The importance of creating space for curiosity

29 November 2021

The university's science centre has finally opened its physical doors and welcomes curious visitors, both young and old. Bildmuseet's new neighbour at Umeå Art Campus is called Curiosum and is brimming with the desire to experiment and the joy of discovery.

Umeå University's core mission is to conduct research and higher education of high quality. The mission also includes making science available to the general public. A public science centre is ideal for stimulating children's and young people's curiosity about science and technology.

Katrine Riklund, Pro-Vice-Chancellor

Photo: Mattias Pettersson

Curiosity is important to make the most of, as it can be developed into a willingness to learn and future university studies. Basically, it is about creating a positive attitude towards learning and the realisation that knowledge is something valuable and appealing. Quite naturally, we also want to stimulate adults' curiosity, and at Curiosum everyone can get an outlet for their inquisitiveness.

The generation that is now growing up faces complex issues where the importance of the world reaching its climate goals is high on the agenda, but they will also be affected by issues related to skills supply and digital transformation. To solve societal challenges, you need curious and creative people of all ages, who collaborate with different perspectives and areas of knowledge. To give children access to a science centre that can answer several of the "why's that?" questions that the children are thinking about. The question "why?" is also a topical issue for researchers.

A science centre is a place where people in a playful way can explore, discover and find new experiences, which contributes to their own development. By creating space for curiosity, the desire to want to know more is cultivated. Seeking and finding knowledge is a strong driving force and it leads to the realisation that you can influence and be part of the solution.

Curiosum's activities are based on three areas: the pedagogical meeting place, the tourist destination, and being an environment for research, development and innovation. The operation has a clear connection to professional development. We are in the middle of a rapid industrial transformation and development with great focus in northern Sweden. Professional development has never been more relevant from both a regional perspective and in a national context. The subject concerns Sweden's competitiveness and ability to innovate.

The university participates in various networks with other science centres in Sweden, in order to exchange knowledge and experiences. For Curiosum's content, the collaboration aspect is also important. There is a conscious thought and pedagogical model here, but there certainly are also activities for those who prefer to explore for themselves.

The creation of Curiosum became possible precisely thanks to cooperation, when the university joined forces with the municipality, industry and the general public. The result was a playful meeting place where several generations can meet to explore, collaborate and experience things together. An investment that in the longer term can contribute to the development of individuals as well as society, based on the fact that education is a cornerstone.

During the opening weekends that are now underway, Curiosum has chosen to highlight different themes based on the different parts of the operation. From digital worlds, to space with screenings in the dome theatre, scientific experiments and creative construction.

A donation from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation has made the dome theatre possible. In addition to our dome theatre, the donation included dome theatres at the Visualization Centre in Norrköping, Universeum in Gothenburg, Malmö's Science Centre and the National Museum of Science and Technology in Stockholm. The collaboration also includes resources to create five productions for screening in the dome theatres.

Visitors are greeted by interactive activities, installations and visualisations of research. The ambition is also to convey how knowledge is created, as researchers often work to further develop existing science.

I believe that we can increase the interest in higher education by giving the public an increased proximity to what the university does, enabling visitors to meet researchers and take part in science and technology in a stimulating way. Curiosity opens doors to most things. Perhaps you will take the chance to learn something new?

Login to be able to read and write comments.