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Engaging the Excluded

Falling Walls Foundation | Rokia Ballo, Saeeda Bhatti, Hanan Dowidar, William Dunn

How did we get here and where do we go? A follow-up discussion.

The need for scientists to effectively communicate and engage the public with science has never been clearer than today. However, ensuring communication and engagement are delivered equitably remains a challenge.

The literature suggests that despite calls to democratise science and much theorising on how this might be achieved from those within science communication and public engagement, in practice their activities are often criticized for reinforcing patterns of exclusion found in wider society which particularly impact marginalized groups at risk of other forms of social exclusion. As the world continues to turn its attention to issues of inequality, so has the scientific community, with many already attempting to break down barriers to accessing science and foster inclusive engagement.

This session will discuss and highlight examples of how inclusive practice is being employed across a range of geographies and cultural contexts: sharing key learnings from each speaker to suggest how we might better engage the excluded with science moving forward.

Together with the researcher and host of the session, Rokia Ballo, Falling Walls Engage has created a perspective review and short film of the same name. Have a look here.


This is a digital event. If you would like to attend, please book your spot here. Access to the event will be provided by the organiser.

Rokia Ballo


Rokia Ballo (she/her) is a PhD student in Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University College London (UCL). Her research focuses on the construction, communication, and use of science and evidence in UK policy and how this intersects with social inequality. Rokia is also interested in inclusive practice within science communication. She is Co-Chair of Science London who deliver events and resources for scientists, educators, science communication and public engagement practitioners to employ equitable practice in their work. She is committed to developing polyvocal and decolonial narratives of science that take us beyond academic institutions and centre equity and social justice.

Saeeda Bhatti


Saeeda Bhatti has several years experience working in science communication and as a STEM Ambassador and is passionate about taking science out to her local community. Saeeda is a member of the teaching staff in the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing at the University of Glasgow and implemented a series of innovative and ambitious public engagement and science communication events in conjunction with local primary schools in the Gorbals, promoting STEM engagement in areas with traditionally low participation. In December 2017, Saeeda won the University of Glasgow Knowledge and Exchange Award for best Community Public Engagement Initiative as a result of her recent work in this area. She was also a finalist for the Herald Higher Education award for community outreach in 2019.

Hanan Dowidar


Hanan Dowidar is a development expert with extensive experience working for international organisations, government agencies, educational institutions and civil society associations. Dowidar currently manages strategic partnerships for 1001 Inventions, a world leader in sparking young people’s interest in science while promoting diversity and inclusion. Hana leads several educational campaigns for 1001 Inventions around the world.

William Dunn


Dr William Dunn is a multi-award-winning astrophysicist and planetary scientist from University College London’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL). Prior to MSSL, he worked at Harvard and with the European Space Agency. His research focusses on X-raying planets. Since 2017, Will has run the Orbyts programme which partners researchers with schools to address the chronic diversity issues in science. The programme has enabled 200+ school students to author scientific papers and is shown to have a profoundly positive impact on science inclusivity. Orbyts was awarded this year’s NEON award for widening access to education.

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