By David Price.
It was such an honor to be chosen to represent EUSEA at the Fourth Shanghai International Popular Science Products Expo. And what an amazing science and innovation festival it was! But at the same time so sad not to be there with the wonderful Cissi Askwall who in the end could not make the journey to China.
So after a long flight and some much needed jet lag recuperation I found myself in Shanghai. In no time at all our very attentive host from the Expo Jerry organized some great sight seeing trips around Shanghai and we got to taste authentic Shanghai food in restaurants well off the main tourist track.
The theme of the Expo was technological innovations being developed and marketed by start up businesses in China, in effect Shanghai is massively investing in its own version of silicon valley! From super green composting devices to the highest of high tech flight simulators, there was a huge array of tech that visitors could find out about and engage with.
I was very happy to represent the PERFORM project in 2 sessions at the Expo, with its EU funded research into the use of performing arts techniques in highly participatory science communication, working with pupils, teachers and early career researchers.
Our first session on the main festival stage (and on national TV and radio!), was a discussion around innovative methods of communicating science, in which I was able to talk about and demonstrate some highly participatory science learning strategies from PERFORM, where everyday items can be used to highlight science in peoples lives and hearts.
In our 2nd session on a smaller stage, Julie Nadel from the New York Academy of Science and myself were asked to speak on a theme of STEAM. This let me really let my hair down (so to speak!) and run through as many highly participative demonstrations as I could that we have used in PERFORM to engage and tantalize young minds in science.
Expo visitors and Chinese science communicators were fascinated by the linking of science communication and the performing arts, that is championed in Perform. It was a delight to discover the very real fascination that exists in China for western models of science engagement that encourage a greater use of the imagination and self-expression.
A very special thank you to Jerry who was a brilliant guide and host at the Expo. On the evening before my flight home, Jerry unexpectedly collected me from my hotel early and took me out to dinner with his family to their favourite local restaurant.
Thank you so much to Eusea and the Expo for giving me the chance to attend such a wonderful event.