Biomedical science and health are full of complexity - in terms of the complicated science concepts themselves and the cultural and ethical complexity that surround them.

Engaging people with complex science issues when they have little or no background in science can be challenging. However, it is vital to do so to ensure communities can feed into the research that affects them, that research participants can give fully informed consent, and to raise science literacy in our communities.

Two important mechanisms that can be used to communicate complex ideas in science are visualisation and metaphor and these were explored in depth at the 2017 Wellcome International Engagement Workshop. Materials, reflections and information from these sessions are captured in the pages linked to below. 


Graphic Visualisation of Complex Ideas and the Art of Graphic Recording 

An introduction to the concept of graphic recording and demonstration of a repeatable exercise on how to think about complex ideas visually. 

Metaphor and Analogy

Analogy in the Genome Adventures Comic Book Project

Exploring the benefits and pitfalls of using analogies in science engagement through the case study of the Genome Adventures project.

Metaphor as an Engagement Tool in Genomics

A presentation and repeatable participatory exercise exploring the role of metaphor in public engagement with genomics.

Caption: Visual representation of the 2017 Wellcome Trust International Engagement Workshop created by graphic facilitator Eleanor Beer.

The content on this page forms part of the online report for the 2017 International Engagement Workshop "It's Complicated: navigating scientific complexity in public and community engagement". To learn more about the workshop, access the rest of the report and browse the video presentations, discussion summaries, and tools made available from it, visit the workshop page. 

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