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Digital Spokes committee

Chairperson
Maria Xanthoudaki
Director of Education and of the Centre of Research in Informal Learning
I am Director of Education & Centre for Research in Informal Education (CREI) at the National Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo da Vinci of Milano. I also teach “Research Methods in Education” at the Department of Education, Catholic University of Milan. I hold a BA in Pedagogy from the University of Crete (Greece), a Master’s degree in Arts Education and a Phd in Museum Education, both from the University of Sussex (UK). My main research interests focus on informal (science) learning methodologies and on professional development of educators in museums.
Michèle Antoine
Michèle ANTOINE
Director of Exhibitions
As the Director of exhibitions of Universcience I am overseeing exhibition programming, production, maintenance and touring. I’m in charge of the implementation our editorial line and design; of involving audiences in exhibition development; and of cultural engineering at Universcience. I started my exhibition developer’s career with the Metamorphose agency in Quebec and then spent more than 15 years at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels, where among many other projects I steered the architectural and museological renovation of the Janlet Wing whose new Dino Gallery and Evolution Gallery boosted the fame of the Museum. I joined the international team of the future House of European History (Brussels) in 2012 before coming back to science engagement and the Ecsite community in 2016.
Andrea Bandelli
Andrea Bandelli
Head of International Relations
Vrije Ujiversiteit Amsterdam
Having championed the use of internet as a collaborative educational platform in schools and museums in Italy in the early 1990s, I worked on the development of both the science center NEMO in Amsterdam and the Miami Museum of Science, and collaborated for several years with the Exploratorium in San Francisco. I have led, managed and evaluated several international projects linked with science, art, democracy and public participation — many in collaboration with Ecsite and science museums, government organisations and universities across Europe, USA, South Africa and Brazil. I have a MA in Economics, a master in Science Communication and a PhD in Social Sciences, with a specialisation in scientific citizenship, and I have published 2 books and several academic and popular articles on public engagement with science and technology. From 2016 to 2022 I was the executive director of Science Gallery International, and I currently am Head of International Relations at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. I am also a member of the expert network for the World Economic Forum and a Cultural Leader in Davos in 2017 and 2018 and in Dalian in 2017 and 2019. I am also a member of the board of the Deutsches Museum in Munich and of the Scientific Advisory Board at Universcience in Paris and at the University of Copenhagen.
Raquel da Cunha, Ecsite
Raquel da Cunha
Communications and Events Manager (on leave)
My first Ecsite Conference was in Trento, Italy, and I will never forget this first encounter with science engagement family - bright, warm, familiar and so much fun! I'm Ecsite's Communications and Events Manager since January 2020 but I have been in Ecsite’s communications team since March 2015. Before Ecsite, I was a doctoral researcher in Neurobiology and I founded and organised Patients Meet Scientists, a platform to bring researchers and patients together.
Alex Fairhead
Group Head of Exhibition Services
Frank Kupper
Frank Kupper
Associate Professor Science Communication & Public Engagement
I am an interdisciplinary researcher, facilitator and performer. Once trained as a biologist, philosopher and theatre maker, I am now an Associate Professor in Science Communication and Public Engagement at VU Amsterdam. Blending an STS and Arts & Design perspective, my work centers on the conceptual and methodological innovation of public engagement processes to shape meaningful conversations at various science-society interfaces. Specifically, I focus on: 1) sensemaking and reflection processes; 2) the role of intermediaries; and 3) the use of playful and creative methods to nurture reflection and dialogue across the boundaries of science and society. I have worked together with a variety of European science museums and science centres in national and international projects, mostly aimed at supporting these organisations to develop capacity for participatory / deliberative forms of public engagement. Examples of these projects are VOICES, SYNENERGENE, RRI TOOLS, NANO2ALL and RETHINK. Ultimately, my aim is to contribute to creative democracy as a way to shape the conversation about science in society.
Matteo Merzagora
Director of science mediation and education
I develop programmes to empower people in their relationship with knowledge. In November 2022 i joined Universcience as Director of science médiation and education. Previously, I was director of the association TRACES and of the Espace des Sciences Pierre Gilles-de Gennes, the innovative science-culture centre of ESPCI Paris and PSL Research University. I teach science communication in France and Italy, with the desire to share an unruly approach to public engagement. I wrote several books on science communciations, among which, with Paola Rodari, a manual of science museology (‘La scienza in Mostra. Musei, science centre e comunicazione’, Mondadori).
Marta Alicja Trzeciak
Marta Alicja Trzeciak
Head of Science Communication
By education I am journalist and veterinarian, which is why from the beginning of my career I have been working as a science consultant, science journalist and communicator dealing with life sciences, physiology, zoology, health sciences, etc. Since 2020, I have been working in Science Events and Programmes Department at the Experyment Science Centre in Gdynia, Poland, where I deal with science communication and popularization, especially in the field of life sciences. In Experyment, I value my colleagues (their enthusiasm, knowledge, creativity), as well as a modern, visionary approach to the relationship between science and society. I am working on my PhD thesis, concerning the transfer of knowledge from science community to society. I have two daughters. I like coffee and cycling.
Responsible editor
Catherine Franche
Executive Director
I am the Executive Director of Ecsite. Under my leadership, the Ecsite Conference has grown to become the largest science engagement event in Europe and Ecsite has firmly established itself as a trend setting platform and as a key stakeholder on the European stage. Before I joined Ecsite in 2006, I was working for the Office de Coopération et d’Information Muséographiques (OCIM, France) as a Training coordinator. From 1992 to 1994, I was Professional development coordinator and then Executive director of the Société des Musées Québécois. I have also worked in architecture and art museums in Canada and managed cultural events such as jazz festivals. I hold an MBA in cultural management from HEC Montréal (Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales).