PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology


The sky as a laboratoy

Maria Helena Steffani  

Brazil and many others countries in the world exhibit a set of social inequalities in different areas such as the distribution of wealth, access to education, health and culture and the appropriation of scientific and technological knowledge. Inclusive issues involve much more than merely political measures. It is up to every sector of society to develop appropriate strategies to create conditions so that everyone can live with reasonable quality of life and acquire expertise that afford them better opportunities and mechanisms for citizen life. The Specialization Course in Cultural Accessibility, developed by Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) in partnership with the Ministry of Culture and agreement with Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), proposes the training of specialists in cultural accessibility to act in implementing inclusive processes of aesthetic fruitions, artistic and cultural, focused people with disabilities, in order to encourage their participation in scientific and cultural environments. The Planetarium of UFRGS has been selected as the home field for the implementation of cultural scientific accessibility technologies existing as well as new tools. Planetariums are interdisciplinary non-formal educational spaces dedicated to divulgate astronomy and science and they must have adequate conditions to care for groups with special needs, the elderly and other ones. Otherwise, there are many people that are absolutely excluded of the working day in planetariums: people that are mental health users. There are two different groups: patients of psychiatric hospital and patients that live in special psychiatric residences after long period of internment in the hospital. "The sky as a laboratory" is a proposal for strategies to provide users of mental health services the pleasure to extend their boundaries of knowledge through the contact with the sky.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.