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Debrief - Ecsite Directors Forum November 2022

Group photo of participants

On 17 and 18 November, 79 of Europe’s senior science engagement professionals met in Amsterdam for Ecsite’s annual Directors Forum. In total, 68 institutions were represented from 21 countries - from as far north as Umeå, Sweden, as far south as Kalkara, Malta, as far east as Tartu, Estonia and as far west as Reykjavik, Iceland.

Ecsite member NEMO Science Museum organised and hosted the Forum, which offered fresh perspectives on the challenges facing science engagement in the current day and into the future.

The theme of this year’s meeting of minds was ‘trends affecting the role of science engagement’ - what are the current societal trends, and how is science engagement responding to them? Is our field addressing them? If not, why not? Can we afford not to? These pressing issues were explored through two days of seminars, workshops, discussions, peer learning, site visits and speeches.

The attendees - including science museum Directors, CEOs and Heads of Departments - enjoyed a programme of events that featured zeitgeist researcher Farid Tabarki, Hermitage Amsterdam Director Annabelle Birnie, futures literacy expert Loes Damhof and NEMO Science Museum Deputy Director Marjolein van Breemen. As well as thought-provoking speeches and discussions, the programme showcased exhibitions in Amsterdam’s world-class NEMO Science Museum, Rijksmuseum Boerhaave, Naturalis and Hermitage Amsterdam.

Facilitated by Marjolein and her team, attendees also collaborated on the pledge for Ecsite’s Climate Emergency Roadmap – more information about this vital plan will be made available in the months ahead.

Mikko Myllykoski, CEO of the host of next year’s inaugural International Directors Forum (Heureka, Vantaa), facilitated a workshop in which participants brainstormed the shape and content of the 2023 programme.

And of course, attendees also had the chance to take in some of Amsterdam’s local sights and flavours - they enjoyed a guided tour of Amsterdam’s canal network by night and sampled an array of Dutch delicacies.

A huge thanks to everyone who organised and took part in this year’s Directors Forum – here’s to next year’s global edition in Finland!