Abigail and Khulood recently went to the 5th biennial NAMES conference in Jordan.
The North Africa and Middle East Science centers network (NAMES) celebrates science centers in the region and works to foster collaboration between science centers, informal science educators and outreach programs.
The NAMES network gets together every two years for a conference and this year it took place in Amman, hosted by the Children’s Museum, Jordan. The conference had an explosive start, with an unexpected visit from Zing- a blue alien- who delivered an interactive and fire-filled message of sustainability.
The NAMES organisers put together an enormously diverse and experienced array of speakers who spoke passionately about projects they were involved with in the region and elsewhere in the world.
A TalentS|KCA highlight was undoubtedly when Mishkat’s Reham joined a panel to discuss how to build community aspirations through creative and effective public engagement. Reham spoke passionately about her work at Mishkat, engaging students and families with the center’s before their visit, and how the varied live programming at the center is essential for generating repeat visits.
During the conference’s nocturne event, we got the chance to visit the Children’s Museum in Jordan and Once Upon A Shape, a gallery we designed for the museum! Once Upon A Shape is an interactive gallery for under 7s which encourages learning through sensory play. The gallery was opened in 2014 by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah and we were delighted to hear how much families (and staff) enjoyed being in the space!
2016 marked the 10th anniversary of NAMES, and like all birthdays should be, it was celebrated with cake!
See more of the conference with our Storify story