Surprise…It’s Science! Reaching New Audiences in Unconventional Ways with Festivals

Saturday, February 19, 2011: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
156 (Washington Convention Center )
Science festivals are large-scale, community-wide celebrations of science and technology spread across many days and diverse venues. They are proven to affect awareness of and interest in science and often serve as a defining moment in a year-round educational effort. Such festivals are now more visible than ever, with over 100 celebrations planned worldwide in 2011. Each festival is a unique platform for presenting science, and scientists, in a new light. Festival events break down traditional representations of science, transforming the way the public perceives and participates in science. The ability of festivals to draw large crowds to events where researchers themselves are the attraction demonstrates public receptiveness to the cultural shift that science festivals represent. Freedom from the constraints of a single facility allows science festivals to engage people where they naturally live, work, and play. This strength enables festivals to build relationships directly with underserved communities, inspiring youth to consider science career paths. This flexibility also allows festivals to present science in unusual venues and in unexpected ways, upending stereotypes and expectations. Join representatives from the Science Festival Alliance and European Science Events Association for an international discussion of how the recent surge in science festivals reflects the future of public science outreach by reshaping the role of science in culture.
Ben Wiehe, MIT Museum
Patrick Vittet-Philippe, European Commission
Jan Riise, European Science Events Association
Patrick Vittet-Philippe, European Commission
and Bruce M. Alberts, AAAS/Science
Loren Thompson, University of California
Celebrate for the Week, Energize for the Year
Savita Custead, Bristol Natural History Consortium
The Role of Science in Society
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