In Alexandria, AMQF participates in the North Africa and Middle East Science Centres Network Conference
6 November 2018
The A. M. Qattan Foundation (AMQF) participated in the 6th Conference of the North Africa and Middle East Science Centres Network (NAMES 2018), organised in Alexandria city, Egypt, between 24 and 26 October 2018. The AMQF made two presentations. In the field of science, the first presentation addressed the development of science exhibits, the relation between science exhibits and design thinking, and ways to engage the audience in producing ideas of exhibits from the outset. Titled Young Children are Capable and Competent, the second presentation had its focus on childhood and science. In addition to moderating one of the conference sessions, the AMQF also took part in an interactive workshop, A Wider Angle: Connecting Art and Science.
These contributions were presented by a team of AMQF researchers and exhibit developers, including Dr. Nader Wahbeh, Malik Al-Remawi, Vivian Tannous, Saja Amro, Majid Zedan, and Samar Kirresh.
The AMQF Science Studio’s experience was presented as a model for transferring expertise and broadening horizons. In a presentation on Transferring Expertise to Broaden Horizons, Silva Raker, Director of Business Development, Exploratorium, USA, cited the Science Studio as a case study of sharing experience and broadening understanding between cultures.
Samar Kirresh, Senior Researcher at the Science Studio / AMQF Educational Research and Development Programme, explained that the AMQF participation included two sessions and a workshop. The first session, Young Children are Capable and Competent, brought together Malik Al-Remawi, Manager of the Languages and Humanities Track, and Vivian Tannous, Researcher at the Early Childhood Professional Development Programme. The second conference session on Visitors’ Experience: Exhibits Development, was moderated by Dr. Nader Wahbeh, Science Studio Manager and Senior Researcher. Majid Zedan and Saja Amro, Science Exhibit Developers at the Science Studio, also participated in this session. The interactive workshop, A Wider Angle: Connecting Art and Science, was moderated by Samar Kirresh, Senior Researcher at the Science Studio.
In the first conference session, Young Children are Capable and Competent, Al-Rimawi and Tannous shared the best practices in programming and exhibits for early childhood, teaching how children are capable and competent to acquire scientific knowledge. Remarkable institutions shared their experiences working with young audiences and gave their advice based on the best exhibits and programming they have designed, and their pedagogical approach to engage this young audience.
Titled Visitors’ Experience: Exhibits Development, the second conference session was moderated by Wahbeh. As speakers in this session, Zedan and Amro pointed out that the Science Studio “is one of the projects implemented by the Educational Research and Development Program (ERDP) at the A. M. Qattan Foundation, in partnership with the Ramallah Municipality. One of its main programs is the Exhibit Development Program where a team of exhibit developers experiments continuously with designing and building exhibits.” The session also highlighted the importance of Team Approach (TA) in exhibit making, which engages cross-departmental staff and community members. The TA approach focuses on how to build interactive “Hands-on and Hearts-on” exhibits, which, according to research, attract and hold visitors’ attention for longer periods of time.
Moderated by Kirresh, Wider Angle: Connecting Art and Science was the third conference session, in which the AMQF participated. Kirresh stated that the “design of science-art interactive experiences is a combination that explores the multiple contexts of science and aims at drawing attention to science as part of people’s daily life and to art as an open dialogue non-exclusive to artists and art communities.”
According to Kiresh, “at the Science Studio, we design such activities to provide our audiences with integrative experiences; they are part of our exhibitions, festivals, public events, and teacher empowerment programs. We are building a professional experience on designing activities that can preserve the identity of both art and science in terms of content and procedure, and at the same time communicate science and draw attention to art.”