By Clio Heslop and Louis Stupple-Harris

The latest research into science engagement has found that many science communication and engagement activities are far from inclusive. Social scientist Dr Emily Dawson worked with people from low-income and minority-ethnic groups who were not actively engaged in science, and explains how science engagement is set up to exclude and disempower them.

Emily's research shows that the content of science museums, festivals, talks, and events either do not represent - or worse, misrepresent – her participants’ culture and experience. Furthermore, activities that are described as being for 'everyone' often choose locations and topics that are irrelevant, inaccessible, or unknown to people who aren't white and middle-class.

The release of Emily's paper is well-timed for us at the British Science Association (BSA), as we're planning our strategy and programmes for the next three years. A big part of this next stage is a commitment to do more work with people who don't currently have an active relationship with science.

To do this, we need to understand more about what's important to the people we don't usually speak to. We need to know what motivates, hinders, and excites them. We want to understand what they want from us, from science, and from society as a whole.

We recognise that the make-up of the BSA staff team has been shaped by the structural inequalities that Emily’s paper describes. We recognise that to work in an inclusive way, we need to change – and we’re committed to making those changes.

Alongside this, we're working to measure and improve the diversity of our staff and volunteers by striving to ensure that our hiring and recruitment processes are free of prejudice. We're also seeking advice from other areas of society, where people have taken steps to ensure their workforce and activities represent the diversity of the UK.

We believe that to achieve our vision of a world in which science is at the heart of culture and society, we need a more diverse group of people involved in science – and to do that, we need a more diverse group of people involved in doing, making, framing, enjoying, critiquing or otherwise using science engagement.

We want to be open about our approaches and findings, so you can expect more blog posts like this one as our work progresses. We’ll be working with Emily, who is one of our trustees, and if you have ideas or evidence that can help us on this journey, get in touch.