Lunch Session LS9  27 June 2022

Outreach and Public Engagement after Covid

Aims and scope

The impact of Covid-19 led to a dramatic change in the landscape of public engagement, which overnight transformed from "hands on" to entirely virtual delivery. Appreciation of astronomy briefly enjoyed a higher profile, with views of the sky connecting us to the wider universe while confined to our homes. Virtual access has enabled the astronomy community to reach audiences that could not normally attend "face to face" outreach sessions, but it has simultaneously widened the gap for disadvantaged communities without access to the technology needed for online engagement.

By July 2022 we hope to be moving into an era where Covid is endemic, rather than an acute crisis. Therefore, this session aims to share lessons - good and bad - from "lockdown learning" and highlight the role of astronomy and space science in fostering a scientifically literate, post-pandemic population, particularly among groups who are traditionally under-represented in scientific careers.


Considering public engagement in the years ahead:

  • Is the increase in virtual outreach initiatives "the new normal", or is "face to face" vital for engaging marginalised communities on the wrong side of the digital divide?
  • What does this mean for collaboration across Europe and further afield?
  • How has public perception of science changed during the pandemic and what does this mean for the outreach community?

Invited speakers

This will be a community-driven session, so all contributions will be from submitted abstracts.

Scientific organisers

Anita Heward (Chair)
Federica Duras (co-Chair)
Robert Massey (co-Chair)
Andrew Newsam (co-Chair)
Eugenia Covernton
Sheila Kanani
Catarina Leote


For further information contact Anita Heward (a.r.heward @ or Andy Newsam (A.Newsam @

Updated on Fri Feb 18 15:55:36 CET 2022