Science in The City Festival: Science for All

Paola Rodari works for the Trieste International Foundation and is responsible for coordinating the Science in the City Festival, an offshoot of the European Science Open Forum. The Festival, with its rich program of popular scientific events for the general public, will be held in Trieste from 27 June to 11 July 2020. In this interview Paola illustrates the main themes of the Science in the City Festival, how to participate and the impact of the event.

What will be the main themes of the Science in the City Festival?

The Science in the City Festival is composed of three principles: the topic of the Conference of Scientists in ESOF, taken up thanks to the participation of some of the conference speakers; the legacies related to the excellence of the scientific system of Trieste and the region, for example theoretical physics; and finally, the great themes integral to the history of Trieste and part of Friuli Venezia Giulia, such as psychiatry, civil protection, karstism and caves, and literature. The crossover between science and art, science and poetry, science and society will also allow us to produce events with a strongly innovative character. It will therefore, be a rich and varied mix, and only partly a mirror image of the entire ESOF 2020 program.

What kind of events will be held during the Festival and by whom?

The Festival will last two weeks and therefore, will host events of all kinds: from theatre to scientific cafés, laboratories, exhibitions, guided tours, conferences, and discussion games. We invite those who have original ideas to propose them by answering the calls already open on the website Anyone can propose an event: research institutes, universities, associations, and companies - but also individual citizens. The Festival is able to offer the infrastructures - that is the locations, the technical and communication services, and the volunteers that can support the implementation of the events - but it cannot finance every single project, which must therefore at least in part stand on its own two feet. However, we are sure that many sponsors are interested in promoting events in the context of ESOF and the Festival.

What impact can those who decide to submit an idea for one of the proposed calls expect?

The Festival can offer considerable international visibility for the quality and quantity of participants and speakers taking part in ESOF and the various events of the Science in the City Festival. Research institutions, research and innovation funding agencies and global foundations will be present in the City, as well as many tourists. The international presence will therefore, be a cornerstone of the event. Like all major festivals, this can also be the right place to experiment with new methods of communicating science and involving citizens.


Paola Rodari is a project manager for international projects on science communication and a consultant for the development of new museums and centres for the Sissa Medialab and the Universities of Trieste. For 10 years, she was responsible for the education sector of the Laboratory of Scientific Imagery of Trieste (Italy), of which she was one of the founders. Regarding other projects, Paola has contributed to the development of – the Astronomy Museum and Planetarium of Turin (Italy) - and 10Lab, the science centre of the Technology Park of Sardinia. She is on the steering committee of the thematic group Human Interface and Explainers of Ecsite (the European Network of Museums and Scientific Centres) that deals with the professional growth of scientific promoters and facilitators. She is the author of numerous articles and books on science communication.

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