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The 1st Forum of Polish Science Festival Organisers, an event co-organised by the University of Silesia in Katowice and Ministry of Science and Higher Education, took place on 27-28 January 2020 in Katowice.

The two-day meeting was attended by almost 90 people, including both representatives of huge festivals organised jointly by local and regional universities, as well as organisers of smaller-scale events.

The 1st Forum of Polish Science Festival Organisers began on 27 January at the International Congress Centre in Katowice. The meeting was inaugurated with speeches by Prof. Andrzej Kowalczyk, Rector of the University of Silesia and Dr. Anna Budzanowska, Undersecretary of State.

The following discussion on the social responsibility of festivals, moderated by Prof. Ryszard Koziołek (General Director of ŚFN), was attended by Assoc. Prof. Krzysztof Machaczka (representative of Kraków Science and Art Festival), Assoc. Prof. Eng. Ryszard Polechoński (Community Coordinator at the Lower Silesian Science Festival), Assoc. Prof. Eng. Jacek Soroka (Professor Emeritus of the West Pomeranian University of Technology, President of Szczecin Scientific Society), Dr Zuzanna Toeplitz (Director of Warsaw Festival of Science) and Agnieszka Motyl (Director of Poznań Science and Art Festival).

Monday, 27 January also marked the signature of the letter of intent on establishing the cooperation network under the name of Agreement of Science Festival Organisers in Poland.  The founding members were 27 entities which formed the network council.  In the upcoming months, all activities under the new initiative will be coordinated by the University of Silesia in Katowice.

On the second day, the Forum participants met in the Krzysztof Kieślowski Film School at the University of Silesia. The programme of the event included panel sessions involving speakers from Poland and abroad. Social impact of popular science events, various models and operating modes of festivals, as well as problems related to event promotion, were among the issues addressed during the sessions. The speakers included: Ellie Petrie (Festival Programme Manager at the Cheltenham Science Festival in the Great Britain), Jennie Turner (Operations Manager at the Vetenskapsfestivalen (International Science Festival) in Göteborg), Prof. Ryszard Koziołek (General Director of ŚFN and Vice-Rector for Education and Student Affairs), Assoc. Prof. Aleksandra Ziembińska-Buczyńska (Director of the Science Popularization Center at the Silesian University of Technology), Assoc. Prof. Edyta Sierka (Professor of the University of Silesia, science communicator and organiser of Biologists’ Night at the Faculty of Natural Sciences at the University of Silesia), Dr Zuzanna Toeplitz (Director of Warsaw Festival of Science), Dr Mikołaj Marcela (writer, academic and pop culture researcher), Piotr Ziółkowski (Director of the Bureau for the Programmes and Initiatives of the Minister of Science and Higher Education “Science communication – social responsibility of universities”), Kasia Świętochowska (Main Coordinator of Music+Science Festival organised by the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice, Tomasz Michalski (President of Explores Knowledge Promotion Association) and Jarosław Juszkiewicz (ambassador of Silesian Science Festival KATOWICE, radio journalist and voice-over, close collaborator of Nicolaus Copernicus Silesian Planetarium in Chorzów, as well as organisers of the 4th Silesian Science Festival KATOWICE: Justyna Szostek-Aksamit (Executive Director of ŚFN), Radosław Aksamit (Press Officer of ŚFN) and Martyna Fołta (Promotion Coordinator of ŚFN).

Signature of the letter of intent concerning the establishment of the cooperation network is a response to the need for integration of the community of Polish science festival organisers. It is also intended to help the exchange of knowledge, good practices and initiate activities on a nationwide scale. The formula of the agreement is open, which will allow to increase the number of signatories over time.

The Forum participants were also invited to take part in the delegate programme organised as part of the 4th Silesian Science Festival KATOWICE. The delegate programme events, including the meeting with General Director and ambassadors of 4th ŚFN KATOWICE were attended by over 40 people.