July 26, 2021 Network News: Is your center/museum open or not?. It would be very helpful if you could answer a very short ASPAC survey (will take you only 30 seconds) so that we could get the status of ASPAC members at this time during the pandemic. That will be very helpful in planning upcoming ASPAC events and activities. Please click here to answer survey!
DIVERSITY OF PROGRAMS IN SCIENCE CENTERS by KIRUTHIKA RAMANATHAN (guest contributor) I am working in Science Centre Singapore with the programmes department. One of my favorite things about working in Science Centre is the sheer diversity of projects and programmes we are involved in. On any given week I am collaborating with at least twenty different people for projects which have very quick deliverables in terms of Science communication content. I also enjoy working with my incredible team to create content for different kinds of stakeholders and experimenting with different mediums of engaging the audience in STEM, through online, physical, self directed, close facilitated etc. An example is working with a group of makers with whom the Science Centre Singapore regularly co-creates events and programmes (photo immediately below).
I am very inspired by the work of many of the Science Museums in ASPAC, including the National Taiwan Science Education Centre (NTSEC), which was the first ASPAC member museum that I visited as part of professional capacity as well as the work of Yi-hsuan Lin (front center in photo above) and her team, which I mostly know of through social media, but yet which synergizes a lot with the work that we do at Science Centre Singapore. Yi-Hsuan Lin is a curator at NTSEC. Her work involves exhibition creation, and she enjoys creating an exhibitions that gives visitors spaces to think and do things. Yi Hsuan and I have this in common, the appreciation of a Science museum being a space for visitors to do and think, as opposed to a space where they absorb information. Both of us work with the a community, finding opportunities to co-create with diverse people including scientists, artists, engineers, designers, educators, and always feel inspired and find some insights from them. Here are some samples of work that we have done in our domains that highlights this aspect of our work.
ASPAC countries, with many being within very short flying distances of each other, means that we can also leverage on each other to extend our works and save costs and logistics. One of the interesting fun facts I remember was when Singapore and Taiwan hosted the Science theatre group at Matheatre for the history musical Curie Me Away on the life of Mdm Marie Curie (photo below). The show played in Taipei almost immediately after playing in Singapore. We were intrigued by the work in Taipei where the show graphics were printed on the side of a beer bottle. To me, such diverse approaches make working at the Science Centre fun and it is great to know that we belong to a network where we find common ground in approaches like through humor amidst our diversity.
Science in, of course, Kdrama: The King's Case Note by Maribel Garcia Very few things are more satisfying to me than to have all the values I hold dear - curiosity, inquiry, great writing and compelling visuals - right before my eyes in one complete experience. And for those of us whose pandemic lives have been, in good measure, buoyed by streamed series, movies and documentaries, this is a good time to thank and to call attention to how others in the creative sector greatly reinforce the values that we in the science communication live, eat and breathe. Kdrama has been a personal "sanity keeper" of mine and as I have learned, also for many colleagues across ASPAC. It has reshaped what we traditionally perceived "drama" was. By its very evolution, it re-affirmed the essential role of culture, particularly of story-telling, in shaping people's attitudes and behavior. I think South Korea has done a most outstanding job in cultivating the treasure trove of possibilities in the writing and production of the human experience that is deeply rooted in culture. "The King's Case Note" is a Korean movie available on popular streaming platforms. It is about how a King and his chronicler, unravel a scheme that threatens his rule, with careful, logical inquiry, and experimentation. It is an example of how in one fell swoop (114 minutes), a movie can, with amazing creativity, deliver on the gains of the human values behind science. It is easy on the brain because it is delightful to hold. What could we learn from film making that we can adapt to how we develop our own programs? What is that movie in your mind?*** Post your events on FB: Any ASPAC member can post their events and offerings in the ASPAC FB page. That will be the best platform for all our simultaneous announcements. However, should there be an event that you need the ASPAC leadership to officially endorse and solicit participation in, please click here to email details to the current Executive Director. OH and IF YOU LOVE TO WRITE...: Whatever your role in your organization, if you love to write, please send me your article on whatever it is you think would be worthwhile to share with ASPAC. I cannot predict or limit what that will be as there are so many connections between our work and the rest of what others in the world are doing, This is especially ripe in these strangest of times. It is what prompted me to write on Kdrama and our science center drama. We are excited to see your insights! Please send me your piece and we will see how it fits in our ASPAC human story. We are excited to unearth the evolving pool of ASPAC writers! Thank you!