WHEN EDUCATION RHYMES WITH POPULARIZATION: ANALYSIS OF MULTIPLE SCIENCE TEACHING AND POPULARIZATION MODALITIES USED IN THREE ITALIAN FESTIVALS
Three of the main Italian scientific festivals are annual held in Milan, Bergamo and Genoa. Milan, one of the world fashion capitals, has its own science festival (Milano Scienza Milano Mondo, that means Milan Science Milan World) since 2009 and it primarily consists of book presentations, guided tour inside the local Planetarium and permanent scientific exhibitions. In Bergamo, which is forty kilometers northeast from Milan, there is BergamoScienza (a word coming from the fusion between the name of the city and the Italian noun for science). The format of the first edition of BergamoScienza was an evening talk, but thanks to the joint collaboration of the organizing committee with twenty-eight high schools, four Universities, thirty-four between Museums and Foundations, the festival rapidly grow up and last year, on the occasion of the eighth edition, saw record attendance of 100,000 people (39% of which were students from elementary, high schools and Universities) distributed along more than one hundred and fifty events, all free of charge. On the contrary, in Genoa, ancient birthplace of the explorer Christopher Columbus and now hosting city of Festival della Scienza, there are more events than in Bergamo but most of these are for a fee, with 300,000 people attending lectiones magistrales, scientific coffee meetings and theatrical performances. The aim of this paper is to identify different modalities used in the aforementioned Italian science festivals to teach and communicate scientific knowledge, highlighting pros and cons and analyzing:
-the kinds of events in relation to the audience, such as interactive laboratories for children, book presentations for adults and Planetarium evening shows for everybody in Milano Scienza Milano Mundi; the “scientific coach” for children going to schools far from Bergamo, temporary exhibitions, “science nights” and high-quality talks –including several Nobel lectures- in BergamoScienza; scientific coffee meetings and theatrical performances in Genoa;
-the geographical distributions of the events in relation to the map of the hosting cities;
-the use of scientific culture as anchor for other cultural events, for example through the creation and diffusion of a virtual newsletter for Milano Scienza Milano Mondo.
-the continuous e-learning platform (BergamoScienza thematic channel) that provide the possibility to join past conferences;
-the lifelong learning platform organized by a satellite association of Festival della Scienza;
-the social-network side of the festivals.