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  • Wednesday, October 09, 2019 4:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Written by: Alice Sun, CASC Science Communication Intern, Environmental Visual Communications Program, Fleming College 

    Understanding that ‘innovation is not accomplished in silos” is a key for the future of science learning in Canada and to the CASC 2020 conference theme of being a “Global Science Incubator”, but what does that really mean?

    For Christina Tessier, the President and CEO of Ingenium, it’s focusing on the act of storytelling instead of barriers. In applying this philosophy, Christina pushes the boundary, doing whatever needs to be done to bring new engaging experiences to museum visitors and creating amazing results throughout her 15-year career in the museum and culture world.

    As an emerging science communicator, I was incredibly excited to have the chance to interview Christina. Here, we discuss surprising moments from her career as well as her insights on the future of our science centres and science museums.

    Q&A with Christina Tessier

    For you, what does the term “breaking down silos” mean?

    For Ingenium, I think the term “breaking down silos” is just as important internally as it is externally. We try to reflect this in the way that we work as a team and consider collaboration to be a key value of the organization. When I think about collaboration in a broader sense, I think about how science centres and science museums have always worked together. When I was at the last CASC conference in Halifax, I really felt that warmth and inclusivity of our community and how we want to support each other.

    I think our opportunity now is to think far beyond just our own sites across the country, and to consider how we engage with academia, industry, government, NGO’s, artists, and others. To go not only bring them to our tables but to go to their tables. To continue to learn from each other and apply that learning in new ways in the work that we do. I think there are many new kinds of opportunities for continuous learning that we can all benefit from if we can really be focused on not just breaking down silos, but being open to working with new partners, perhaps whom we’ve never thought of before.

    Can you give me an example of being open to new opportunities?

    Absolutely. We’ve worked extensively with a company SEED out of southern Ontario for 5 or 6 years. They are a gaming studio. When they approached Ingenium originally, it was at a time when they were building the company and they were looking to work with somebody as a partner. They weren’t looking for just a quick contract, but instead wanted to build a partnership where we would both benefit and we could create new Canadian content that we could share in a new way. How could we take museum experiences and make them available through the idea of game development and share them across the country and across the world?

    Thankfully, one of my predecessors, Fern Proulx, who was the Interim President and CEO of Ingenium at the time, was very open to working with SEED, and they started working with the Canada Aviation and Space Museum on what has become an entire series on mobile apps and now video games on Nintendo Switch. One of the games, relating to the First World War and flying aces, has already been downloaded 1.4 million times! Next, we have a new space-themed game coming out this Fall, called Starblox Inc. (release date Oct. 18), which builds on this partnership to explore how we combine that sense of play with learning about science and technology.

    Ingenium has so many examples of combining science and arts in unique ways. Do you have a favourite or memorable example where the combination yielded some spectacular results?

    When I think about that word spectacular, the example that really resonates for me is, in fact, before you even walk into the Canada Science and Technology Museum. There’s a massive LED canopy and a white facade at the front of the building, and this was part of the architectural vision when the building was put together. Those of us that were busy working on the content inside the museum didn’t really think of the display it until it was getting fairly close to the opening of the museum, and we realized we needed to program one of the biggest LED screens in the country!

    Feeling fairly uncertain about our ability to do that given the time frame, I approached the National Film Board. We knew that when it comes to audio-visual, they really know their game. They came on board as a great partner in terms of thinking about how to program this display not only from a technical point of view, but also the artistic point of view. We walked up the street, probably a half kilometre stretch, to understand how people would view that space long before they get down to the museum. How would we use the display to attract people to the museum? How would we use movement in the display to catch your eye from far away?

    The vision that they came back with not only used the space that was there, but used the colours of the rainbow, geography, and time. They created a 3-minute loop that explores various science and tech themes from coast to coast to coast, and brings in indigenous cultures, which was incredibly compelling for us. It has created a gateway into the museum where you have an opportunity to change your perspectives, before you even see our exhibitions. If you stand nearby you can see the visitors stop and take it all in - little kids run right up to the LED screen, touch it, and are curious about what’s happening around them. We’re excited to continue exploring how we use what we now consider an artistic space, and hopefully work with students and other artists in the country to tell more stories.

    Can you tell me about an unexpected outcome from one of your new initiatives?

    We have a Women in STEM initiative that includes a travelling exhibition and a poster series, and a number of online components. What’s really been interesting to us is to watch the poster series’ dissemination through a number of Canadian missions and embassies around the world. One of the first places to pick it up was in Kazakhstan, which of course surprised us all. To have created a product that is so easy for others to make use of and share has been a really beneficial way for us to talk about these stories. We’re standing up and saying how important it is for women, and all people frankly, to be considered at every table when we’re talking about science and technology.

    So if you had one message to give to the world, what would it be?

    We want to be a place where everyone feels that they are welcome, they are relevant and they are valued. I think it’s important for all of us to open our doors and our tables. To encourage a diversity of voices around those tables. To examine ideas on what it means to be a learning organization. To always think about how we can improve what we do, how we do it, and how we make decisions about the work in our science museums and science centres. I think a lot of that comes down to taking risks, and that means being open to failure, thinking about how we can encourage our organization and staff to feel they can take those risks, while creating an environment where we focus on looking back on the process and not necessarily the outcome to measure successes.

    As Christina and Ingenium have demonstrated, the future of science learning not only requires you to “break down silos”, but to reach out and be open to unlikely partnerships. It means creating a space where everyone is welcome despite their gender, ethnicity, or abilities. It means contributing to an environment where people feel safe to think outside the box and take risks. That’s what it takes to create innovation, to look beyond just silos, because with an open mind, anything is possible.

    *Responses have been edited for length and clarity

  • Wednesday, October 09, 2019 2:52 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We’d like to acknowledge and congratulate all CASC members who were awarded and recognized on September 10, at the GSCA 2019 International Conference and Trade Show in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

    Best Film Launch by a Theater (tie)

    Telus World of Science-Edmonton, Marketing Campaign for Superpower Dogs

    Big Shoe

    Mike Lutz, Evans & Sutherland

    Best IMAX Booth (honourable mention) 

    Shoppers Drug Mart OMNIMAX Theatre at the Ontario Science Centre

    Learn more

  • Wednesday, October 09, 2019 2:49 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Canadian Space Agency asks science centres and museums to help recruit future astronauts!

    The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) recently launched the Junior Astronauts campaign for teachers, educators, youth group leaders and young Canadians in grades 6 to 9. 

    Run Junior Astronauts activities in your science centre or museum

    By running Junior Astronauts activities in your science centre, you will have an opportunity to win a visit by an astronaut or space expert to your organization in spring 2020. All you have to do is register and complete at least one of the activities available on the Junior Astronauts website with a youth group in any of the proposed streams: science and technology, fitness and nutrition, and teamwork and communications. The CSA will randomly select schools and organizations from every province and territory. The more streams you participate in, the more chances you will have (up to three)!

    Young Canadians who complete at least one activity in each of the streams can apply to take part in the CSA’s Junior Astronauts recruitment. Selected youth from across Canada will have the opportunity to go to the Canadian Space Agency in Saint-Hubert, Quebec for a week of training by astronauts, scientists and engineers.

    Visit the Junior Astronauts website to learn more and register! You can also subscribe to an email list for timely updates about the campaign.

  • Wednesday, October 09, 2019 1:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The entire team at THEMUSEUM wishes to express the gratitude of being a part of something as wonderful and large as the production of The Amazing Race Canada.

    David Marskell, CEO of THEMUSEUM shared, “Our vision is to awe, inspire and enlighten but sometimes we just want to have fun! We are thrilled to have a national spotlight on THEMUSEUM, Kitchener and Waterloo Region!" 

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  • Wednesday, October 09, 2019 1:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    To support the development of new programming and exhibition space at Dynamic Earth, Science North is set to receive $1.1 million. The support comes from the federal government’s Canada Cultural Spaces Fund. 

    Sudbury MP Paul Lefebvre said in a release, “Dynamic Earth’s exhibits and programming are vitally important for Northern Ontario, offering residents and visitors a better understanding of how the world around them works and how it is changing.” 

    Related article:

  • Wednesday, October 09, 2019 1:13 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In a recent Twitter poll hosted by a reporter from CBC Municipal Affairs, Science World was voted the most iconic building in Vancouver. The science center beat out 31 others across the city.

    Related article:

  • Wednesday, October 09, 2019 1:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Year-long science experiments were launched by two high school students from Timmins at the city's balloon base on September 16, 2019. 

    The chair of the board for Science Timmins, Lorraine Cantin, said throughout the year the students had to test, modify, and problem-solve. She also added, “(The students) developed so many great qualities that will serve them life-long in whatever they (pursue)”.

    A grade 12 student from École secondaire catholique Thériault, Magalie Durepos-Letourneau, finds cosmic rays “so fascinating” and has selected the topic for her experiment. She also adds that the project teaches determination. 

    Ben Dunkley, a grade 8 student from O’Gorman Intermediate, launched an experiment that will track the amount of ozone in the ozone layer. “I had learned last year about the chemicals that are called CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), and they are actually destroying the ozone layer actively, and I wanted to see how much we’re affected in our area,” said Dunkley.

    Related article:

  • Wednesday, October 09, 2019 12:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Two new exhibits are opening at The Exploration Place Museum and Science Centre in Prince George, BC. Both encourage guests to appreciate the state of Indigenous languages and expand their vocabulary.

    The travelling exhibition Our Living Languages: First People’s Voices in B.C invites visitors to learn what First Nations communities throughout the province are doing to help 34 different languages survive and flourish.

    Mary Gouchie: Hubodulh’eh an in-house exhibit showcases commitment to language revitalization by one Lheidli T’enneh Elder. Visitors will learn all about Mary, her work as an ambassador for her community within Prince George and surrounding areas and her commitment to language revitalization. 

    Both exhibitions will run from September 15 to January 6, 2020.


    Related articles:

  • Monday, October 07, 2019 2:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Science North has been voted the Top Indoor Attraction for 2019 in Attractions Ontario’s Fourth Annual Ontario’s Choice Awards.

    The winners of each category earned the most votes in their designated category, voted on and chosen by consumers.

    Read More

  • Friday, October 04, 2019 11:43 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Big Little Science Centre will move into former Value Village site in downtown Kamloops. The Big Little Science Centre is moving downtown, to the building at Seymour Street and Fifth Avenue formerly occupied by Value Village.

    BLSC executive director Gordon Stewart said the science centre will be leasing a portion of the 24,000-square-foot building and will need to make renovations to the area it will be using.

    Learn more

The CASC office is situated in Robinson Huron Treaty territory and the land on which we learn and live is the traditional territory of the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek. We strive for reconciliation by working to transform existing relationships to emphasize open dialogue, mutual understanding and respectful collaborations.

©2020 Canadian Association of Science Centres