Beyond the Formal Mechanisms of Public Engagement. Communicating Biobanking Research with Other Means

Lorenzo Beltrame, Lucia Martinelli, Ilaria Ampollini


Abstract: In this contribution we explore novel, different ways of promoting public engagement in biomedical research using biobanks. Starting from a discussion about the limits of traditional formal procedures of engaging participants in biobanking activities, the contribution proposes two approaches to public involvement that use the Science Museum as an agora for communicating and representing the complex scientific, societal and ethical issues involved in contemporary biomedical research. The role of museum exhibitions, metaphors and languages of art and theater, as well as other forms of dialogues, are discussed as a way of shaping popular imaginaries about scientific research, in order to complement mechanisms of public engagement with novel forms of stimulating public understanding of scientific research using tissues and genomic data.

Keywords: science museum; art, theater; dialogues; biobanks; public engagement.

Full Text: