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Division C Education, Outreach and Heritage


- Lessons learned and new opportunities in Astronomy Education and Outreach in the Covid era

- Intersection of culture, science and social movements and how this relates to inclusion


Towards inclusion in astronomy education, outreach, history, and heritage

Scientific Rationale

The Division Days for Division C for this GA will focus on 2 themes which are highly topical: how education and outreach projects adapted to the COVID19 pandemic, the negative impacts and the positive solutions; and, a discussion on the intersection of culture, science and social movements the world has seen growing in recent years. Through these 2 themes we aim to represent some of the most pressing issues affecting Division C members and also the wider community with an interest in the work of Division C.  

Day 1: Beyond the pandemic: a discussion of lessons learned and new opportunities in Astronomy Education and Outreach in the post-Covid era  

The global pandemic had and is having a profound impact on the way education and outreach is practiced. With most of the globe being in isolation, face-to-face events and engagements came to halt and with them so did much of the astronomy education and outreach work. Many educational programmes have adopted entirely online (virtual) or hybrid (a mixture of virtual and in-person activities) approaches to their engagement activities, but others have had to completely pause until in-person events are possible again. At present it is unclear when the world’s population will return to full contact meetings, so maintaining and continuing to develop new methods for engagement is necessary.  

Sharing the successful techniques for adapting programmes to a hybrid approach and also the techniques which were not successful, and in particular, why, is extremely valuable to the community of practitioners and researchers. As we adapt to an existence where future periods of isolation for parts of or all of society are likely, all education and outreach programmes will have to incorporate some aspects of remote engagement.  

Day 2: Respecting astronomy history and heritage: a discussion on the intersection of culture, science and social movements   

This session will focus on culture in the broadest sense, centered in space and time, and how societies have perceived them, accommodating contributions related to the topics developed by Commission C3 'History of Astronomy' and C4 'World Heritage and Astronomy' worldwide and in a diversified set of environments and human cultures. This must include an open approach from indigenous astronomical knowledge to early modern natural philosophy and modern science. Cultural astronomical heritage from the viewpoint of inclusivity and education will be treated.   

There will be discussion of indigenous concerns and social movements regarding sacred lands and astronomical facilities that have been built upon them. The effort will be two-fold: first, to make astronomers better aware of such sensitivities and how they may best be addressed and next how such empathy can better bond science and culture. Such efforts can help open minds to increasing inclusivity.   

The objective of this session is to open astronomical science to broader perspectives including gender, the role of native societies in preserving celestial heritage, and indeed how astronomy can play a decisive role as an open discipline in the development of science in all continents. Education and outreach should indeed play a role in that. We all live under one sky.

Invited speakers:

Dayna Thompson (Charles W. Brown Planetarium)
Annette Lee (University of Southern Queensland)
Jarita Horbrook (University of Edinburgh)
Thilina Heenatigala (Earth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo)
Alejandro Martín López (Instituto de Ciencias Antropológicas)
Mahdi Rokni (Students' International Network for Astronomy)
Hasan Baghbani (International Teacher Astronomy Union)
Tana Joseph (University of Amsterdam)
Gudrun Wolfschmidt (University of Hamburg)
Michael Fitzgerald (Las Cumbres Observatory)
2019 PhD Prize winner, Maria Giulia Andretta , Italy, "The conquest of the Moon. The history, the legacies and the cultural influence of the Moon landing. Analysis of the Italian media phenomenon as an example of pop science"
2020 PhD Prize winner, Magdalena Kersting, Norway, “General Relativity in Secondary School: Research-Based development of Learning Resources and Analyses of Students”

Scientific Organizing Committee

Richard de Grijs (President)

Edward Leocadio Gomez (Vice-President)

Mirjana Povic (Secretary)

Juan Antonio Belmonte Aviles (Commission C4 President)

Susana E. Deustua (Advisor - Past President)

Oana Sandu (Barbulete) (Commission C2 President)

Boonrucksar Soonthornthum (Commission C1 President)

Christiaan L. Sterken (Commission C3 President)

Eleni Thomai Chatzichristou

Steven Gullberg

Rajesh Kochhar

Mamta Pommier

Akihiko TOMITA

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