or not? In what situations? Are the government’s measurements appropriate or disproportionally severe? Our public discussions on science have hardened. Scientists could not always give univocal answers to these questions – and sometimes scientists even disagreed on the scientific facts itself. During the pandemic, facts, values, ethics, politics, and emotions were mixed and mingled. It left many people feel uncertain about what and who to trust, or how to implement the latest scientific discoveries and anti-pandemic measurements in their daily lives. In the RETHINK project, we studied how people make sense of science in these uncertain times. Next, we studied how science communicators could best facilitate open and constructive public discussions on contested science. With this, we tried to help science communicators to navigate the current challenges in their field, such as how to deal with science scepticism, decreasing trust, increased sensational value of scientific news, and the rise of misinformation online. Our aim with this project was to bring a transformation in the practice of science communication. How did you research this? Over the course of 3 years, the RETHINK project has established the so-called “Rethinkerspaces” in 7 countries across Europe: Italy, Poland, Portugal, the Netherlands, Serbia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. In the Rethinkerspaces, we discussed several challenges relevant to the field of science communication and sought possible directions for solutions to mitigate these challenges. The Rethinkerspaces consisted of stakeholders relevant to the field of science communication theory and practice, such as policy makers, scientists, science centres and science museums, and science communication practitioners, including freelance journalists and communication advisors at research institutes. Due to this combination of scholars and practitioners, we were able to discuss challenges and solutions on a more theoretic level and ask practitioners to experiment with new ideas in their daily work. We tried to build a bridge between the science communication theory and practice. We aimed to not only research the challenges in the current science communication landscape as neutral observers, but we tried to put our ideas and research into practice, with help of many science communicators. Vice versa, the insights from practitioners who experimented with ideas in their daily work have been very important input for follow-up meetings in the Rethinkerspaces, as well as for the research done in the RETHINK project. And what were those insights? We see that many people who engage in the public discussion about science, and especially scientists and politicians, try to provide people with certainty in these uncertain times. They encounter science sceptics online, or they see that people disregard scientific information. Their almost automatic response is to ‘explain the science once more’. This includes ambiguities about how people should respond to the value of scientific information, how people should act or what measurements are justified in certain situations, with providing even more scientific information and facts. This is problematic, for it assumes that misunderstandings or disagreements about scientific facts are because ‘the other’ is ignorant or does not have the correct knowledge. A large part of my PhD research is focused on the way in which people make sense of science. People do not make sense of science by finding more scientific information about the topic. They try to find how to interpret the information, what the meaning of the information is in their daily lives. People do this with help of their personal situations, their pre-existing values and beliefs, and their social context. They watch what other people are doing and compare this to their own perspective. We saw that citizens only rarely refer to science communication output. This is a sobering insight for science communicators. In addition, science communicators mentioned they felt a disconnect with audiences and they struggled to attune to these personal and contextual factors. For example, especially in an online setting, people are nothing more than a profile picture; they remain anonymous, and their values and worldviews often remain unknown. We found that it is important for science communicators to develop reflective practices for that. What exactly are reflective practitioners and why is it needed? A reflective practitioner critically explores what assumptions they have about audiences. Next, reflective practitioners are aware of how their own perspective on science, and their values and worldviews, influence how they communicate about science to audiences. This is an important step in attuning one’s science communication practice to what citizens need to make sense of science. It can help practitioners to transform their practice and make a shift away from ‘explaining the facts once more’. It not only helps citizens to feel heard or know their concerns are legitimate, but also helps practitioners untangle why some of their outputs do not have the intended effects in audiences. For example, we asked Rethinkerspace members to develop their own reflective practice. We asked practitioners to keep track of their experiences in a reflection diary. Many mentioned challenging situations wherein they noticed they wanted to convince Covid-19 vaccine sceptics to get vaccinated. Previously, the practitioners mentioned they would overload audiences with all the facts proving that vaccines are safe. But, by engaging in reflective practice, practitioners found that they felt to belong to the scientific community, and they wanted to defend science. This had clear implications to the way in which practitioners addressed vaccine sceptics. Sceptics felt cornered and in every interaction were confirmed in their belief that their concerns were illegitimate. Our Rethinkerspace practitioners challenged their assumption that vaccine sceptics needed more scientific facts on the safety of vaccines. They found that vaccine sceptics are very well informed – however, they make decisions on basis of emotions and worries. Once they had this realisation, they were able to approach audiences in new ways. For example, by displaying the concerns and worries that people might have openly. Or by making transparent what different perspectives on the value of the scientific information in the different personal situations of people. By taking this as starting point of the science communication practice, many practitioners found to have very similar concerns, emotions, or values with regards to science. Do you have tips (for the general audience and for scientists) when reading or practicing science communication? Try not to dismiss science communication output or interactions (conversations) you have with people that have a different perspective on scientific facts directly. Try to postpone your judgement and be curious to what lies underneath people’s opinions. And reflect on how your own perspective on science influences the way in which you address others on that topic. Making explicit that different people make sense of science in different ways helps in shifting discussions on science away from debates on what scientific facts are most true, towards what that scientific information means in the daily lives of people. I can recommend this to everyone who finds themselves discussing science. Whether you are a scientist who wants to publish about their latest scientific discoveries, a science communicator who wants to convince science sceptics that climate change truly happens, or a citizen who feels overwhelmed with all the scientific information they are confronted with daily. Discussing science that departs from differing personal situations, social contexts, values, worldviews, and perspectives helps all voices feel included and legitimate. Where can we find more about your research? You can follow me on Twitter (@TessaRoedema) and I love to connect with you on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/tessaroedema/). My research output can be found here: https://research.vu.nl/en/persons/tessa-roedema. Research related questions can be sent to t.f.l.roedema@vu.nl. You can also follow the RETHINK project. On our website you find resources for communicating scientists and professional science communicators (https://www.rethinkscicomm.eu). What is your favourite beer/drink? I love a pint of scientonics mixed with lemon and a subtle hint of public discussions in the summer.

Pint of Science Amsterdam event 2022, let us hear your verdict!

Pint of Science Amsterdam event 2022, let us hear your verdict!

Book your agenda because Pint of Science 2022 is coming soon! This years festival is scheduled from May 9th to May 11th and we are working very hard to make it a live event. This means that this year, you get to enjoy interesting scientific talks with a beer in your hand at your local bar. We are very excited about hosting a live event and volunteers across the world are working hard to bring a fun and interesting range of talks to you. And you can be a part of this years festival by voting in your favourite topic for one of the Amsterdam event nights! This year, the Amsterdam team of Pint of Science wants you to pick a subject for one of the events! Our volunteers came up with three topics and would love to hear your verdict. 1. In January of 2022 a revolutionary scientific breakthrough was reported: the first person to receive a transplanted heart from a genetically modified pig survived the surgery and was recovering surprisingly well. This successful operation will hopefully kick-start clinical xenotransplantation and be a possible solution for the shortage on transplant material for all patients in need. But how exactly is this possible? And what does this mean for the medical field and patients who need a transplant now or in the future? For more information see article from Nature: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-00111-9 2. Is the future of meat production finally here? Some scientists believe so, with cell-based meat. This artificial meat is grown from animal cells in a laboratory. Not only does this process save a lot of animal harm, considering that only a small sample of the animal is needed, it also seems to be way better for the climate and the agricultural industry. But how does this process work? Can it taste the same? And is it really the best option? For more information see article from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/food/2021/jun/17/lab-grown-meat-no-kill-food 3. Dementia is one of the most common disorders among older people. It is associated with the aging of the brain. Besides the strong impact on the social life of the patients, there is still a lot unknown and ongoing research is essential. One question that remains in the field is: why do some centenarians (people 100+ years old) not get dementia symptoms at all and still are very cognitively functional at an old age? This question is being researched by several groups that have been looking at the genetic material from mentally healthy people over a 100 years old. Will there be a genetic explanation for this phenomenon? Are there familial factors? And can we avoid it? For more information see website from Alzheimer Centrum: https://www.alzheimercentrum.nl/ Fill in the poll using the button below! And feel free to leave any comments or suggestions. The poll will be open until March 13th. So let your voice be heard and we hope to see you soon at the Pint of Science festival! Britt Windhouwer Pint of Science Amsterdam team

2022, here we come!!

2022, here we come!!

Find the Dutch text at the bottom of this blog! It is almost 2022 and it is time to look back on 2021. All in all, it was a great year with many events hosted during the Pint of Science festival and #pintNLthuis events. Multiple cities were represented by amazing speakers whom shared their diverse research. In addition, the blog was filled by interesting authors introducing us to their research. To make this year such a success, we would love to thank everyone that has participated in our events and blog! Without our audience, volunteers, and especially the participating scientists it wouldn’t have been possible. All that rests us now is to move into 2022, where we hope to have a live Pint of Science festival so we can all meet in person again. Follow our social media and blog to stay updated! For now, we would love to wish you an amazing 2022 and to organising #pint22! Gelukkig nieuwjaar, frohes neues Jahr, bonne année, sretna Nova godina, eftychisméno to néo étos, boldog új évet, athbhliain faoi mhaise duit, buon anno, godt nytt år, feliz Ano Novo, с новым годом, Feliz año nuevo, gott nytt år, happy new year, ສະບາຍດີປີໃຫມ່, สวัสดีปีใหม่, heri ya mwaka mpya, gelukkige Nuwe Jaar! Het is bijna 2022, dus het is tijd om terug te blikken op 2021. Al met al was het een geweldig jaar met veel evenementen tijdens het Pint of Science festival en #pintNLthuis. Meerdere steden werden vertegenwoordigd door geweldige sprekers die hun diverse onderzoek presenteerden. Daarnaast werd de blog gevuld met interessante auteurs die ons kennis lieten maken met hun onderzoek. Om dit jaar tot zo'n succes te maken, willen we graag iedereen bedanken die heeft deelgenomen aan onze evenementen en blog! Zonder ons publiek, vrijwilligers en vooral de deelnemende wetenschappers zou het niet mogelijk zijn geweest. Het enige dat ons nu rest, is om naar 2022 te verhuizen, waar we hopen een live Pint of Science Wetenschapsfestival te hebben zodat we elkaar allemaal weer persoonlijk kunnen ontmoeten. Volg onze sociale media en blog om op de hoogte te blijven! Voor nu wensen we je een geweldig 2022 en op het organiseren van #pint22!

Prejudice and children’s literature (EN)

Prejudice and children’s literature (EN)

Since the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, more attention has been paid to racism and discrimination all over the world, including in the Netherlands. The subject is more often discussed at talk show tables, more is being written about it, and attention for the matter has increased in politics. Discrimination and racism can arise from prejudice. But what do children’s books have to do with this? Prejudice refers to opinions or assumptions about someone that are based on what group someone belongs to in your mind and that are not based on facts. When looking for ways to reduce racism and discrimination, an important question therefore is: how and when do people develop prejudice? Many scientists have formulated different theories about this how-question (see, for example, Levy & Hughes, 2009). The when-question is also being investigated more and more. Contrary to popular belief, children at a young age already show prejudice towards people who look different from them (Raabe & Beelmann, 2011). We also see this in children in the Netherlands. For example, in one of our studies we asked White children between 6 and 8 years old who they would (not) want to sit next to, who they would (not) want to play with, and who they would like to invite to their birthday party (de Bruijn et al., 2020). The participating children could in response choose from photos of other children of about the same age, but with different ethnic appearances. In response to positively formulated questions, the participating children more often chose a picture of a White child, than a picture of a Black child or a child with a Middle Eastern appearance. In response to the negatively formulated questions, they chose of a picture of a White child least often. An important theory about reducing prejudice is the intergroup contact theory. This theory proposes that having contact with people of a different ethnic group than your one (i.e., interethnic contact) reduces prejudice towards people from this ethnic group (Pettigrew & Tropp, 2006). This also seems to work among children (Tropp & Prenevost, 2008). However, it is not always self-evident that children from different ethnic groups engage in contact with each other. Nonetheless, indirect contact also appears to contribute to reducing prejudice. Indirect contact can occur in different forms, for example by seeing examples of interethnic contact in your environment (extended contact, Wright et al., 1997), or by getting acquainted with other backgrounds through different forms of media (parasocial contact, Schiappa, 2005). Indeed, that is where children’s books come in. Previous research in the United Kingdom has shown that children who read books in which characters from their own ethnic group were friends with characters from another ethnic group subsequently were less prejudiced against this other ethnicity (Cameron et al., 2006). Children’s books therefore offer an opportunity to indirectly introduce children to different cultures and ethnic backgrounds, and thereby reduce prejudice. But how diverse is the collection of children’s books? To get a good idea of books to which Dutch children are likely to be exposed, we examined the representation of characters of color in popular children’s books in the Netherlands (de Bruijn et al., 2021a). For this study, we selected books that were in top lists of books borrowed and sold most often, or that had won a prize, between 2009 and 2018. In this selection, we analyzed the ethnicity of all characters in the books that were aimed at children aged 6 or younger, and compared the ratio to statistics on the Dutch population from CBS. Results showed that characters of color were underrepresented in this selection of popular Dutch children’s books. Children of color in the Netherlands therefore have relatively fewer opportunities to read books about characters who look like them, and to find role models who look like them in books. In addition, there is a good chance that parents who do not specifically pay attention to diversity in children’s books unconsciously read their children few books with characters of color or ethnic diversity among the characters. This can result in White children gaining little experience with indirect interethnic contact and not learning a lot about other cultures through books. This can contribute to what children come to see as normal and the norm, thus fostering prejudice. In addition, subtle stereotypes that sometimes still appear in children’s books (de Bruijn et al., 2021b) can also have an effect, comparable to surreptitious advertising. As a parent, you likely have to deal with many factors that come into play when choosing a new book to read your child. For example, just think about things like language level, interests, and previous favorite books. Some parents might just be happy when they find a book that their child is excited about. However, it is also important to be aware of the message about diversity that the books convey. After all, the choice of children’s books can have an impact on the norms and the worldview that is imparted to children. Ymke de Bruijn University: Universiteit Leiden Institute: Leiden University College Favorite drink: Blond or Tripel beers Want to know more? Find more about Ymke de Bruijn and her research on these pages: Twitter: https://twitter.com/ymkedebruijn, Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ymkedebruijn/ University page: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/medewerkers/ymke-de-bruijn Verwijzingen de Bruijn, Y., Amoureus, C., Emmen, R. A. G., & Mesman, J. (2020). Interethnic prejudice against Muslims among White Dutch children. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 51(3-4), 203-221. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022022120908346 de Bruijn, Y., Emmen, R. A. G., & Mesman, J. (2021a). Ethnic diversity in children’s books in the Netherlands. Early Childhood Education Journal, 49,413-423. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-020-01080-2 de Bruijn, Y., Emmen, R.A.G., & Mesman, J. (2021b). What do we read to our children? Messages concerning ethnic diversity in popular children’s books in the Netherlands. SN Social Sciences, 1, 206. https://doi.org/10.1007/s43545-021-00221-7 Cameron, L., Rutland, A., Brown, R., & Douche, R. (2006). Changing children’s intergroup attitudes toward refugees: Testing different models of extended contact. Child Development, 77(5), 1208-1219. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2006.00929.x Levy, S. R., & Hughes, J. M. (2009). Development of racial and ethnic prejudice among children. In T. Nelson (Ed.,), Handbook of Prejudice, Stereotyping, and Discrimination (p. 23-42). Psychology Press. Pettigrew, T.F., & Tropp, L.R. (2006). A meta-analytic test of intergroup contact theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90(5), 751-783. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.90.5.751 Raabe, T., & Beelmann, A. (2011). Development of ethnic, racial, and national prejudice in childhood and adolescence: A multinational meta-analysis of age differences. Child Development, 82, 1715–1737. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01668.x Schiappa, E., Gregg, P. B., & Hewes, D. E. (2005). The parasocial contact hypothesis. Communication Monographs, 72(1), 92-115. https://doi.org/10.1080/0363775052000342544 Tropp, L. R., & Prenovost, M. A. (2008). The role of intergroup contact in predicting children's interethnic attitudes: Evidence from meta-analytic and field studies. In S. R. Levy & M. Killen (Eds.), Intergroup attitudes and relations in childhood through adulthood (p. 236–248). Oxford University Press. Wright, S. C., Aron, A., McLaughlin-Volpe, T., & Ropp, S. A. (1997). The extended contact effect: Knowledge of cross-group friendships and prejudice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73(1), 73-90.

Vooroordelen en kinderboeken (NL)

Vooroordelen en kinderboeken (NL)

Sinds de Black Lives Matter protesten in 2020 is er in de hele wereld, ook in Nederland, meer aandacht voor racisme en discriminatie. Het onderwerp wordt vaker besproken aan talkshow tafels, er wordt meer over geschreven, en ook in de politiek neemt de aandacht voor het onderwerp toe. Discriminatie en racisme kan voortkomen uit het hebben van vooroordelen. Maar wat hebben kinderboeken hiermee te maken? Vooroordelen zijn meningen of assumpties over iemand die je vormt op basis van tot welke groep iemand in je hoofd behoort en die niet op feiten gebaseerd zijn. Bij het zoeken naar oplossingen om racisme en discriminatie terug te dringen, is een belangrijke vraag dan ook: hoe en wanneer ontwikkelen mensen vooroordelen? Over deze hoe-vraag hebben tal van wetenschappers verschillende theorieën opgesteld (zie bijvoorbeeld Levy & Hughes, 2009). Ook de wanneer-vraag wordt steeds vaker onderzocht. Want in tegenstelling tot wat vaak gedacht wordt, hebben ook kinderen al op jonge leeftijd vooroordelen over mensen die er anders uitzien dan zij (Raabe & Beelmann, 2011). Ook bij kinderen in Nederland zien we dit terug. Zo vroegen wij in een onderzoek aan witte kinderen tussen de 6 en 8 jaar oud naast wie ze (niet) zouden willen zitten, met wie ze (niet) zouden willen spelen, en wie ze zouden willen uitnodigen voor hun kinderfeestje (de Bruijn et al., 2020). De deelnemende kinderen konden kiezen uit foto’s van andere kinderen van ongeveer dezelfde leeftijd, maar die een verschillend etnisch voorkomen hadden. De deelnemende kinderen kozen als antwoord op de positief geformuleerde vragen vaker voor een wit kind op de foto dan voor een zwart kind of een kind met een Midden-Oosters voorkomen. Als antwoord op de negatief geformuleerde vragen kozen ze juist het minst vaak voor een wit kind op de foto. Een belangrijke theorie over het verminderen van vooroordelen is de intergroup contact theory. Deze theorie stelt dat het hebben van contact met mensen met een andere etnische achtergrond dan jijzelf (interetnisch contact) vooroordelen over mensen met deze achtergrond vermindert (Pettigrew & Tropp, 2006). Ook onder kinderen lijkt dit te werken (Tropp & Prevonost, 2008), maar het is niet altijd vanzelfsprekend dat kinderen met verschillende etnische achtergronden met elkaar in contact (kunnen) komen. Ook indirect contact blijkt echter bij te kunnen dragen aan het verminderen van vooroordelen. Indirect contact kan in verschillende vormen voorkomen, bijvoorbeeld via het zien van voorbeelden van interetnisch contact in je omgeving (extended contact, Wright et al., 1997), of door het kennis maken met andere achtergronden in verschillende vormen van media (parasocial contact, Schiappa, 2005). Inderdaad, dat is waar de kinderboeken naar voren komen. Eerder onderzoek in het Verenigd Koninkrijk heeft namelijk laten zien dat kinderen die boeken lazen waarin personages met hun eigen etnische achtergrond bevriend waren met personages met een andere achtergrond daarna minder sterke vooroordelen hadden over deze andere achtergrond (Cameron et al., 2006). Kinderboeken bieden dan ook een toegankelijke mogelijkheid om kinderen indirect kennis te laten maken met verschillende culturen en etnische achtergronden, en daarmee ook nog eens vooroordelen te verminderen. Maar hoe divers is het aanbod in kinderboeken? Om een goed beeld te krijgen van boeken waarvan de kans groot is dat Nederlandse kinderen eraan worden blootgesteld hebben wij de representatie van personages van kleur in populaire kinderboeken in Nederland onderzocht (de Bruijn et al., 2021a). Voor dit onderzoek maakten we een selectie van boeken die tussen 2009 en 2018 in de toplijsten stonden van meest uitgeleende en verkochte boeken, of die een prijs hadden gewonnen. Binnen deze selectie hebben we de etniciteit van alle personages in de boeken die gericht waren op kinderen van 6 jaar of jonger geanalyseerd, en de verhouding vergeleken met cijfers over de Nederlandse bevolking van het CBS. Hieruit bleek dat in deze selectie van populaire Nederlandse jeugdboeken personages van kleur ondervertegenwoordigd waren. Kinderen van kleur in Nederland hebben daarom relatief minder mogelijkheden om boeken te lezen over personages die op hun lijken en om rolmodellen die op hun lijken te vinden in boeken. Daarnaast is de kans groot dat ouders die hier niet specifiek op letten onbewust weinig kinderboeken met etnische diversiteit voorlezen aan hun kinderen, waardoor witte kinderen weinig ervaring op doen met indirect interetnisch contact en weinig leren over andere culturen via boeken. Dit kan bijdragen aan wat kinderen als normaal en de norm gaan zien, en op die manier vooroordelen in de hand werken. Ook subtiele stereotypen die soms nog in kinderboeken voorkomen (de Bruijn et al., 2021b) kunnen effect hebben, vergelijkbaar met sluikreclame. Als ouder heb je te maken met veel factoren die meespelen bij het uitkiezen van een nieuw voorleesboek. Denk bijvoorbeeld alleen al aan het taalniveau en de interesses van je kind, en aan eerdere favoriete boeken. Sommige ouders zijn misschien allang blij als er een boek gevonden is waar hun kind enthousiast van wordt. Toch is het ook belangrijk om je bewust te zijn van de boodschap over diversiteit die het boekenaanbod overbrengt. De keuze voor boeken kan immers een impact hebben op de normen en het wereldbeeld dat aan kinderen wordt meegeven. Ymke de Bruijn Universiteit: Universiteit Leiden Afdeling: Leiden University College Favoriete drankje: Zwaar Blond of Tripel biertjes Volg Ymke de Bruijn en haar onderzoek middels de onderstaande links: Twitter: https://twitter.com/ymkedebruijn, Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ymkedebruijn/ Medewerkerspagina universiteit Leiden: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/medewerkers/ymke-de-bruijn Verwijzingen de Bruijn, Y., Amoureus, C., Emmen, R. A. G., & Mesman, J. (2020). Interethnic prejudice against Muslims among White Dutch children. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 51(3-4), 203-221. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022022120908346 de Bruijn, Y., Emmen, R. A. G., & Mesman, J. (2021a). Ethnic diversity in children’s books in the Netherlands. Early Childhood Education Journal, 49,413-423. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-020-01080-2 de Bruijn, Y., Emmen, R.A.G., & Mesman, J. (2021b). What do we read to our children? Messages concerning ethnic diversity in popular children’s books in the Netherlands. SN Social Sciences, 1, 206. https://doi.org/10.1007/s43545-021-00221-7 Cameron, L., Rutland, A., Brown, R., & Douche, R. (2006). Changing children’s intergroup attitudes toward refugees: Testing different models of extended contact. Child Development, 77(5), 1208-1219. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2006.00929.x Levy, S. R., & Hughes, J. M. (2009). Development of racial and ethnic prejudice among children. In T. Nelson (Ed.,), Handbook of Prejudice, Stereotyping, and Discrimination (p. 23-42). Psychology Press. Pettigrew, T.F., & Tropp, L.R. (2006). A meta-analytic test of intergroup contact theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90(5), 751-783. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.90.5.751 Raabe, T., & Beelmann, A. (2011). Development of ethnic, racial, and national prejudice in childhood and adolescence: A multinational meta-analysis of age differences. Child Development, 82, 1715–1737. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01668.x Schiappa, E., Gregg, P. B., & Hewes, D. E. (2005). The parasocial contact hypothesis. Communication Monographs, 72(1), 92-115. https://doi.org/10.1080/0363775052000342544 Tropp, L. R., & Prenovost, M. A. (2008). The role of intergroup contact in predicting children's interethnic attitudes: Evidence from meta-analytic and field studies. In S. R. Levy & M. Killen (Eds.), Intergroup attitudes and relations in childhood through adulthood (p. 236–248). Oxford University Press. Wright, S. C., Aron, A., McLaughlin-Volpe, T., & Ropp, S. A. (1997). The extended contact effect: Knowledge of cross-group friendships and prejudice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73(1), 73-90.

Wie wint schrijft geschiedenis, maar klopt deze wel? Interview een Wetenschapper: Uzume Zoë Wijnsma

Wie wint schrijft geschiedenis, maar klopt deze wel? Interview een Wetenschapper: Uzume Zoë Wijnsma

Wat is jouw naam? Uzume Zoë Wijnsma Waar doe je op dit moment jouw onderzoek?
Ik werk momenteel voor de Universiteit Leiden, binnen het Leiden Institute for Area Studies (LIAS). In augustus zet ik mijn werk voort aan de Ludwig Maximilans-Universiteit van München. Wat is het onderwerp van jouw onderzoek? Mijn onderzoek is gericht op het Perzische Rijk (ca. 550 – 330 v.C.). In de 6e tot en met de 4e eeuw v.C. besloeg het Perzische Rijk een enorm gedeelte van west Azië en het oosten van het Middellandse Zeegebied. Op het hoogtepunt strekten de grenzen van Macedonië tot en met Afghanistan, en van Sudan tot en met Georgië. Het wordt ook wel het eerste “wereldrijk” in de geschiedenis genoemd. Binnen dit Rijk ben ik vooral geïnteresseerd in de regio’s van Egypte en Babylonië (hedendaags zuid Irak), en specifiek in de Egyptische en Babylonische opstanden die tegen de Perzen gevochten werden. Hoe ben je geïnteresseerd geraakt in dit onderwerp? Mijn interesse in het Perzische Rijk is op de middelbare school begonnen. Op het gymnasium lazen we namelijk Griekse teksten uit de 5e en 4e eeuw v.C., de tijd van het klassieke Athene. Denk aan Herodotus, die bekend staat als de eerste historicus uit de geschiedenis, of aan de filosofen Plato en Aristoteles. Een aantal van deze auteurs noemen de Perzen en hun gigantische rijk. De Perzen waren immers een grote bedreiging voor de Grieken, die met moeite hun onafhankelijkheid van het Perzische Rijk wisten te behouden. Tijdens mijn studie Oude Culturen van de Mediterrane Wereld in Leiden heb ik mijn interesse in de Perzen verder ontwikkeld. Ik wilde graag weten wat we over de Perzen wisten op basis van niet-Griekse bronnen, en hoe het Perzische Rijk ervaren werd door mensen die daadwerkelijk binnen Perzische grenzen leefden. Zou je iets meer kunnen vertellen over de opstanden die in Perzisch Egypte en Irak plaats hebben gevonden? De eerste opstanden ontstonden in ca. 522 v.C., toen er een troonopvolgingscrisis was in Iran. De Perzische koning, Cambyses, was gestorven, zijn broer werd vermoord, en een man die slechts in de verte verwant was aan het koningshuis, Darius I, claimde de troon. Tijdens deze politieke chaos braken er opstanden uit in verschillende delen van het rijk, waaronder in Egypte en Babylonië. De opstanden werden uiteindelijk neergeslagen door de legers van Darius I. Na de crisis van 522 v.C. kwam Babylonië nog tweemaal in opstand, en Egypte ca. vier keer. Het doel was telkens onafhankelijkheid van het Perzische Rijk te verkrijgen, en weer te leven onder een lokale vorst. Wat de exacte redenen achter de opstanden waren is lastig te achterhalen. Een aantal veranderingen die de Perzen in de Egyptische en Babylonische samenleving hadden doorgevoerd, hebben echter ongetwijfeld een rol gespeeld. Ten eerste moesten beide landen – net als andere provincies in het Perzische Rijk – grote hoeveelheden tribuut en belasting betalen aan de Perzische regering. Ten tweede werden de hoogste posten in het leger en civiele bestuur veelal door Perzen bezet; de macht van Egyptische en Babylonische beambten werd beperkter. Ten derde kwam er meer aandacht voor feesten, rituelen en monumentale bouw in Iran – het centrum van het Perzische Rijk – terwijl zulke zaken in Egypte en Babylonië in toenemende mate marginaal werden. Dit laatste element ging hand in hand met deportaties, waarbij grote groepen Egyptische en Babylonische arbeiders in Iran aan het werk werden gezet. Het is belangrijk om te noemen dat de opstanden deze situatie mogelijk hebben verergerd. De meeste opstanden werden namelijk neergeslagen door Perzische legers, waarna er repercussies volgden. Opstandelingen werden geëxecuteerd, gebouwen werden vernield, en lokale beambten die verdacht werden van deelname konden uit hun posten worden gezet. Er is slechts één opstand die succesvol is geweest: in ca. 400 v.C., meer dan een eeuw na de Perzische veroveringen, wist Egypte onafhankelijk te worden van het Perzische Rijk. Een aantal decennia daarna veroverden de Perzen de provincie weer terug. Hoe onderzoek je dit? Wanneer je het Perzische Rijk bestudeert, staan er tal van bronnen tot je beschikking. Eén bronnengroep heb ik al genoemd: de Griekse teksten uit de 5e en 4e eeuw v.C. Andere bronnen zijn het Oude Testament (ook daar wordt het Perzische Rijk genoemd), en natuurlijk alles wat er in de afgelopen eeuwen is opgegraven in het voormalig Perzische gebied. Denk aan inscripties op paleismuren in zuidwest Iran, kleitabletten in Irak, papyri in Egypte, beschreven potscherven in Israël, en graven in Turkije. Voor mijn onderzoek naar de Egyptische en Babylonische opstanden zijn vooral de Griekse teksten, de Perzische koningsinscripties, en de bronnen die zijn opgegraven in Egypte en Irak belangrijk. Daarbij gebruik ik vooral bronnen die gepubliceerd zijn. Om deze te consulteren moet ik naar de bibliotheek, en stoffige boeken openslaan (hoewel er, gelukkig, steeds meer online wordt gezet). Ik ben echter ook wel ‘ns op bronnen gestuit die nog niet gepubliceerd zijn, maar wel relevant bleken voor mijn onderzoek. Denk bijvoorbeeld aan een spijkerschrifttablet in een Europees museum, of een rotsinscriptie in de woestijn van Egypte. Op zulke momenten kwam mijn kennis van hiërogliefen en spijkerschrift goed van pas – dan moet je namelijk zelf met vertalen aan de slag! Vaak zijn dat de leukste momenten. Wat is het meest verassende/opmerkelijke wat je hebt ontdekt? Onder historici van het Perzische Rijk zijn de opstanden in Babylonië goed bekend. Dit komt grotendeels door de enorme hoeveelheid bronnen die daar zijn opgegraven: we hebben duizenden Babylonische teksten tot onze beschikking, waarvan een deel aan de opstanden te linken valt. Zo weten we welke regio’s van Babylonië in opstand kwamen, welke lagen van de bevolking er het meest mee te maken hadden, en hoe lang de opstanden duurden. Bij de Egyptische opstanden ligt de situatie anders. De meeste van deze opstanden worden genoemd door Griekse historici, wiens betrouwbaarheid in twijfel is getrokken. Egyptische bronnen die aan de opstanden gelinkt kunnen worden zijn er relatief weinig. Het resultaat is dat de Egyptische opstanden soms gebagatelliseerd zijn geweest: ze zouden niet zo lang geduurd hebben als dat Griekse historici claimen, en ze zouden slechts een klein gedeelte van Egypte beïnvloed hebben. Mijn onderzoek heeft echter het tegenovergestelde uitgewezen. Als we de Egyptische bronnen grondig bestuderen, wordt het duidelijk dat de meeste opstanden een aantal jaar hebben geduurd (vs. een paar maanden in Babylonië), en dat ze op grote delen van Egypte een impact hebben gehad. Deze conclusie verandert uiteraard ons begrip van Perzisch Egypte. Wat kunnen we leren van deze geschiedenis? Het Perzische Rijk is een belangrijke periode geweest in de geschiedenis van de mensheid. Met haar enorme omvang is het Rijk bijvoorbeeld een cruciaal onderdeel geweest in de globalisering van de wereld: nog nooit werden zoveel mensen verenigd onder één staat. Grootschalige migratie – zowel vrijwillig als gedwongen – zorgde voor toenemende interactie tussen etnische groepen, en vergemakkelijkte het uitwisselen van kennis, ideeën en verhalen. Met mijn onderzoek hoop ik bij te dragen aan een beter begrip van de ontstaansgeschiedenis en het functioneren van dit wereldrijk. Hoe kwam het dat de Perzen zo’n groot gebied wisten te veroveren, terwijl vorige staten dat niet gelukt was? En hoe wisten ze dit twee eeuwen lang bij elkaar te houden? Waar kunnen we meer vinden over jouw onderzoek? Mijn promotieonderzoek is deel van een groter project in Leiden, genaamd Persia and Babylonia. Op de website van het project (http://persiababylonia.org) valt van alles te vinden, zoals lezingen, blogs, en publicaties van mij en mijn collega’s. Daarnaast schrijf ik van tijd tot tijd een blog over mijn onderzoek voor Faces of Science, een project van Nemo kennislink en de Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen (https://www.nemokennislink.nl/facesofscience/wetenschappers/uzume-zoe-wijnsma/). Ben je geïnteresseerd in de oudheid, en op zoek naar toegankelijke informatie? Neem dan vooral een kijkje! Wat is jouw favoriete bier/drankje Dat wisselt per seizoen - maar op het moment ben ik gek op Ginger Beer. Overigens is dat ook het enige soort bier waar ik geen nee op zeg (ik ben altijd meer een wijn persoon geweest).

Who wins writes history, but is it true? Interview a scientist: Uzume Zoë Wijnsma

Who wins writes history, but is it true? Interview a scientist: Uzume Zoë Wijnsma

What is your name? Uzume Zoë Wijnsma Where are you currently doing your research? I am currently working for Leiden University, within the Leiden Institute for Area Studies (LIAS). In August I will continue my work at the Ludwig Maximilans University of Munich. What is the topic of your research? My research focuses on the Persian Empire (ca. 550 - 330 BC). In the 6th to 4th centuries B.C., the Persian Empire covered a large portion of western Asia and the eastern Mediterranean. At its height, its borders stretched from Macedonia to Afghanistan, and from Sudan to Georgia. It is also known as the first "world empire" in history. Within this Empire, I am particularly interested in the regions of Egypt and Babylonia (present-day southern Iraq), specifically in the Egyptian and Babylonian rebellions fought against the Persians. How did you become interested in this topic? My interest in the Persian Empire began in high school. In fact, in grammar school we read Greek texts from the 5th and 4th centuries BC, the time of classical Athens. Think of Herodotus, who is known as the first historian in history, or the philosophers Plato and Aristotle. Some of these authors mention the Persians and their gigantic empire. Indeed, the Persians were a great threat to the Greeks, who struggled to maintain their independence from the Persian Empire. While studying Ancient Cultures of the Mediterranean World in Leiden, I further developed my interest in the Persians. I wanted to know what we knew about the Persians based on non-Greek sources, and how the Persian Empire was experienced by people who actually lived within Persian borders. Could you tell a little more about the rebellions that took place in Persian Egypt and Iraq? The first uprisings occurred in about 522 B.C. when there was a succession crisis in Iran. The Persian king, Cambyses, had died, his brother was assassinated, and a man only remotely related to the royal family, Darius I, claimed the throne. During this political chaos, rebellions broke out in various parts of the empire, including Egypt and Babylonia. The rebellions were eventually put down by the armies of Darius I. After the crisis of 522 B.C. Babylonia rebelled twice more and Egypt about four more times. The goal each time was to gain independence from the Persian Empire and to live under a local ruler. What the exact reasons were behind the revolts are difficult to determine. However, a number of changes that the Persians made in Egyptian and Babylonian society undoubtedly played a role. First, both countries - like other provinces in the Persian Empire - had to pay large amounts of tribute and taxes to the Persian government. Second, the highest posts in the army and civil administration were mostly held by Persians; the power of Egyptian and Babylonian officials became more limited. Third, more attention was paid to festivals, rituals, and monumental construction in Iran-the center of the Persian Empire-while such matters became increasingly marginal in Egypt and Babylonia. The latter element went hand-in-hand with deportations, by which large groups of Egyptians and Babylonians were put to work in Iran. It is important to mention that the uprisings may have exacerbated this situation. In fact, most rebellions were put down by Persian armies, after which repercussions followed. Insurgents were executed, buildings were destroyed, and local officials suspected of participating could be removed from their posts. Only one rebellion was successful. In roughly 400 B.C., more than a century after the Persian conquests, Egypt managed to gain independence from the Persian Empire. However, a few decades after independence, the Persians recaptured the province. How do you research this? When you study the Persian Empire, there are numerous sources at your disposal. One source group I have already mentioned: the Greek texts from the 5th and 4th centuries B.C. Other sources are the Old Testament (the Persian Empire is also mentioned there), and, of course, everything that has been excavated in the former Persian area in recent centuries. Think of inscriptions on palace walls in southwest Iran, clay tablets in Iraq, papyri in Egypt, inscribed potsherds in Israel, and tombs in Turkey. For my research on the Egyptian and Babylonian revolts, Greek texts, Persian royal inscriptions and sources excavated in Egypt and Iraq are especially important. In doing so, I primarily use sources that have been published. To consult these I have to go to the library, and open dusty books (although, thankfully, more and more are being put online). However, I have also on occasion stumbled upon sources that are unpublished, but proved relevant to my research. Think of a cuneiform tablet in a European museum, or a rock inscription in the desert of Egypt. At times like that, my knowledge of hieroglyphs and cuneiform came in handy - that's when you have to start translating! Those are often the most enjoyable moments. What is the most surprising/noteworthy thing you discovered? Among historians of the Persian Empire, the rebellions in Babylonia are well known. This is largely due to the enormous amount of sources excavated there: we have thousands of Babylonian texts at our disposal, some of which can be linked to the uprisings. Thus we know which regions of Babylonia revolted, which layers of the population were most involved, and how long the revolts lasted. With the Egyptian rebellions, the situation is different. Most of these revolts are mentioned by Greek historians, whose reliability has been questioned. Egyptian sources that can be linked to the uprisings are relatively few. The result is that the Egyptian uprisings have sometimes been trivialized: they would not have lasted as long as Greek historians claim, and they would have affected only a small part of Egypt. My research, however, has shown the opposite. When we study the Egyptian sources in depth, it becomes clear that most of the revolts lasted several years (vs. a few months in Babylonia), and that they had an impact on large parts of Egypt. This conclusion obviously changes our understanding of Persian Egypt. What can we learn from this history? The Persian Empire was an important period in human history. For example, with its enormous size, the Empire was a crucial part in the globalization of the world. Never before had so many people been united under one state. Large-scale migration - both voluntary and forced - increased interaction between ethnic groups, and facilitated the exchange of knowledge, ideas and stories. With my research I hope to contribute to a better understanding of the genesis and functioning of this global empire. How was it that the Persians managed to conquer such a large area, while previous states had failed to do so? And how did they manage to hold it together for two centuries? Where can we find more about your research? My PhD research is part of a larger project in Leiden called Persia and Babylonia. On the website of the project (http://persiababylonia.org) you can find a lot of information, such as lectures, blogs, and publications from me and my colleagues. I also write a blog from time to time about my research for Faces of Science, a project of Nemo kennislink and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (https://www.nemokennislink.nl/facesofscience/wetenschappers/uzume-zoe-wijnsma/). Are you interested in antiquity and looking for accessible information? Then take a look! What is your favorite beer/drink? It varies with the season - but at the moment I love Ginger Beer. Incidentally, that's also the only kind of beer I don't say no to (I've always been more of a wine person).