The purpose of the science café is to bring science closer to people’s everyday life
Text: Jaakko Kinnunen
Photo: Jonne Renvall
The University of Tampere is planning its own science café. Students Elina Uusitalo, Hannele Kivelä, Roosa Pelkonen and Marjukka Mäkelä invented the concept of the science café during the spring and handed the completed project plan to Rector Liisa Laakso at the end of the semester.
The project under the name TEE3 will be linked to the science communication training that will start in autumn 2018 and to courses organised by the School of Art, Music and Media at TAMK. In the bigger picture, the project is related to the third task of universities, which is to serve society and to engage in social dialogue.
The preliminary plan developed by the students does not present ready-made solutions. However, it is an important first step on whose basis the project can be furthered. One suitable model could be a café in the university’s premises where researchers could present their research results and methods. In addition, debates and discussions could be organised in the café.
“The start was a bit chaotic because we did not have a clear idea of what we were doing at first. However, we came up with a good result,” Pelkonen says.
The design of the science café project was a part of studies on business communications. All four agree that the project gave them a lot of valuable experience that they can apply in their future work.
“It was a great learning experience. In my opinion, the studies included very good points related to business communications,” Mäkelä says.
The group thinks that there is a need for a science communication series that needs to be implemented by students for other students. At present, students have no easy access to science-related activities outside their studies.
During the project, the group got acquainted with the supply of scientific communications in the Tampere area, such as the annual “Valoa pimeyteen” event. They made one clear observation of the audience of such events.
“People in our age group were seldom seen at these events,” Pelkonen points out.
“I think there is a clear need to engage more young people,” Mäkelä continues.
When studying the current science events, the students also found that the role of social media could increase. Social media was particularly helpful in activating young people.
“We have now done our part. Hopefully, new people will develop the project further,” Uusitalo says.
The project is now taken on by staff. The aim is to establish a science café at the University of Tampere in the near future where research is brought closer to people’s everyday life in a popular form.