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Conference Report
Science Centre World Summit 2014

Attracting teenagers and keeping up with digital developments were among the topics at the recent conference, as Erik Jacquemyn, CEO of Technopolis, reports

Three astronauts, two Nobel prize laureates and one member of the royal family – His Majesty King Philippe, King of Belgium – were among the 464 delegates from 58 countries at Science Centre World Summit 2014. The summit was hosted by Technopolis in Belgium in March, with Belgian Nobel laureate Professor François Englert opening the conference. In his address, Englert discussed the importance of science and technology, and how to engage the next generation with these crucial subjects.

Screenagers
The World Summit was built up around three main themes: research and communication of research; engaging learners in all settings; and new technologies for learning and engagement. Attracting teenagers, or screenagers as they’re often referred to, was one of the most important topics raised at the conference.

Delegates were told science centres can play an important role when it comes to teenagers and their screen addictions. Through education, perhaps they can be tempted away from their computers, tablets or smartphones and converted into more active members in society. It was suggested that science centre operators nurture teenagers’ making and tinkering at popular Maker Faires [a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness and a celebration of the Maker movement]. These become opportunities for science centres to help make the makers of the future, and turn consumers into producers.

The role of science centres in society was also discussed, and it was suggested they act as bridges between science and society, encouraging everyone to become a citizen scientist. To encourage people’s curiosity , science centres should help visitors to ask questions, rather than simply providing the answers.

Digital dilemma
Adapting to the digital age and the speed of innovation poses a great challenge to science centres. One of the sessions questioned whether new technologies enhance learning or create barriers. The use of apps was also debated, with a focus on how they can serve as powerful bridges between science centres and museums, universities and the public. A session about serious gaming discussed sharing scientific content in a smooth and playful way, as gaming gets the player emotionally and personally involved.

Personalising the science centre visit was also discussed. As visitor expectations are increasing, science centres are experimenting with new ways to generate more personalised content and provide deeper access. Many delegates predicted that interactive artworks would feature far more in science centres of the future. Ensuring a strong interaction and behavioural enrichment is paramount, as real experiences will last long after the latest gadget becomes defunct.

Other key speakers during the opening session were Professor Tissa Vitarana (senior minister scientific affairs, Sri Lanka), Marie Levens (director human development, E education and culture at the Organisation of American States) and Professor Anne Glover (chief scientific adviser to the president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso). Glover emphasised the importance of communicating research: “Research not communicated is research not done.”

For the first time, speakers from both inside and outside the science centre field were involved. Ideas and debates provided by people outside the industry provided fresh insight and will be used in the theory and practice of planning, operating and developing science centres.


Partnerships
Another result of the World Summit are the new partnerships that are initiated and formalised. The agreement between the Chinese Association of Natural Sciences Museums (CANSM) and the Association of Science-Technology Centres (ASTC) for the translation of its award winning magazine Dimensions in Chinese was officially signed. The International Council of Museums (ICOM) expressed its interest in partnering with the science centre field.

Also, the Human Brain Project (HBP), the new Flagship EU initiative, announced a global collaboration with science centres. This co-creation approach will bring the public along a scientific journey through thousands of science centres around the world.

The Mechelen Declaration

One of the outcomes of the World Summit is known as the Mechelen Declaration. In this document, the science centre field and its strategic partners commit to concrete actions. The document was signed by delegates from within the science centre field and their networks: ASPAC (Asia Pacific Network of Science and Technology Centres), ASTC (Association of Science-Technology Centres), ECSITE (European network of science centres and museums), NAMES (North Africa and Middle East Science centres network), NCSM (National Council of Science Museums), REDPOP (Network for the Popularisation of Science and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean) and SAASTEC (Southern African Association of Science and Technology Centres).

Many delegates outside the science centre field also signed the Mechelen Declaration: Kris Peeters (minister-president of the government of Flanders), Dr Hans-Martin Hinz (president of the International Council of Museums – see interview in AM Q2 14), Tissa Vitarana (senior minister scientific affairs, Sri Lanka), Anne Glover (chief scientific adviser to the president of the European Commission) and Marie Levens (director human development, education and culture at the Organisation of American States). By signing the document, they agreed to promote the declaration to their organisation and respond to future invitations to discuss potential partnerships.

 



King Philippe of Belgium signs the Mechelen Declaration


Erik Jacquemyn, CEO of the hosting science centre Technopolis and chair of the summit’s international programme committee

Email: erik@technopolis.be
www.technopolis.be

Walter Ginckels of Technopolis
Scientist Colin H. Johnson
Technopolis CEO Erik Jacquemyn
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Conference Report
Science Centre World Summit 2014

Attracting teenagers and keeping up with digital developments were among the topics at the recent conference, as Erik Jacquemyn, CEO of Technopolis, reports

Three astronauts, two Nobel prize laureates and one member of the royal family – His Majesty King Philippe, King of Belgium – were among the 464 delegates from 58 countries at Science Centre World Summit 2014. The summit was hosted by Technopolis in Belgium in March, with Belgian Nobel laureate Professor François Englert opening the conference. In his address, Englert discussed the importance of science and technology, and how to engage the next generation with these crucial subjects.

Screenagers
The World Summit was built up around three main themes: research and communication of research; engaging learners in all settings; and new technologies for learning and engagement. Attracting teenagers, or screenagers as they’re often referred to, was one of the most important topics raised at the conference.

Delegates were told science centres can play an important role when it comes to teenagers and their screen addictions. Through education, perhaps they can be tempted away from their computers, tablets or smartphones and converted into more active members in society. It was suggested that science centre operators nurture teenagers’ making and tinkering at popular Maker Faires [a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness and a celebration of the Maker movement]. These become opportunities for science centres to help make the makers of the future, and turn consumers into producers.

The role of science centres in society was also discussed, and it was suggested they act as bridges between science and society, encouraging everyone to become a citizen scientist. To encourage people’s curiosity , science centres should help visitors to ask questions, rather than simply providing the answers.

Digital dilemma
Adapting to the digital age and the speed of innovation poses a great challenge to science centres. One of the sessions questioned whether new technologies enhance learning or create barriers. The use of apps was also debated, with a focus on how they can serve as powerful bridges between science centres and museums, universities and the public. A session about serious gaming discussed sharing scientific content in a smooth and playful way, as gaming gets the player emotionally and personally involved.

Personalising the science centre visit was also discussed. As visitor expectations are increasing, science centres are experimenting with new ways to generate more personalised content and provide deeper access. Many delegates predicted that interactive artworks would feature far more in science centres of the future. Ensuring a strong interaction and behavioural enrichment is paramount, as real experiences will last long after the latest gadget becomes defunct.

Other key speakers during the opening session were Professor Tissa Vitarana (senior minister scientific affairs, Sri Lanka), Marie Levens (director human development, E education and culture at the Organisation of American States) and Professor Anne Glover (chief scientific adviser to the president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso). Glover emphasised the importance of communicating research: “Research not communicated is research not done.”

For the first time, speakers from both inside and outside the science centre field were involved. Ideas and debates provided by people outside the industry provided fresh insight and will be used in the theory and practice of planning, operating and developing science centres.


Partnerships
Another result of the World Summit are the new partnerships that are initiated and formalised. The agreement between the Chinese Association of Natural Sciences Museums (CANSM) and the Association of Science-Technology Centres (ASTC) for the translation of its award winning magazine Dimensions in Chinese was officially signed. The International Council of Museums (ICOM) expressed its interest in partnering with the science centre field.

Also, the Human Brain Project (HBP), the new Flagship EU initiative, announced a global collaboration with science centres. This co-creation approach will bring the public along a scientific journey through thousands of science centres around the world.

The Mechelen Declaration

One of the outcomes of the World Summit is known as the Mechelen Declaration. In this document, the science centre field and its strategic partners commit to concrete actions. The document was signed by delegates from within the science centre field and their networks: ASPAC (Asia Pacific Network of Science and Technology Centres), ASTC (Association of Science-Technology Centres), ECSITE (European network of science centres and museums), NAMES (North Africa and Middle East Science centres network), NCSM (National Council of Science Museums), REDPOP (Network for the Popularisation of Science and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean) and SAASTEC (Southern African Association of Science and Technology Centres).

Many delegates outside the science centre field also signed the Mechelen Declaration: Kris Peeters (minister-president of the government of Flanders), Dr Hans-Martin Hinz (president of the International Council of Museums – see interview in AM Q2 14), Tissa Vitarana (senior minister scientific affairs, Sri Lanka), Anne Glover (chief scientific adviser to the president of the European Commission) and Marie Levens (director human development, education and culture at the Organisation of American States). By signing the document, they agreed to promote the declaration to their organisation and respond to future invitations to discuss potential partnerships.

 



King Philippe of Belgium signs the Mechelen Declaration


Erik Jacquemyn, CEO of the hosting science centre Technopolis and chair of the summit’s international programme committee

Email: erik@technopolis.be
www.technopolis.be

Walter Ginckels of Technopolis
Scientist Colin H. Johnson
Technopolis CEO Erik Jacquemyn
 


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Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2019

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