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Knowledge from all: the place of Indigenous knowledge in science museums

15.06.2023 | 16:30 - 17:45

Thursday 15 Jun 2023

Michel'Angelo Grima Hall

Michel'Angelo Grima Hall
Equity & Inclusion

Science centres often only present Eurocentric scientific content. This disregards the legacy of scientific knowledge from cultures worldwide that have contributed to our understanding of the universe for millennia. Indigenous ways of knowing, evolving, and communicating that knowledge to future generations deserve equitable visibility in museums. Opening Western science organisations to a plurality of voices is an issue of equity and social justice and the intelligent way forward to engender systematic transformation. How can museums best collaborate with Indigenous experts to contextualize place-based knowledge in informal learning experiences? How do we authentically feature culturally sustaining content and programming? Learn from experts to incorporate ancestral science and Indigenous knowledge to your current exhibits, programmes, and content. Their experiences in decolonisation work and its ripple effect will show you why this is important for every Ecsite member.

This session is part of the Inclusion and Equity conference track.

Outcomes: what will participants get from this session? Skills, knowledge, experience etc.

Participants will gain insights into Indigenous and place-based scientific knowledge and practice, and ways of showcasing and promoting this knowledge through authentic collaboration with Indigenous knowledge holders.


Amparo Leyman Pino
San Francisco
United States
Curator Text and Language
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz

Session speakers

Dr. Elizabeth Rasekoala
African Gong- the Pan-African Network for the Popularisation of Science & Technology, and Science Communication
South Africa
Liz will bring inspiring perspectives and progressive practices from the forth-coming book “Race & Socio-cultural Inclusion in Science Communication". This book features in-depth analysis of the critical role and transformational impact of Indigenous knowledge inclusion in science communication from practitioners in both Global South and North regions as a direct exemplar of collaborative, multi-representational and culturally diverse localised knowledge engagements.
Since the phrase “the medium is the message” was coined, we know that the place and role of the tools in the communication process are as significant as the content. Mohamed, using case studies, will discuss with the audience how the medium as a support can be either fruitful or damaging to the efforts to convey the voices of Indigenous experts.
President, Indigenous Education Institute
Indigenous Education Institute
Friday Harbor, WA
United States
Traditional Navajo knowledge teaches us that eclipses are a time of renewal and part of natural universal processes. It is important to understand the natural cycles of eclipses and the interrelationships of the Sun and Earth. It is also important to respect the cultural protocols of Indigenous people as we experience eclipses following our traditions. We describe our collaboration process with NASA and science museums, including opportunities and challenges, to share scientific and cultural protocols of solar eclipses with the broader public.
David Begay Photo
Vice President, Indigenous Education Institute
Indigenous Education Institute
Ganado, Arizona (Navajo Nation)
United States
David will be presenting together with Nancy.
Senior Scientist
San Francisco
United States
Indigenous Knowledge (IK) and Western Science (WS) are well-developed knowledge systems that stand on their own integrity. However, IK and WS also share common processes, tools, and practices to help us understand our place in the Universe. We will consider this shared space together, where collaborations can thrive in museums and other educational contexts. Several museum-based collaboration examples that highlight knowledge from all will be shared.

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