A melting pot of creativity and inspiration – impressions from the annual Eusea conference

The annual Eusea (European Science Engagement Association) conference brings together science communicators from all over Europe and beyond. This year, VA contributed two sessions to the conference held from 29-30 May in Belgium. Lena Söderström from VA shares her experiences.

Aleksandra Drecun, Manuela Ringbauer, Lena Söderström and Sofie Vathournout at the Eusea conference 2017 in Leuven. Photo: Eusea/Reimar Ott.

The old university city of Leuven, just 15 minutes by train from Brussels airport, is the perfect place for a conference on science and research communication. The academic tradition is present everywhere, from the traditional university buildings to the vivid student life. Host organisation was the University of Leuven.

This year 75 science communicators from organisations across Europe met to share their experiences and gain new ideas. The two day programme was packed with speeches, group discussions, workshops and informal talks, and selecting what to attend was extremely difficult. I participated in the conference along with our Secretary General, Cissi Askwall, who is currently Vice President of Eusea.

The first keynote speech was given by Ana Arana Antelo, representing the European Commission as Head of the Unit “Science with and for Society”, who talked about science-society activity beyond Horizon2020 and the importance of knowledge-sharing and responsible research and innovation. On the second day, Ivvet Modinou, Head of Engagement at the British Science Association, shared insights into the British Science Festival and the work they have been doing to better understand their audiences.

Many of the sessions consisted of four eight-minute presentations followed by group discussions, where we had the opportunity to get a brief insight into a whole range of interesting projects. Sofie Vathournout, Director of Sense about Science EU spoke about providing easily accessible information in the in Ask for Evidence-campaign. Manuela Ringbauer spoke about their experiences in creating science experiments for parents and children together in the Vienna Open Lab. Nevine Baz spoke about her work on the science festival KidsXhibition in Cairo, Egypt.

VA’s contributions were on the Swedish Mass Experiment of 2016, the Noticeboard Experiment, as well as the partnerships we have established to develop educational materials to support European Researchers’ Night, ForskarFredag activities in Sweden.

Eusea is an amazing arena for inspiration, we return home with new energy and lots of ideas. We’re looking forward to Eusea 2018 in Madrid!

/Lena Söderström

Eusea (European Science Engagement Association – Previous name: European Science Events Association): http://www.eusea.info/ 

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