"If people feel they understand the world around them or, probably, even if they have the conviction that they could understand it if they wanted to, then and only then are they also able to feel that they can make a difference through their decisions and activities."
Frank Oppenheimer, founder of the San Francisco Exploratorium, used these words to express himself in a way that had a particular resonance within the values of the Traces group. Indeed, in today’s society our lives are shaped by science and technology, which is why we feel the responsibility to:
• Encourage the general public to share our concern for these issues,
• Give them the tools they need to establish their position, back-up their arguments and make choices,
• Help them to realise that they can play a role if they choose to do so.
Rather than looking for empowerment and learning through the acquisition of knowledge, we would like to ensure that individuals can claim ownership of their personal learning pathway and link it to their own concerns, whether mundane or fundamental.
The implication of young people is particularly important for us. They are going to live in a society created by us today, which is why they are first and foremost affected by society’s choices regarding science. They should participate in these decisions.
Our projects regarding education, and the place that science holds in society, are aimed at teachers and science explainers alike, notably by offering them training courses and meetings with other professional players. Fully aware that science can be used as a tool for both inclusion and exclusion, we take great measures to address these issues in all of our projects.