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Digital Spokes committee

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.
Helen Wilks
Communications Manager
I joined Ecsite in January 2020 and I am now the Communications Manager for Ecsite. Before joining Ecsite, I worked in an International School in the Admissions department, helping and supporting new families with their move to Belgium and providing a point of contact for them. Before moving to Belgium, I worked in Animal Rescue, Retail Management and Communications. Prior to this I obtained my BA Honours degree in Modern European Languages (French, Italian and Spanish) at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and I now also speak Dutch. At Ecsite, I am the Editor of the Spokes quarterly magazine and monthly newsletter, and in charge of creating the Annual Reports.
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
Executive director
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. I am the executive director of Science Gallery International, 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 the University of Copenhagen.
Emily Cronin
Partnerships Manager, Cultural & Commercial Partnerships
I am the Partnerships Manager for the Cultural & Commercial Partnerships team at the Science Museum Group in the United Kingdom. I specialise in museum exhibitions, particularly in promoting science engagement. With a passion for museums and science engagement, I was very excited to join the Editorial Committee of Spokes in January 2019. Prior to joining the Science Museum, I have worked for consultancies, museums and science centres. I hold a Master’s degree in Museum & Artefact Studies and a BSc in Anthropology.
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.
Marie Hobson
Learning and Audience Research Manager
The Natural History Museum
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
I develop programmes to empower people in their relationship with knowledge. I am 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).
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).