Peter Rebernik, the “Founding Father” and certainly the most important accelerator of our dynamic network, just highlighted a very important date in our association’s history: It was a spring day in Gothenborg on April 4, 2001, when the idea arose to form an association called “EUSCEA”. The formal registration was done later that year in Vienna, but this meeting can be called the “birth hour” of our organisation. This means that we can now celebrate our 17th birthday!

As Peter states, “originally, we just wanted to submit a project of science events to the European Commission, but Mikkel (Bohm) and I had the idea to first form an association.” The main participants of this first meeting were, according to Peter: Joachim Lerch, Germany – he was the main inviter; Mikkel Bohm, Denmark; Magdalena Fikus, Poland; Janeke Voltman, Netherlands; Annika Lotzman-Dahl, Sweden – she was the host of the meeting, and Peter Rebernik, Austria.

A big “Thank You” goes to all these “Founding Mothers and Fathers”, without whom we would not be such a swirling community, embracing more than 100 members all over Europe and beyond. Please enjoy some pictures of this first meeting, from Peter Rebernik’s archive:

We have come a long way since this first meeting! Today EUSEA – now called the European Science Engagement Association  – is an international knowledge-sharing platform and accelerator of innovation in the fields of public engagement. We adress a large variety of experts involved in the design, organisation and implementation of public engagement activities across Europe. Over the last years EUSEA has been a reliable and active consortium member in projects funded by the European Commission, and we are raising our voice in issues related to future funding policies related to Public Engagement in all the different varieties applied today.

The formats of our members are as diverse as the institutions behind them: All across Europe, in China, Russia, Egypt or Georgia you will find Science Festivals, Researchers’ Nights, Science Parliaments or Maker Faires, organized by universities, municipalities, science centers or cultural institutions. Many such events have evolved all over Europe: from Slovenia to Sweden, from Portugal to Poland, from Israel to Iceland – and more are on the way.

Eusea initiates and supports many of these activites as a strong partner striving to develop science festivals and public engagement activities that make an impact across Europe.

We still have a long way to go – but without the start in Gothenburg we would not be who we are! Let’s keep the spirit and move on together!