Interview with Anna-Maria Arabia, General Manager, Strategy and Partnerships, Questacon
Words: Sally Miles
Anna-Maria Arabia has recently taken on the role of General Manager, Strategy and Partnerships, at Questacon. She has hit the ground running and is using her passion for science education to build on Questacon’s world class science engagement activities.
While Questacon’s science centre is aimed mainly at primary and early secondary students, the approach to make science fun and interesting appeals to all ages. In fact, staff pay close attention to ensuring each exhibit can be enjoyed by all. The exhibits are produced and delivered by a team of very talented, creative people who are responsive to feedback from everyone who interacts with the exhibits.
But Questacon is a lot more than one great science centre. From national initiatives as part of the Inspiring Australia strategy, to on-tour programs and exhibitions, the organisation does its fair share of community outreach.
This even extends to international partnerships with science centres around the world. Questacon engages with many countries by sharing ideas, developing skills and overall capacity building. This includes training their staff in science communication and even bringing exhibits across the seas.
Domestically, Questacon maintains relationships with both the public and private sectors. Anna-Maria emphasises the benefits of strategies such as those of Inspiring Australia.
“Inspiring Australia is a bridge to many initiatives. It is a classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts”. Inspiring Australia offers many things, including national leadership, partnership opportunities across the country, and a great array of activities to get involved in.
Anna-Maria recognises science centres as an important part of our overall science education. Informal out-of-school science learning at Questacon complements formal education that happens in the classroom.
“Science Centres play a critical role in engaging children in science education.” Anna-Maria says. Questacon, one of Canberra’s most popular tourist attractions, uses hands-on interactive exhibits and a philosophy of ‘science by doing’ to motivate and inspire many thousands of students every year.
Questacon is a great vehicle to switch people on to science. It will continue to play an important role in the future of science education, and Anna-Maria looks forward to contributing towards a future of greater science engagement and inspiration.
Thank you, Anna-Maria, for taking the time out of an already hectic schedule to talk about science communication. We look forward to hearing more about the fantastic initiatives at Questacon.