Science engagement can be a tool for social inclusion. Worldwide, it is being recognised that science centre activities with carefully chosen formats and contexts not only foster learning and education, but can serve to counteract isolation, fear and educational inequalities. With examples from three continents, this session will explore strategies how science engagement institutions reach out to socially and educationally vulnerable people. Easily accessible spaces and programmes are attractive for educationally deprived groups, whether due to low socioeconomic or migrant background. In Europe, recent refugee and migrant movements require efforts towards including the newer members of communities. In Mexico and Kenya, science centre programmes have been established to prevent young people becoming migrants by providing attractive learning opportunities inside their own country, fostering interest in higher education and entrepreneurship.
The role of science centres should be changing from being merely educational towards becoming sociopolitical actors, advocating equity and social justice.