For a Human-Centered AI

Learning How to Run a Science Center

September 21, 2017

The City of Science of Naples hosted the third edition of the EMME Summer School for Science Communication, a week of talks and workshops on the topic of managing multi-use centers devoted to scientific dissemination.

Museums, scientific exhibits, planetariums, science centers: worldwide, the presence of these structures is constantly growing (albeit with significant differences between Countries), with a considerable increase in the number of visitors.

But “how do you make” a science center? And what does it mean to manage such, often very complex, structures? All this was discussed, September 10 through 15, at the EMME Summer School for Science Communication, organized in one of the most important Italian science centers, the Città della Scienza , or City of Science, in Naples.

The school, which came this year to its third edition, was a great opportunity for meeting and exchanging ideas for science communicators, managers and staff of museums and scientific centers for facilities based in the Euro-Mediterranean area and the Middle East in particular.

The twenty-six participants, coming from ten countries (Italy, Portugal, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia), were involved in numerous workshops where they had the chance to experience first-hand many operational and management situations closely related to the organization of a science center such as planning, fund management, human resources management, communication strategies, and activities for young visitors.

Many high-profile speakers, coming from some of the world’s leading science centers such as Michele Lanzinger, director of Muse, Maissa Azab (Bibliotheca Alexandrina), Rosalia Vargas (Ciencia Viva, Lisbon), Mikko Myllykoski (Heureka , Finland) and Kua Patten, former exhibit director at the of the Exploratorium of San Francisco and current consultant of Città della Scienza.

The six-day event also included guided tours of the main attractions of the City of Science, such as the Corporea exhibit  and the Planetarium, as well as social activities related to Neapolitan culture and gastronomy, greatly appreciated by participants from the Middle East.

The results are very positive: participants who already work in a science center can now return to their organizations of origin with a wealth of knowledge and richer relationships, while those who plan to work in this field in the future, or are merely interested in the subject, will now have a better understanding of what running these structures means.