DeCiDe - Deliberative Citizens Debates in European Science Centres and Museums
DeCiDe is a project which seeks to develop a way of conducting meetings in which members of the public can debate about six controversial life science issues: pre-implantation genetic testing; stem cell research; xeno-transplantation; new drugs for HIV; brain research and nanotechnology.
The project is producing a kit to facilitate structured debate. The kit will consist of cards containing information on policies, scenarios, facts and issues, along with a ‘conversation guidelines’ document, voting grid, feedback forms and a mapping board. An instruction booklet and background information would also be included.
The kit will allow groups of citizens to carry out what DeCiDe describes as a ‘self-supporting deliberative debate on the topic of choice’. The cards and mapping board will help to visualize the discussion and offer feedback.
DeCiDe will certainly give a boost to participatory activities as it opens local dialogues on issues that really matter to the science and society interface. DeCiDe aims to engage a diverse audience of more than 2 000 adults and young people in several European countries via the network of science museums and other institutions.
Events will be held throughout Europe; in this way the project will allow to reveal how different communities react to public consultation and to the topics up for discussion.
One area of investigation is the role of dialogue during and after the deliberation process. Subjects of investigation will include: How does dialogue influences decision making? Is the stimulus to carry on the debate long lasting, or is it essentially limited to direct engagement in the game event?
Another project aim is to ensure that meetings will be conducted in an open, easy and inclusive way, which should help to make members of the public feel that their views are valued by policy-making bodies.
DeCiDe is a funded by the European Commission under the Science and Society Activity.
ECSITE (Belgium), At-Bristol (UK - co-ordinator), La Cité des Science et de l’Industrie (France), La Città della Scienza (Italy) and Heureka (Finland) form the consortium, whose task is to develop the tool to facilitate deliberative debates on contemporary issues across European science centres and museums, and to monitor the outcomes of such discussions.
DeCiDe is an eighteen-month project which started in September 2003.
For more information:
DECIDE Project coordinator:
John Durant, john.durant@at-bristol
Andrea Bandelli, email@example.com