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Think big, be small

There is a growing interest for low-cost open scientific and technological third places. MakerSpaces, pop-up spaces and small science centres across the world have the ambition to become aggregation places where citizens spend their free time and build communities, as public libraries used to be. These spaces possess a number of interesting features compared to their bigger counterparts, such as reduced budgets, commercial-public business models, decentralised locations, regular visitors and the potential for a different kind of interaction with their local community.

Is this the way to provide small scale but equitable, flexible and deep learning? Or do open informal science spaces support anti-intellectualism, celebrate autodidactism and personal initiative against a real democratisation of science?

More about this session: the format combines a reverse discussion, role play and a debate. Each speaker will walk through the experience of a visitor entering the conference's MakerSpace for the first time. Participants will be challenged to act as critics and supporters of open participatory science spaces, trying to reflect on their limits and opportunities.



Session speakers

Consultant and trainer
Traces will discuss approaches linking science education with social links, through the case of E-Fabrik’. Born as a way to innovate digital education through interactions between young people and people with disabilities, E-Fabrik' turned into a way to use education to structure community link, and finally into an innovative training scheme involving a community venue in the outskirts of Paris, merging maker culture, digital education and social work on disabilities, thanks to the support of the « Grand Ecole du Numerique ».
Creative Producer
Imperial College London / Green Man Festival
United Kingdom
Pop Up Science is a practical guide to transforming empty shops into creative spaces for science engagement www.imperial.ac.uk/nhli/pop-up-science This resource was written following the development of two pop up science shop projects by The Curious Act - a creative engagement programme with the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London. The Heart and Lung Repair Shop and The Heart and Lung Convenience Store were pilot projects funded by Wellcome that embedded science engagement into a community setting. The Pop Up Science guide disseminates learning from these projects and includes seven other case studies of pop up science shops from the UK, Europe and the US as well as considering the value, challenges, varying approaches and future potential of pop up shops for science engagement.
Consultant and trainer
In the pop-up knowledge°room anyone can explore scientific and technical questions in a participatory hands-on environment. In a relaxed atmosphere and without any prior knowledge, visitors themselves make links between science and their everyday life and explore STEM topics guided by professional explainers. The aim is to make science accessible for all and to promote social dialogue through hands-on science. We will discuss how diverse communities can be involved in a pop-up format, and what its potential and limits are in view of diversity, learning experiences and sustainability.
Member of the Board of Directors of Ciência Viva /University Professor Astronomy & Society
Open Science Hub (OSHub) is a small space, in rural communities, which foster collaborations between schools, civil society, enterprises, research institutes and community at large through Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) interventions. At the moment four OSHubs are established or being established in Portugal (July 2017), Ireland (May 2018), the Netherlands (June 2018) and Spain (October 2018). We will discuss the lessons learned in initiating a collaborative STEAM space in rural communities, co-creating activities with diverse stakeholders and developing citizen science projects to tackle local challenges.
Joseph Roche
Researcher and Lecturer in Science Education
Trinity College Dublin
Created by Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin, Makeshop is a collaborative space for everyone, styled like a retail experience, exploring and experimenting with design, science, art and technology through hands-on workshops. Makeshop is a place where you can learn to solder, make, code create, invent and fix. We cater to all experience and skill levels, welcoming makers aged 4 to 104. The pricing structures reflect the Makeshop mission to provide low-cost and free workshops to community groups and educators.