• Parallel Session C-5
  • Round Table

Do I Belong? Identity and Diversity Issues in Science Centres

Thursday 16 Nov 2017
7F Innovation Hall

Session Concept:
Participants to learn about serving new audiences, especially those from indigenous or otherwise underserved backgrounds. Many museums have found that, to connect with a new audience, it is first necessary to understand how the audience views itself, or “self-identifies.” To do this involves asking the right questions and listening carefully to the answers – and then involving the audience in co-creating experiences of interest to them and making a long-term commitment to the relationship. A series of 5-minute case histories will describe efforts from six continents to reach diverse audiences. These case histories will set the stage for discussions in small groups about how best to serve new audiences, followed by a plenary session to summarise lessons for the field.


Charlie Trautmann
Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society


Charlie Trautmann
Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society
The Sciencenter was not serving low-income children of preschool age but discovered there was significant interest. Staff met with preschool teachers, heard their needs, began to offer free programmes, and got a small contract for regular programming. The museum now offers regular programmes and professional development for preschool teachers.
Kenneth Monjero
Director, Science Centre Kenya, Nairobi
Initial programmes to test the idea of the first science centre in Kenya showed great interest among student visitors. However, many problems arose in expanding the organisation and its programme, such as creating exhibits, staffing, safety concerns, and public perceptions and misconceptions. This presentation addresses key issues in starting a major science education initiative in a developing country.
Diego Vaz Bevilaqua
Head Officer, Museum of Life
Most people from the north of Rio de Janeiro are under-represented in museums. Museu da Vida has shifted its public audience, based on 12 years of audience surveys. Activities and programmes incorporate the voices from neighborhood communities into museum discourse and relate them to the museum, representing their territory and communities.
Ganigar Chen
Director of Public Awareness of Science, National Science Museum
Our goal was to develop and offer hands-on science learning programme for blind students. Initially, we held workshops with teachers to co-create the learning experiences. This lead to an innovative approach in serving our new audience and also revealed ways for teachers to improve their classroom science teaching.
Andrew Hannah
Director of Science Programs, Scitech
Scitech, based in Perth, has the mission to cover all of Western Australia. Ten years ago, Scitech launched its Aboriginal Education Program that travelled across 2,600,000 km2 to engage children in hands-on science. The outcomes were more than we expected. Here's the story...
Carol Valenta
Former Chief Scientific Officer, Saint Louis Science Center
United States
Active listening with an intended audience during planning is essential to impact. Creating STEM programmes for inner-city youth required completely rethinking recruitment, programme development and new opportunities for community partnerships.