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How do you get visitors to talk to each other, and to others?

“Talking in museums is one of the things that makes them matter, and the way in which we talk in museums is one of the things that define for us what they are.” – Adam Gopnik

Campfires, providing light and warmth, have always been sources of inspiration for new ideas and creative conversations. During this session we will try to re-create the atmosphere of a true campfire. Prepare your questions and get ready to get inspired! How do you encourage conversations between visitors of your science centre or museum and also involve other stakeholders and interest groups? What formats are the best to spark discussions? What facilitation methods can you use? What topics are good for stimulating thoughtful conversations? And, most importantly, who is listening?


Antonina Khodzhaeva Ecsite Project Manager
Lecturer in science communication
Utrecht University

Session speakers

Program Manager, Forum
United States
Activities and Conversations about Socio-Scientific Issues: What questions make for good discussion and deliberation among diverse groups of everyday citizens? What formats and techniques can we learn from when convening substantive conversations among public, scientists, and stakeholders, and how do they build upon the historic roles that informal science education institutions have served in their communities? The presenter will be prepared to bring forth lessons learned and resources from case studies on a wide variety of topics, and to facilitate conversations on opportunities, challenges, and next steps for science centers.
Teacher, researcher, designer
VU University in Amsterdam
These days science centres and museums are no longer places just to observe science, but they are increasingly becoming places of action, where citizens can meet and discuss important socio-scientific issues. How can science centres and museums facilitate the public dialogue about important social and scientific developments? With whom should they partner up to facilitate the discussions between? Marjoleine will address these and other related questions in her presentation.
Coordinator of External Funding
Helin Haga currently works at Science Centre AHHAA in Tartu, Estonia. Due to having had one-on-one experiences with thousands of people during the public events organized by the science centre, particularly during AHHAA’s annual science festival, the Researchers’ Night Festival or the Tartu Mini Maker Faire, she has noticed certain patterns and common communication issues visitors have when they come in contact with science. Helin will share her experience and stories on how she has encouraged reserved people to talk and communicate with each other and the science centre staff.