Attractions industry news

29 Sep 2016

Science centres must engage with more diverse audiences or risk becoming 'obsolete'

Linda Conlon, chief executive of Newcastle’s International Centre for Life, has said science centres need to engage with more diverse audiences, particularly refugee and migrant groups.

Echoing some of the sentiments of Elizabeth Rasekoala, who said during her keynote speech at this year’s Ecsite conference that 'Eurocentric' science centres were hindering education in STEM for black youths, Conlon said that science centres need to engage with refugees and migrants or risk becoming “obsolete”.

Speaking on the UK’s recent decision to leave the European Union, Conlon said that although economics was undoubtedly an important factor in the Brexit vote, the most disruptive element will not be the fast and free movement of goods, rather the movement of people.

“Migration of people in and out of countries has produced an emotional backlash against immigration, refugees and indeed the entire idea of globalisation. Starkly put, economic issues affect the head, identity issues hit the heart,” said Conlon, speaking at the Association of Science and Technology Centres (ASTC) annual conference in Tampa, Florida.

“Even before the Brexit vote, many of us were aware of the current refugee crisis in Europe which has provoked a palette of reactions in public opinion, ranging from unconditional solidarity to pure xenophobia.

“Major shifts in demographics, and therefore increasingly diverse audiences, are going to impact more and more on science centres. If you’re thinking that this is something that can be shelved for a few years while you deal with greater imperatives, or that the answer lies in creating a few special programmes for minority groups - think again. This is not an optional box-ticking exercise.”

Conlon went on to highlight work already being done to address the issue, including German lessons offered to migrants at the Deutsches Museum in Munich; dialogues started with immigrant groups by the Explora science centre in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and the Immigration Museum in São Paulo, which is working with overseas immigrants in the state.

“There will come a point, sooner for some of us than others, when the current core audience becomes the minority. When that tipping point inevitably occurs - we need to be ready,” said Conlon.

“This requires a step change in our thinking – and a fundamental re-examination of business models. What is fit for purpose today, will not be fit for purpose tomorrow.

“Science has the power to be a unifying force. Let’s not miss this opportunity to make a difference.”

<< Back

News powered by attractionsmanagement.com

Museum operators using AR to take their exhibits global

Two leading museum operators in the UK have partnered with an augmented reality specialist to present holographic exhibits and experiences for students around the world. [more...]

North American and Japanese attractions dominate 2021 Thea Awards

North America and Japan-based visitor attractions and businesses picked up 14 of the 19 Thea Awards this year. [more...]

JRA becomes part of the RWS Entertainment Group

Experience design firm JRA has been acquired by live entertainment specialist RWS Entertainment Group. The news was revealed in a press conference today (16 November) at the IAAPA trade show in Orlando Florida. [more...]

Therme Group to submit planning permission for £100m wellbeing facility in Glasgow

Global developer and operator of wellbeing destinations Therme Group has inked a deal with Peel L&P for a new location in Glasgow called Therme Scotland. [more...]

National conference will grapple with the rebuilding of the UK tourism industry

Nigel Huddleston, minister for tourism, will give a keynote speech at this year's Tourism Conference, taking place in London on 15 November. [more...]

Belfast's W5 Science Centre re-opens following £4.5m redevelopment

W5 Science Centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland, has re-opened to the public following a £4.5m redevelopment project which has added a number of new exhibits and galleries. [more...]

In brief:

Grimshaw partners with Eden Project for pavilion at COP26 @edenproject @GrimshawArch @COP26 #EdenProject #Grimshaw #COP26 #Environment [more...]
Ad Gefrin attraction will celebrate '20th century’s most remarkable archaeological finds' @StudioMBdesign @AdvanceNland #AdGefrin [more...]
UK Budget 2021: ​​Business rates cut by half for leisure and hospitality @RishiSunak @GOVUK #TheBudget #Budget2021 [more...]
Winners of first-ever Surf Park Awards revealed @urbnsurf @surfparkcentral @wsl @wavegarden #SurfPark #SurfParks #Surfing #WaveTechnology [more...]
Little Amal, a puppet of a refugee girl, has walked 5,000km across Europe @walkwithamal #LittleAmal #WalkWithAmal #Refugees #StreetArt [more...]
Eden Project Qingdao reaches construction milestone @GrimshawArch @edenproject #EdenProject #Qingdao #China #Attraction [more...]
World’s first UNESCO digital trail launches in Scotland @UNESCO @VisitScotland #DigitalTrail #Unesco #Scotland [more...]
Jakob Wahl appointed IAAPA's chief operating officer @jakobwahl @IAAPAHQ #IAAPA #IAAPAExpo #IAAPA2021 [more...]
V&A renames childhood museum as part of £13m redevelopment @museumchildhood @V_and_A #Museum #Children [more...]
More news from attractionsmanagement.com>>
<< Back