[Newsletter - October 2022] Marvelous Annual Conference in Bursa, Türkiye!

Marvelous Annual Conference!

For over 3 days last week, our ASPAC family concocted a very unique and special brew of wonder, warmth with wisps of wisdom. It genuinely felt like a long-awaited family reunion with newfound extended family members.

"Wonder" because there were over 50 parallel sessions that were delivered hybrid style by over 100 members across 14 countries and territories. It was of a human scale that gave us a sense of intimacy yet an expanse for our minds that we can digest. We also warmed up to the presence of colleagues online even as we soaked in the physical presence of the ones who attended the conference in Bursa.

ASPAC members also shared wondrous extraordinary resilience through their creativity in the projects and programs they crafted and rolled out during the toughest times of the pandemic! And our keynotes spanned fascinating "innerspace" and "outerspace"! The first keynote was by neuroscientist Dr. Pireeni Sudaralingam on how science centers and museums could work WITH the human brain instead of against it, moving us all to rethink long-held strategies as to how we engage our communities in science. The second was a "keyblast" to "outerspace" by "Space General" Halit Mirahmetoglu of the Guhem Gökmen Aerospace Training Center in Bursa which all had us remembering that indeed, we are all citizens of our one and only planet.

We experienced "warmth" as ASPAC family members, who have not physically seen each other in almost 3 years but who have strengthened their bonds virtually, could not stop asking each other "how are you?" and ACTIVELY listening to each other's response. "Warmth" because our host, the Bursa Science and Technology Center which belongs to the even larger family of the Bursa Metropolitan Municipality, were all so kind, generous and accommodating of the diversity that ASPAC represented. The BURSA Science and Technology Center team, especially its science communicators and Omer Yildiz, their lead coordinator for ASPAC, were excellent "bridges" of cultures and our varied professional experiences. Turkiye is the farthest west the ASPAC conference has reached in its history and we can definitely say that it reaffirmed the spirit of diversity and inclusion that science centers and museums have been championing to strengthen even more. ASPAC members will always be deeply grateful to the Bursa team!

And lastly and most importantly, we encountered "wisps of wisdom" from our ASPAC family members. Many sessions had deep conversations about failures and the frustrating challenges we all face. These stories have always been less common in conferences but they are the ripest in terms of what they can teach us about how to be better.

Bursa also identified local teachers, artists and science journalists to attend the conference which was a most amazing feature of the conference as it expanded our insights hearing presentations as well as questions from them. All of us, including the officials of our host ,were actively present and engaged in conversations with us exploring future collaborations, which we are now all excited about. We really sensed an urgency for science centers and museums to step up in their roles in culture and positive change.

A resounding thank you to the ASPAC Executive Committee led by our President, Prof. TM LIM (Singapore Science Center) who demonstrated a sweeping talent in having us all focus on what unites us in our ASPAC family. A big thank you to the following EXCO members: Jim Thompson (Queensland Museum in Brisbane, Australia), Yuko Okayama (Miraikan in Tokyo, Japan), Paulina Chan (Hongkong Science Museum), Song Choon Lee (Singapore Science Center), Bobby Cerini (Questacon in Canberra, Australia), Ganigar Chen (National Science Museum, Thailand) and Zhao Yang (China Science and Technology Museum in Beijing, China) for doing all the work necessary to finalize the sessions, the screening for the ASPAC Creative Awards and the selection of the ASPAC 2022 Fellows. And THANK YOU to all the ASPAC attendees in-person and online! You all made our special ASPAC family brew worth the best memories which will last for a very long time!

Çok tesekkürler to the Bursa Science and Technology Center team and the Bursa Metropolitan Municipality for being excellent hosts!

 

Wondrous Bursa, the host city of ASPAC 2022!

Bursa, which has succeeded in combining its historical and natural beauties with industry and technology, is a city that plays a pioneering role in the development of Turkiye. This city, which hosted different civilizations, was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire, and today produces in all areas of life, from automotive to machinery and metal production, from agriculture-based industry to furniture, has the ability to add value to what it produces. Bursa is one of the cities where traditional values are integrated with history and nature, and its cultural life constantly preserves its vitality. Behind the success of Bursa, which has transformed its local values into the universal, lies its felt duty to be a cultural ambassador by blending the backgrounds of different civilizations. On the other hand, Bursa Science and Technology Center, which was established to increase the interest of our society in science and to contribute to new generations in this field, has become one of the most prestigious centers in Turkiye. Bursa has always been a hospitable city throughout its history. Bursa, which hosts many different national and international organizations such as the the League of Historical Cities and the Healthy Cities Network, has hosted many events throughout 2022 with the title of Cultural Capital of the Turkic World.


Bursa Science and Technology Center, aside from its many different activities including daily activities and workshops, also hosts one of the biggest science events in the country (photos above): Science Expo, first astronomy festival: AstroFest, STEM workshops, design-ability workshops, science workshops during pandemia: Science without borders/ Science at Home. Bursa Science and Technology Center is Turkiye's most comprehensive science center. The center inaugurated on 21st of October 2012 where presents scientific principles in an easy, understandable and entertaining way. The center nurtures creativity and gets young people's attention to science and technology. All age groups are welcomed in the center to explore and interact with the facilities. On 25th of January 2014, Bursa Science and Technology Center moved into its new building. Since then it runs its activities at this complex with more than 150 hands on exhibitions, workshops. It is such an honour for Bursa Science and Technology Center and the Bursa Metropolitan Municipality to have hosted ASPAC 2022!

 

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.

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. 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!

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