Science Centres - Diversify + Unify | attractionsmanagement.com
GET ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT
magazine
Yes! Send me the FREE digital edition of Attractions Management and the FREE weekly Attractions Management ezines and breaking news alerts!
Not right now, thanksclose this window
POST YOUR JOB ONLINE
Free ezine/digital edition sign up
Jobs   News   Features   Video    Products   Company profilesProfiles   Magazine   Handbook   Advertise  
Science Centres
Diversify + Unify Ecsite Annual Conference 2016

Attendees at this year’s Ecsite Annual Conference – held in Graz, Austria – heard how science centres can promote inclusion to help combat fear and ignorance, and how efforts are needed to make the community more diverse

By Tom Anstey | Published in Attractions Management 2016 issue 3


When the president of the host country’s wife is one of the people responsible for an event, you expect something special.

And that’s exactly what 1,000 delegates were treated to at this year’s Ecsite Annual Conference in Graz, Austria. A serious note was brought to proceedings, however, when the conference theme of “colours of cooperation” resonated through a stunned audience following a keynote address on diversity in the science centre community.

A presidential address
Austria’s then-president Heinz Fischer opened the event, praising the work of the team that put the 9 to 11 June conference together under the supervision of his wife, Margit Fischer, president of the ScienceCenter-Network.

“This is the first time Ecsite has come to Austria,” says the president. “Thanks to my wife, I know a little bit about the hard work that’s been put in by the organisers to make this happen. There are many who are really devoted to the idea of Ecsite and to the idea of the ScienceCentre-Network.”

Fischer praised science centres and museums worldwide, calling them an “essential extra layer” in the school system that marries young people with science.

“Science centres add to both our school and university system, bringing people closer to science, making it easy for them to understand and allowing them to gain pleasure from learning,” he says. “Science centres also enable young people to build a personal relationship with science, technology and innovation.”

Eurocentric bias
The keynote address was certainly impactful, where a room full of mainly white Europeans did nothing but emphasise the serious issue of ongoing racial disparity in the science community.

Recounting her first Ecsite in 1995 – when just a handful of people attended the event – Dr Elizabeth Rasekoala highlighted the issue that science’s Eurocentric model has been, and still is, excluding young black people from pursuing interests and potential careers in STEM subjects.

“We barely filled a room in King’s College in London in 1995,” says Rasekoala, who is president of the Pan-African Network for the Popularisation of Science and Technology (Gong). “Those were days full of excitement. I remember that conference and I remember asking myself two questions. First, I asked how long it would take before we had more women in the room – and it is good to see that the question has been answered well.

“The second question was how long it would be before I am no longer the only black person in the room. That question has still not been answered. That is on your major to-do list.”

Rasekoala went on to share global science centre and science museum visitor statistics. She says one in every 1,900 people in Africa had visited such an institution and then compared that to the UK, where the figure was one in four. According to Rasekoala, the European education system tells a similar story.

“We see European STEM education welcoming graduates from developing countries, yet they cannot deliver the same progression for local students from those same backgrounds,” she says. “I found myself as a postgraduate African student dealing with a perverse dichotomy of a university department that supported me and my aspirations and yet at a children’s primary school, they are deemed to be underachieving black youths who can only excel in sports and music. You are living with this sort of schizophrenia in society. How do we explain that?”

She says European science centres had failed to deliver a socially inclusive model and that was having a trickle-down effect in Africa and creating a cycle of inequality that is being replicated around the world.

“Within the African context we can see the global footprint of these inequalities,” Rasekoala says. “Somewhat ironically, the contamination of this Eurocentric approach means that in Africa we have African scientists marginalised and so aware of being marginalised that when they go back home they perpetuate the same inequalities. It’s like children who’ve been abused who grow up and become abusers. That’s what we are creating: we are exporting Eurocentrism.”

STANDING OVATION
Concluding her keynote by urging Ecsite and the network of global science centres to urgently address the issue, reshaping science to educate with a truly global approach that encourages all to take up science and STEM subjects, Rasekoala received a standing ovation from her peers.

When the following Q&A session occurred, not a single person raised their hand to ask a question for several minutes, telling the story of a room that didn’t know how to address such a sensitive topic. The first person brave enough to comment in front of their peers acknowledged it was still a challenging subject that needed to be addressed.

Speaking on the tackling the Eurocentric approach, Rasekoala added: “What are the parameters that should be included in making these changes? It’s up to you to work out,” she says. “In my country we have a saying. This is a place where the dead bodies are buried and this is where we’re going to have to dig them up if we want to make change.”

Fight fear with inclusion
Elsewhere at the conference, Ecsite president Michiel Buchel addressed the delegates urging them to take a stand against fear and show Europe that inclusion can be far stronger a force than “looking for enemies that are often not really there.”

“We represent Europe and progress, and we all know there is a cold, dark wind blowing through Europe right now,” he says. “We need Europe and Europe needs us.”

Buchel continued: “We’re undergoing a rather difficult and sometimes uncertain phase. Immigration, refugees, terrorism – these things can make people scared, but as a truly European network we must represent its values. We can show that inclusion is so much better than looking for enemies that are often not really there.”

Using the conference itself as an example of cooperation, Buchel noted that nearly half of the participants at the conference had also been actively involved in some way in creating the show’s content. Buchel added that each member of Ecsite could use their sphere of influence to address some of the problems Europe is facing, using science as a catalyst to start a debate on those issues.

“We stand for solutions, for the belief that science and technology can help us and help people to tell the difference between fact and fiction,” he says. “I think science can be and is a really strong weapon against ignorance and stupidity.”

Out of this world
Space was another theme at Ecsite, with Danish scientist Tina Ibsen calling for planetariums and science museums to harness the surging interest in space to draw young people into STEM careers.

Ibsen, head of science and outreach at Copenhagen’s Tycho Brahe Planetarium, says it is essential for scientific institutions to encourage children to head towards a career in STEM as the need for skilled workers in the field increases.

“By 2020, Denmark will need more than 35,000 engineers and people with a master’s degree in science,” says Ibsen. “We’re a small country of 5 million people so there is this problem of not enough kids going into STEM studies.”

Ibsen detailed how Denmark tried to achieve this goal – using homegrown astronaut Andreas Mogensen as a spark to ignite youth interest in STEM. Mogensen, who was given a mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2015, was at the centre of a project called 2015: Space Odyssey, named as an homage Stanley Kubrick’s famous film.

“We don’t have a space agency in Denmark, so we went ahead ourselves and used Mogensen as a way of engaging more kids in STEM careers,” says Ibsen.

“We came together with 15 partners across Denmark – science centres, museums, universities and even the Danish version of the BBC – to create the largest outreach project ever to happen in Denmark. And we had five main focus areas – events, educational material, competitions, teacher training courses and general outreach,” she says.

The effort proved a success, with more than 140,000 people in the country taking part in a number of events on 2 September 2015, the day Mogensen embarked on his mission to the ISS. As a result of the programme’s success, Ibsen says these partners have continued to collaborate on new projects together.

Dr Elizabeth Rasekoala told the Ecsite Annual Conference in Graz, Austria, that science centres in Europe had failed to deliver a socially inclusive model
Barbara Streicher, of Austria’s ScienceCentre-Network, addresses the audience at the Ecsite Annual Conference
President Fischer praised science centres and museums, calling them an “essential extra layer” in the school system
The conference includes a range of hands-on activities and workshops, including sessions on makerspaces, citizen science, facilitation, creating exhibitions, design thinking, big data and much more
The conference includes a range of hands-on activities and workshops, including sessions on makerspaces, citizen science, facilitation, creating exhibitions, design thinking, big data and much more
More than 50 exhibitors attend the Business Bistro, Ecsite’s commercial hub, with cutting-edge products and services
EMME Summer School is a training programme for science centre leaders
The maker movement continues to inspire the sector
COMPANY PROFILES
iPlayCO

iPlayCo was established in 1999. [more...]
Triotech

Triotech was established in 1999. The company is based in Montreal, Canada and has additional offi [more...]
WhiteWater

WhiteWater was born in 1980 to create places where families unite and make joyful lasting memories [more...]
Holovis

Holovis is a privately owned company established in 2004 by CEO Stuart Hetherington. [more...]
+ More profiles  
VIDEO GALLERY

Red Raion TV - Opening Event: FICO Eataly World
Last July 7th, Red Raion took part in the opening event of FICO Eataly World, the Italian theme park dedicated to food - the only one worldwide! Find out more...
More videos:
Red Raion Showreel 2021 – Red Raion
Red Raion TV - Testimonial: Leolandia – Red Raion
Keynote | Moby Dick - Friends to the rescue! – Red Raion
+ More videos  

CATALOGUE GALLERY
 

+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

03-04 Sep 2022

HEALING SUMMIT 2022 - The Healing of Everything

Pine Cliff Resort, Portugal
27-29 Sep 2022

International Congress on Thermal Tourism

Ourense, Ourense, Spain
+ More diary  
LATEST ISSUES
+ View Magazine Archive

Attractions Management

Issue 1 Volume 27


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management

Issue 4 Volume 26


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management

2021 issue 3


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management

2021 issue 2


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management News

06 Apr 2020 issue 153


View on turning pages
Download PDF
View archive
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Handbook

2019


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription
 
ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
 
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT NEWS
ATTRACTIONS HANDBOOK
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS
ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2022
Jobs    News   Products   Magazine
Science Centres
Diversify + Unify Ecsite Annual Conference 2016

Attendees at this year’s Ecsite Annual Conference – held in Graz, Austria – heard how science centres can promote inclusion to help combat fear and ignorance, and how efforts are needed to make the community more diverse

By Tom Anstey | Published in Attractions Management 2016 issue 3


When the president of the host country’s wife is one of the people responsible for an event, you expect something special.

And that’s exactly what 1,000 delegates were treated to at this year’s Ecsite Annual Conference in Graz, Austria. A serious note was brought to proceedings, however, when the conference theme of “colours of cooperation” resonated through a stunned audience following a keynote address on diversity in the science centre community.

A presidential address
Austria’s then-president Heinz Fischer opened the event, praising the work of the team that put the 9 to 11 June conference together under the supervision of his wife, Margit Fischer, president of the ScienceCenter-Network.

“This is the first time Ecsite has come to Austria,” says the president. “Thanks to my wife, I know a little bit about the hard work that’s been put in by the organisers to make this happen. There are many who are really devoted to the idea of Ecsite and to the idea of the ScienceCentre-Network.”

Fischer praised science centres and museums worldwide, calling them an “essential extra layer” in the school system that marries young people with science.

“Science centres add to both our school and university system, bringing people closer to science, making it easy for them to understand and allowing them to gain pleasure from learning,” he says. “Science centres also enable young people to build a personal relationship with science, technology and innovation.”

Eurocentric bias
The keynote address was certainly impactful, where a room full of mainly white Europeans did nothing but emphasise the serious issue of ongoing racial disparity in the science community.

Recounting her first Ecsite in 1995 – when just a handful of people attended the event – Dr Elizabeth Rasekoala highlighted the issue that science’s Eurocentric model has been, and still is, excluding young black people from pursuing interests and potential careers in STEM subjects.

“We barely filled a room in King’s College in London in 1995,” says Rasekoala, who is president of the Pan-African Network for the Popularisation of Science and Technology (Gong). “Those were days full of excitement. I remember that conference and I remember asking myself two questions. First, I asked how long it would take before we had more women in the room – and it is good to see that the question has been answered well.

“The second question was how long it would be before I am no longer the only black person in the room. That question has still not been answered. That is on your major to-do list.”

Rasekoala went on to share global science centre and science museum visitor statistics. She says one in every 1,900 people in Africa had visited such an institution and then compared that to the UK, where the figure was one in four. According to Rasekoala, the European education system tells a similar story.

“We see European STEM education welcoming graduates from developing countries, yet they cannot deliver the same progression for local students from those same backgrounds,” she says. “I found myself as a postgraduate African student dealing with a perverse dichotomy of a university department that supported me and my aspirations and yet at a children’s primary school, they are deemed to be underachieving black youths who can only excel in sports and music. You are living with this sort of schizophrenia in society. How do we explain that?”

She says European science centres had failed to deliver a socially inclusive model and that was having a trickle-down effect in Africa and creating a cycle of inequality that is being replicated around the world.

“Within the African context we can see the global footprint of these inequalities,” Rasekoala says. “Somewhat ironically, the contamination of this Eurocentric approach means that in Africa we have African scientists marginalised and so aware of being marginalised that when they go back home they perpetuate the same inequalities. It’s like children who’ve been abused who grow up and become abusers. That’s what we are creating: we are exporting Eurocentrism.”

STANDING OVATION
Concluding her keynote by urging Ecsite and the network of global science centres to urgently address the issue, reshaping science to educate with a truly global approach that encourages all to take up science and STEM subjects, Rasekoala received a standing ovation from her peers.

When the following Q&A session occurred, not a single person raised their hand to ask a question for several minutes, telling the story of a room that didn’t know how to address such a sensitive topic. The first person brave enough to comment in front of their peers acknowledged it was still a challenging subject that needed to be addressed.

Speaking on the tackling the Eurocentric approach, Rasekoala added: “What are the parameters that should be included in making these changes? It’s up to you to work out,” she says. “In my country we have a saying. This is a place where the dead bodies are buried and this is where we’re going to have to dig them up if we want to make change.”

Fight fear with inclusion
Elsewhere at the conference, Ecsite president Michiel Buchel addressed the delegates urging them to take a stand against fear and show Europe that inclusion can be far stronger a force than “looking for enemies that are often not really there.”

“We represent Europe and progress, and we all know there is a cold, dark wind blowing through Europe right now,” he says. “We need Europe and Europe needs us.”

Buchel continued: “We’re undergoing a rather difficult and sometimes uncertain phase. Immigration, refugees, terrorism – these things can make people scared, but as a truly European network we must represent its values. We can show that inclusion is so much better than looking for enemies that are often not really there.”

Using the conference itself as an example of cooperation, Buchel noted that nearly half of the participants at the conference had also been actively involved in some way in creating the show’s content. Buchel added that each member of Ecsite could use their sphere of influence to address some of the problems Europe is facing, using science as a catalyst to start a debate on those issues.

“We stand for solutions, for the belief that science and technology can help us and help people to tell the difference between fact and fiction,” he says. “I think science can be and is a really strong weapon against ignorance and stupidity.”

Out of this world
Space was another theme at Ecsite, with Danish scientist Tina Ibsen calling for planetariums and science museums to harness the surging interest in space to draw young people into STEM careers.

Ibsen, head of science and outreach at Copenhagen’s Tycho Brahe Planetarium, says it is essential for scientific institutions to encourage children to head towards a career in STEM as the need for skilled workers in the field increases.

“By 2020, Denmark will need more than 35,000 engineers and people with a master’s degree in science,” says Ibsen. “We’re a small country of 5 million people so there is this problem of not enough kids going into STEM studies.”

Ibsen detailed how Denmark tried to achieve this goal – using homegrown astronaut Andreas Mogensen as a spark to ignite youth interest in STEM. Mogensen, who was given a mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2015, was at the centre of a project called 2015: Space Odyssey, named as an homage Stanley Kubrick’s famous film.

“We don’t have a space agency in Denmark, so we went ahead ourselves and used Mogensen as a way of engaging more kids in STEM careers,” says Ibsen.

“We came together with 15 partners across Denmark – science centres, museums, universities and even the Danish version of the BBC – to create the largest outreach project ever to happen in Denmark. And we had five main focus areas – events, educational material, competitions, teacher training courses and general outreach,” she says.

The effort proved a success, with more than 140,000 people in the country taking part in a number of events on 2 September 2015, the day Mogensen embarked on his mission to the ISS. As a result of the programme’s success, Ibsen says these partners have continued to collaborate on new projects together.

Dr Elizabeth Rasekoala told the Ecsite Annual Conference in Graz, Austria, that science centres in Europe had failed to deliver a socially inclusive model
Barbara Streicher, of Austria’s ScienceCentre-Network, addresses the audience at the Ecsite Annual Conference
President Fischer praised science centres and museums, calling them an “essential extra layer” in the school system
The conference includes a range of hands-on activities and workshops, including sessions on makerspaces, citizen science, facilitation, creating exhibitions, design thinking, big data and much more
The conference includes a range of hands-on activities and workshops, including sessions on makerspaces, citizen science, facilitation, creating exhibitions, design thinking, big data and much more
More than 50 exhibitors attend the Business Bistro, Ecsite’s commercial hub, with cutting-edge products and services
EMME Summer School is a training programme for science centre leaders
The maker movement continues to inspire the sector
LATEST NEWS
Liseberg's Grand Curiosa Hotel to open in 2023
Liseberg theme park in Sweden has confirmed the opening date for its new Grand Curiosa hotel.
London's Harry Potter studio tour to open Professor Sprout’s Greenhouse
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London will launch a new area on 1 July, further expanding the popular Harry Potter-themed visitor attraction in Leavesden.
Juneteenth Museum by Bjarke Ingels Group has been designed to inspire spiritual uplift
Detailed plans have been revealed for the National Juneteenth Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, US.
Jorvik's digital strategy described as 'leading light' after gaining international audience
The Jorvik Group has been named a ‘leading light’ for its digital strategy, which helped it gain an international audience of more than 3 million people during the pandemic.
Chester Zoo and Nothe Fort among Visit England Awards winners
Chester Zoo, Nothe Fort and Black Country Living Museum are among the 19 winners of this year's Visit England Awards for Excellence.
ALVA's Bernard Donoghue awarded OBE for his extraordinary work supporting the attractions sector
Bernard Donoghue, director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA), has been awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.
Countdown begins on Museum of London's epic move to Smithfield Market
Museum of London in the UK will move to its new home in Smithfield in the heart of the capital at the beginning of 2023.
Industrial Light & Magic creates groundbreaking virtual ABBA concert
ABBA, the 70s icons behind hits such as Dancing Queen and Mamma Mia, has returned to live concerts after a 40-year break – in digital form.
Science Museum's major exhibition on cancer opens to the public
A major free exhibition on the treatment and understanding of cancer has opened at the Science Museum in London, UK.
Scruffy Dog and Simtec launch Fisher-Price themed trackless ride
Scruffy Dog Creative Group and Simtec Systems have partnered to launch a new immersive trackless dark ride featuring the popular Mattel IP, Fisher-Price.
Dohmen and Bertens join forces to launch Tourist Development and Attraction Consultants
Former Efteling COO, Coen Bertens, and former BRC Imagination Arts exec, Bart Dohmen, have partnered to set up a consultancy for the tourism and visitor attraction sectors.
Puy du Fou to create first US attraction
Puy du Fou is set to enter the US attractions market with its iconic, immersive themed visitor experience, after securing a partnership with the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indian (ECBI).
+ More news   
 
COMPANY PROFILES
iPlayCO

iPlayCo was established in 1999. [more...]
Triotech

Triotech was established in 1999. The company is based in Montreal, Canada and has additional offi [more...]
WhiteWater

WhiteWater was born in 1980 to create places where families unite and make joyful lasting memories [more...]
Holovis

Holovis is a privately owned company established in 2004 by CEO Stuart Hetherington. [more...]
+ More profiles  
VIDEO GALLERY

Red Raion TV - Opening Event: FICO Eataly World
Last July 7th, Red Raion took part in the opening event of FICO Eataly World, the Italian theme park dedicated to food - the only one worldwide! Find out more...
More videos:
Red Raion Showreel 2021 – Red Raion
Red Raion TV - Testimonial: Leolandia – Red Raion
Keynote | Moby Dick - Friends to the rescue! – Red Raion
+ More videos  

CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

03-04 Sep 2022

HEALING SUMMIT 2022 - The Healing of Everything

Pine Cliff Resort, Portugal
27-29 Sep 2022

International Congress on Thermal Tourism

Ourense, Ourense, Spain
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2022

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT NEWS
ATTRACTIONS HANDBOOK
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS