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Increasing the participation of girls and underrepresented communities in space science

The SpaceEU project, coordinated by Leiden University, has launched an online toolkit with a collection of space-centred activities that engage people with the wonders of space. The toolkit is targeted at girls and underrepresented communities and can be used by schools, youth centres, museums, NGOs and universities.

SpaceEU is a European-funded project that fosters a young, creative and inclusive European space community through a unique programme of education and public engagement. The toolkit Engage with Space consists of two elements: a number of educational and outreach activities, and the exhibition Step into Space, which comes with handy do-it-yourself instructions. There is also an online exhibition available.  

Educational and outreach activities

With a special focus on girls and underrepresented communities, the toolkit aims to engage citizens with space science and careers through a the following educational and outreach activities: 

  • Space in the Classroom, with guidelines for professionals from the space sector to visit schools
  • space4youth, a small youth conference where young people can present their knowledge, projects and views about space exploration. 

SpaceEU engagement activities also promote dialogue between space stakeholders and young people, parents and society-at-large through three participatory formats: 

  • Citizen Space Debate, which brings together space stakeholders and citizens for an open discussion on controversial topics
  • Space Unconference, where participants co-create the programme of a space conference
  • Space Café, a short and informal talk presenting current topics of space research, innovation, policy or design

How space exploration forms us

Step into Space is an exciting exhibition that brings together space sciences and art, originally developed by Ars Electronica for their Ars Electronica Festival 2019 and showcased in the Leiden Old Observatory. What is even more exciting is that organisations can build their own version of this exhibition! 

The exhibition looks into how space exploration has been an intrinsic part of our lives, contributing to new technologies we use here on Earth, assists us in thinking about how to protect our planet, and inspiring us to think outside the box and to cooperate.

Do-it-yourself exhibition

The exhibition consists of three flexible modules which allow building a regional connection and engagement. You can find graphic templates, a detailed Exhibition handbook about how to build the exhibition, and architectural design guidelines that allow you to adjust the exhibition to your needs, such as translating the texts. SpaceEU encourages to invite and collaborate with local artists who can contribute to the exhibition.

​Exhibitions at home

In addition, there are two additional versions of the exhibition that are also suited for educational settings. The first is the Print@Home Exhibition. With this version of the exhibition, the space exploration journey comes to your home. By following simple instructions and with easy-to-find materials you can become an exhibition designer and explore the fascination of space at the same time. In the video below, you can find more information about the Print@Home exhibition:

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The second version is the Online Exhibition. You can experience the exhibition with a series of space missions that will guide you through an online adventure. This version is perfectly suited for teachers to introduce how space exploration has been an intrinsic part of our lives in their classrooms.

Open-source

The Engage with Space Toolkit is designed as an open-source model, with all of its contents and designs available under a Creative Commons licence (Attribution International 4.0). Under this license you are able to use the materials in any medium or format, even commercially, providing that you give appropriate credit. We also encourage to localise it, meaning that you can translate it to your language and add local examples.

SpaceEU

SpaceEU implements an exciting space outreach and education programme to spark the interest of young people in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths), and to encourage them to consider space-related careers. The project is coordinated by Leiden Observatory and consists of twelve partner organisations, including Ars Electronica.  

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