Engaging or transmitting? Health at the science centre


  • Catharina Thiel Sandholdt University of Copenhagen
  • Marianne Achiam University of Copenhagen




Didactic transposition, exhibition development, health promotion, science centre, participatory design.


Science centres have a strong commitment to education, but the

implications of that commitment change over time. The discovery pedagogy of

the first science centres is gradually being replaced with a more dialogic approach

that acknowledges that science has different meanings for different people. Here,

we follow the transition of a Danish science centre towards this new approach; a

transition driven by the development of a dialogic exhibition on health. To this

end, we study the adaptive transformation of scientific content from its origin in

scientific literature to its embodiment in the exhibition, using discourse analysis

to track its deconstruction and reconstruction. We observe that although the

science centre’s established discovery pedagogy does challenge the implementation

of dialogic perspectives on health, the participatory approach taken in the

development process successfully overcame these challenges. In conclusion, we offer

our perspectives on the implications of our findings for science centres.

Author Biographies

Catharina Thiel Sandholdt, University of Copenhagen

Ph.D., Department of Science Education


Marianne Achiam, University of Copenhagen

Ph.D., Associate Professor

Department of Science Education