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Eyes on the Horizon - Updates from the Ecsite President June 2024

I am delighted to share the resounding success of the Ecsite 2024 Conference, held from 5 to 8 June in the vibrant city of Ljubljana, Slovenia. This year's Conference, brought together 940 participants from more than 50 countries, creating a melting pot of ideas, innovation, and inspiration.

In partnership with our gracious host, the Kersnikova Institute, we organised an event that provided a platform for 85 parallel sessions and featured 51 exhibitors, alongside various plenary sessions and social events. From the pre-conference workshops covering a range of topics such as sustainability and space exploration to the engaging keynote speeches, the conference was a hub of dynamic discourse and learning.

We were honored to welcome three exceptional keynote speakers: Professor Jill Walker Rettberg, Ana Rajcevic, and Professor Hugh Herr, whose insights spanned digital culture, art and technology, and biomechatronics. Hugh and Ana’s contributions significantly enriched our understanding of the intersections between art and science and Jill focussed our perspectives on AI, a new thread throughout our Conference.

The Conference was further highlighted by the participation of Slovenia’s Prime Minister Doctor Robert Golob, State Secretary, Ministry of Higher Education, Science & Innovation, Jure Gašparič, Minister of Culture Dr. Asta Vrečko and Deputy Mayor of Ljubljana Boštjan Koritnik, who all delivered inspiring speeches. Our programme included a unique blend of sessions, from the “Inferno” robotic performance to the engaging “A soirée at Mr Babbage’s – a mini larp” session, and dedicated meet-ups covering diverse topics such as neurodiversity and AI.

Networking events, including the Speakers reception, New members onboarding, Gala dinner, Trade Show Happy Hour, and the Nocturne, provided ample opportunities for participants to connect and exchange ideas. The closing ceremony was a fitting finale, marked by a heartfelt handover to our future host, Copernicus Science Centre.

I extend my deepest gratitude to our hosts Kersnikova Institute, to the programming committee, as well as to all participants, speakers, and exhibitors for making Ecsite 2024 an unforgettable experience. I look forward to seeing you all at Ecsite 2025, where we will continue to push the boundaries of science engagement.

Warm regards,

Bruno Maquart