Updated: Apr 14
Network News: Member-powered newsletter, "heavenly" membership tiers etc.
Member-powered newsletter: Welcome to the first ASPAC newsletter powered by our own members. The Programs/projects and Communications Committee of ASPAC Exco led by Ms. Yuko Okayama of Miraikan (Japan) has come up with a way for the newsletter to serve as a way for us to get to know the people across the members of our ASPAC family. Thus, for this, we will have a guest contributor that the Committee assigns, to write about his/her institution; and that guest contributor introduces another personality in another member within our ASPAC family. In this issue, we have Kai Pobre of The Mind Museum in the Philippines, introducing Dr. Florence Francis of Science Center Singapore. Heavenly Tiers. We also want to let you know that we re-named our membership tiers and clarified the criteria for membership in ASPAC to include other organizations whose core purpose is science engagement. We now have "planets" (used to be "full members"), "exo-planets" (used to be "associate members") and "satellites" (for related industries in science and tech engagement, as well as corporate foundations). For more information, please click here. Annual Conference: The 2021 Annual ASPAC Conference in Hongkong will NOT be held in person due to uncertainties in travel amidst the pandemic. In its place will be a creative virtual space for the ASPAC family to have exchanges in exciting ways. We will be announcing the details as soon as they are finalized. 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. We have really reached a new level of engagement in our ASPAC family in spite of and maybe because of the pandemic. We would like to thank the very active members of the ASPAC Exco who lead this kind of meaningful engagement. Hope to see you all in our events, virtually and hopefully, soon, when it is already safe, in person, while enjoying noodles, sweets with coffee or tea.
Exchange: Kai Pobre introduces Dr. Florence Francis of the Science Centre Singapore
Kai Pobre: In my family travels, I make it a point to visit other museums and science centers as well. During my visits to Singapore, I made it a point to visit the Science Centre Singapore (SCS) and met with their exhibition team who gladly shared their new exhibitions with me. Last year, I had the opportunity to participate in the virtual ASPAC Masterclass for Emerging Leaders (AMEL). We were subdivided into groups and I belonged to Group 5 composed of participants from the Philippines, China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Singapore.
After the AMEL Program, our group continued to communicate and initiated a project called Share-2-Learn (S2L) where there will be a regular sharing of experiences among the ASPAC member institutions on different aspects of science museum operations and programming so we can learn from each other. What was left of our group was a core of four members – myself, Yuko from Miraikan, Jihye from NSM South Korea and Florence from Singapore. In my encounters with Florence online, she has openly contributed her ideas and has been supportive and helpful of our group tasks. She willingly took on assignments with a winning smile and performed them very well. So I chose her to be on spotlight in this issue. I asked her about how she feels about working in her organization and with her peers across the ASPAC network.
Dr. Florence Francis: I love working at the Science Centre Singapore as I constantly find myself in a state of creation, learning or working on ways to make science enjoyable. This is a joyful process that has long term benefits for many people that we reach out to. Even in unpredictable times, such as the COVID situation, the teams at Science Centre continue to push boundaries on what we can do and continue to innovate readily. This is what I love about the Centre, the people and my work here.
Being part of the ASPAC family is a wonderful privilege for me as we are connected to each other sharing similar values and beliefs in the promotion of science to make the world a better place step by step through the appreciation and excitement of science. In our conversations and sharing we clearly see synergies in what we do and immediately connect to each other’s thoughts like family members coming together. This easily lightens our heart and creates new feelings of excitement that leads us to willingly try out new ideas together. Hence, my continued interest in contributing to the ASPAC programme, currently through the Share2Learn sessions. I look forward to meeting new ASPAC members to continue to grow this creative sentiment of collaboration through co-creation.
Working with Kai and our other colleagues is enlightening as new perspectives are often shared through their very creative approaches to science communication and openness to try new ideas and connect with other members. It has been such a pleasant and motivating experience working together and I continue to look forward to our growing relationship.
What's up at The Mind Museum?
by Kai Pobre (guest contributor)
What have we become in the pandemic? It has been more than a year since the lockdown in the Philippines and sadly, The Mind Museum and BGC Arts Center (both facilities are "animated" by our Bonifacio Art Foundation team) have not yet reopened to the public. At the outset, our team knew this pandemic would last longer and that we, as a private non-profit organization and without government funding, should act fast.
Just after the museum and the arts center closed, we started to produce a new playbook, bearing in mind our mission of bringing science and art closer to the public. With this, Mind S-Cool was born.
Mind S-Cool (MSC) is a marketplace of science and art ideas, a digital parallel universe of what The Mind Museum and BGC Arts Center stand for. It is a cool school for everyone, everywhere! It has two avenues – Mind S-Cool TV (MSCTV) shown weekly on a local cable Mind S-Cool YouTube channels; and Mind S-Cool Online (MSCO) - a subscription-based e-learning platform that covers the Philippine Department of Education’s most essential learning competencies for the K-12 curriculum. Season 2 of MSCTV was just launched on June 5! To complement online learning, we also came out with educational products that families can enjoy at the comforts of their own homes. This include two science kits called “The Sky Above” and “The Earth Below”, and an augmented reality book called “What is Nature? Everything Is!”
I have always been an advocate of both the sciences and the arts. To me, each one enriches the other. In college, I graduated from an art management course while spearheading a national youth organization of science clubs. Then I pursued graduate studies in archaeology and even interior design. Indeed, am passionate about life-long learning! I have always wanted to work for a non-profit foundation that promotes both the arts and sciences, has a museum and works with young people.
It was a delight to know that such an organization in the Philippines existed that pursued all the fields that I am interested in – a science museum, public art, and an arts center. The biggest bonus is that Bonifacio Art Foundation, Inc. (BAFI) is private and non-profit. Why are these important to me? I believe in having a purpose, one that is not tainted by political and personal agenda. Working for BAFI for 12 years now has shown me the importance of working together and supporting each other in our roles in the organization to achieve our mission and make an impact to society. I am a mom of three children and I want to impart to them the importance of living with a purpose and contributing to a world that is kinder, progressive, and hopeful.***
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