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   Profiles   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
Holovis

Holovis is a privately owned company established in 2004 by CEO Stuart Hetherington. [more...]
FORREC Ltd

We create guest experiences others don’t, masterplan like no one else can, and give the world’s bi [more...]
Painting With Light

By combining lighting, video, scenic and architectural elements, sound and special effects we tell s [more...]
DJW

David & Lynn Willrich started the Company over thirty years ago, from the Audio Visual Department [more...]
+ More profiles  
FEATURED SUPPLIER

Triotech and Benoit Cornet’s Bold Move to collaborate on breakthrough innovative media-based attractions
Triotech has announced a breakthrough alliance with Benoit Cornet and Bold Move to bring a new collaborative approach to the design of media-based attractions – with an emphasis on adding value for operators. [more...]
VIDEO GALLERY

Animalive - Introducing AnimaChat!
Introducing AnimaChat, one operator can live-stream into multiple venues. Find out more...
More videos:
+ More videos  

CATALOGUE GALLERY
 
+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

05-07 May 2021

TEA SATE Europe 2020

PortAventura World, Tarragona, Spain
09 Jun 2021

IAAPA Expo Asia 2021

The Venetian Macao, Macao, China
+ More diary  
LATEST ISSUES
+ View Magazine Archive

Attractions Management

2021 issue 1


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

Attractions Management

2020 issue 1


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

Attractions Management

2019 issue 4


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

Attractions Management

2019 issue 3


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 2021
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
Disney to open Avengers Campus at Disneyland California on 4 June
Disney has confirmed that it will open its long-awaited Avengers Campus at the Disneyland California resort in Anaheim on 4 June 2021.
World's top 100 museums and galleries suffer 77 per cent fall in visits during pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in visits to the world's top 100 museums and galleries falling by three quarters.
Chinese attractions industry entering 'growth phase'
The Chinese visitor attractions market is set to bounce back from the pandemic with significant growth over the coming years.
BRC founder Bob Rogers: '2021 will see a surge in our industry'
Bob Rogers, the founder of BRC Imagination Arts, has predicted that the visitor attraction industry will see a "surge in interest" during 2021, as the global tourism industry begins its slow journey to recovery.
REVEALED: IMG to operate 'glass elevator' chimney lift experience at Battersea in 2022
Global entertainments and events firm IMG has signed a contract to operate the Chimney Lift Experience at the Battersea Power Station.
Visits to leading UK attractions fell by 70 per cent in 2020
The UK's major visitor attractions recorded just 45.4 million visits during 2020 – a 70 per cent fall from the 151.3 million visits they received in 2019.
Warner Bros will tap into Japan's 'intense fandom' when Harry Potter tour opens in 2023
In August 2020, Warner Bros announced plans to open a Harry Potter Studio Tour in Japan – the second such attraction following the hugely popular studio experience in London, UK.
Christian Lachel appointed chief creative officer at BRC Imagination Arts
Global design and production agency BRC Imagination Arts has appointed Christian Lachel as chief creative officer, taking over the role from BRC founder Bob Rogers.
Work completed on iconic M+ museum designed by Herzog & de Meuron’s in Hong Kong
Construction work has been completed on the M+ museum building in Hong Kong, ahead of its grand opening later this year.
First images revealed of David Walliams' Gangsta Granny ride at Alton Towers
Merlin Entertainments has revealed images of the new Gangsta Granny: The Ride at its Alton Towers theme park in Staffordshire, UK.
International design challenge offers US$20k prize
A new international design challenge has been launched this month, inviting freelance designers in the themed entertainment to pitch their concepts for the next immersive, story-based experience.
'Oscars Museum' to host programme of virtual events ahead of September 2021 opening
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles has announced a busy programme of virtual events ahead of its grand opening later this year.
+ More news   
 
COMPANY PROFILES
Holovis

Holovis is a privately owned company established in 2004 by CEO Stuart Hetherington. [more...]
FORREC Ltd

We create guest experiences others don’t, masterplan like no one else can, and give the world’s bi [more...]
Painting With Light

By combining lighting, video, scenic and architectural elements, sound and special effects we tell s [more...]
DJW

David & Lynn Willrich started the Company over thirty years ago, from the Audio Visual Department [more...]
+ More profiles  
FEATURED SUPPLIER

Triotech and Benoit Cornet’s Bold Move to collaborate on breakthrough innovative media-based attractions
Triotech has announced a breakthrough alliance with Benoit Cornet and Bold Move to bring a new collaborative approach to the design of media-based attractions – with an emphasis on adding value for operators. [more...]
VIDEO GALLERY

Animalive - Introducing AnimaChat!
Introducing AnimaChat, one operator can live-stream into multiple venues. Find out more...
More videos:
+ More videos  

CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

05-07 May 2021

TEA SATE Europe 2020

PortAventura World, Tarragona, Spain
09 Jun 2021

IAAPA Expo Asia 2021

The Venetian Macao, Macao, China
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2021

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