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2020 YEAR AT A GLANCE

As a national platform, we advocate on behalf of the broader science centre and science museum sector to communicate the value of informal science, technology, and innovation engagement, raise professional standards, and inform policy.

2020 proved that we can achieve much by working together. 

As we look back on this year of disruption, we can all be incredibly proud of the resiliency and creativity of our network, and deep empathy exhibited in how we’ve supported each other. 

(Reporting back on our Strategic Priorities as outlined in our 2020-2022 Strategic Plan.)

1. National Leadership

Embrace a leadership role in helping to advance Science and Innovation Culture in Canada through collaborations on a national stage.


1.1 Be a national voice for our members and raise their visibility on a national stage.

Numerous letters and briefing notes were submitted to Ministers which involved dozens of meetings with key staff.

CASC member CEO's and Senior Leaders have met a total of 15 times through the pandemic to share strategies and discuss advocacy efforts. Thank you to everyone who’s participated.

Learn more about our COVID-19 related advocacy efforts here.


1.2 Advancing diversity, inclusion, equity and accessibility within the informal science learning sector.

1.3 Addressing Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada recommendations within the informal science learning sector.

As a national membership association, we are committed to advancing diversity, inclusion, equity and accessibility. 
      • As part of this work, on June 2, 2020 CASC released a statement addressing Systemic Racism and the need for Inclusive Science Engagement and renewed our commitment to take action, and embark on a time of reflection.
      • In Oct of 2020, we invited Karine Morin, from NSERC, who was integral in the development of the Dimensions program to join us in a discussion with our members to explore how we can support our members - those facing systemic barriers and those working to break those barriers. Learn about what we heard here.

Learn more about our DIEA commitment, progress and next steps for 2021-2022 here.


1.4 Foster coalition-building, alliances, and collaborations with other national organizations and associations to advance Science and Innovation culture in Canada.

In December 2020 we partnered with COVID-19 Resources Canada, and the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta in the #ScienceUpFirst: Together Against Misinformation initiative!

The initiative is now fully staffed with a team of 7 people. ScienceUpFirst aims to share the best available science in creative ways to stop the spread of misinformation online.

Learn more about #ScienceUpFirst and how you can get involved here.

2. Cultivating Ecosystems

Enhance connections and sharing within our network, between members and collaborators, opening our doors wider and leveraging relationships and partnership opportunities. The CASC network will apply an ecosystem approach to fostering collaboration across our members.


2.1 Build capacity of our members through professional development opportunities.

In april 2020 we launched a monthly video discussion group for Programming and Education staff from across our membership. 

To further support this group, we reached out to ASTC who generously provided us access to their online forum platform for this Community of Practice to connect and share challenges and opportunities. Contact info@casc-accs.com if you would like to join. 

Learn more about COVID-19 related support for our members here

To stay up to date with the flow of information surrounding the pandemic and to provide updates on government support, CASC increased the distribution of our quarterly newsletter to weekly. As things settled, we decided to commit to monthly Newsletters. 

With this increase of communication to our network we are able to share more timely Association Updates, Announcements from our Members, Partners, Friends, and Community as well as Opportunities for Funding, Professional Development and Partnerships. 

Sign up for our newsletter here.


2.2 Increase member base and participation.

We were able to maintain a strong membership level during the pandemic and even slightly grow the number of Science Centre/Museum members, which demonstrates the value our association was able to provide during such a disruptive time for our sector.

To expand our reach across our sector we added an individual category to our membership levels.

Learn more about our membership levels and benefits here


2.3 Raise the visibility, attendance, and impact of our events and actions.

Normally this is particularly in reference to our conference, but in 2020 we needed to be creative as our in person conference was cancelled.

Instead we spread out some of the key elements of our conference throughout the year.

As planned (pre-pandemic) we hosted our CASCADE AWARDS in May, 2020. With in-person gatherings at a halt we got creative and moved to a virtual platform. At 212 attendees it was an incredible event that brought us together at a time when we were still all reeling from the start of the pandemic (3 months in). 

Watch the recording of the 2020 CASCADE Awards here

In September we hosted our first-ever virtual AGM. We moved the planned Keynote Panel (The Future of Science Engagement) from the cancelled CASC 2020 Conference to be included in the AGM’s programing. Attendance was at record high for any CASC AGM at 137 attendees - ⅓ of whom were guests!

Watch the recording of the Keynote Panel: The Future of Science Engagement here.

3. Advancing Science Engagement

Apply a future lens grounded in data and trends to understand the changing landscape of science engagement. Major issues facing our planet are of a magnitude that no one institution or organization can address on its own. They require cooperation and the pooling and sharing of knowledge across institutions, across disciplines and across the country, coast to coast to coast.


3.1 Partner with research institutions to gather data about the sector to produce benchmarking studies as well as advance the field of science learning and engagement.

In the summer of 2020, we conducted a study with a goal to identify opportunities for expanded collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). In particular, the CSA wanted to better understand our sector's needs and capacity, as well as our audiences’ needs. 

Members can contact us at info@casc-accs.com to access this report


3.2 Be a platform for inclusive approaches and innovative thinking. Include fresh, new ideas and perspectives in our annual national conference.

In August with optimism we looked towards 2021 and started the planning for our Annual Conference.  We hoped to host a hybrid event with Ingenium but the challenges of the pandemic increased globally affecting any ideas of hosting in-person gatherings.

Although we missed that one on one connection with our community we managed to deliver a virtual conference that attracted 373 attendees from across Canada - An all time record for CASC! 

Learn more about the CASC 2021 Conference here.



Canadian Association of Science Centres

100 Ramsey Lake Road 

Sudbury, ON. P3E 5S9

info@casc-accs.com

The CASC office is situated in Robinson Huron Treaty territory and the traditional territory of the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek. We pay respect to their traditions, ways of knowing and acknowledge their many contributions to the innovations in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Clearly and overtly this gratitude must be demonstrated in our collective commitment to truth and reconciliation, by working to transform existing relationships, with open dialogue, mutual understanding and respectful collaborations

©2021 Canadian Association of Science Centres