In September 2017, EUSEA was invited to contribute to the Beijing Science Festival 2017. The Science Centre AHHAA sent two delegates to perform shows and present activities. Here you can find the report written by Elmar Reinhold from AHHAA:
“Me and my colleague Elina had an amazing chance to visit the Beijig Science Festival in September. For me it was the first time to travel that long away from home. Getting there was really well organized (and even 7+ hours of flight weren’t that bad). When we got there our supervisor Jason was already waiting and escorted us to what seemed to be a really nice VIP style cab, which took us to the hotel.
The festival itself was big! It was located at the Olympic park in Beijing, right between the Cube and the Bird’s Nest. We were in the International tent, which means we got to communicate and work with other science centre people from all over the world: Finns, Swiss, South Africans, Americans, Australians, Italians etc. We used to hang out all together on dinners and cultural trips which gave us a chance to get to know the life in other science centres all over the world.
The festival took place from14th to 18th September, which was a little bit unusual for us, because we’re used to European festivals that last up to 3 days. Then again, the first two days were quite slow-paced. However, on Saturday, the tent was completely packed from 9 until 17, which was the time that the festival hall was closed for the day.
Visitors were quite different from those in European festivals. The main difference is that the Chinese audience seemed to be more used to watching the science theatre staff conduct the experiments. We, on the other hand, were prepared to make the visitors participate by letting them do something with their own hands. Fortunately, they didn’t hesitate and our hands-on workshops worked well!
I must admit that we hadn’t really thought about the fact that some of the visitors don’t really speak English at all. So communicating with the locals was quite challenging, but we had our fabulous “minions”, the local students who spoke English and helped us a lot with translations and even with workshops. So we could still carry out everything the way it was planned and the language barrier didn’t stop anyone from visiting us. Every day we had a science show on the main stage in front of our tent and it was huge! It was challenging to fill the whole stage with science experiments but our ecceńtric personalities helped along and the crowd seemed to like the shows
The festival was superbly organised, everything worked well and the cultural trips to restaurants and to local sight-seeing spots were awesome. We got to enjoy Chinese cuisine in various places and were introduced to local traditional dishes like Beijing Duck and dumplings which are served to VIPs before they leave China. We also visited the Great Wall which was as great as the name implies.
In conclusion it was a super chance to work with other science centre people all over the world and to show that we, Estonians are also in the big game of bringing science to everyone.”