The 2022 conference of the European Marine Science Educators Association (EMSEA) was held from the 25th to the 28th of September in Palma de Mallorca (Spain), giving the community of educators and ocean literacy practitioners across Europe and beyond the opportunity to meet again in person for the first time since the pandemic.
The conference programme was very diversified, including social gatherings, poster and oral presentations, and a large range of workshops and opportunities for discussion. The attendees were also invited to have a guided tour of the venue of the conference, i. e. the Palma Aquarium, which also included the ‘behind the scenes’ areas, in particular the coral nursery and the turtle rescue centre facilities, as well as the unique 360° Whale experience.
The EMSEA members presented their inspiring work within the four different themes of blue education (both formal and informal), careers and jobs in the blue economy, ocean technology and education, and ocean conservation. As part of the conference programme, the attendees were also involved in an outdoor workshop held on the golden beach of Palma and aimed at demonstrating and exchanging ideas about games and real 21st century skills on the seashore to be used in educational settings. Also, an ‘Open Space’ was held in two sessions over day 3 and 4 of the conference providing a great opportunity for discussions about how EMSEA can further extend the reach of ocean literacy beyond the classroom and, in this view, how the communication and collaboration among the EMSEA members can be strengthened.
The conference offered also a new opportunity to discuss the future development of the new Charter for Blue Education in Europe. In a dedicated workshop held at the end of day 2, the delegates discussed what is the best strategy for an effective implementation of the charter and who are the stakeholders that should be involved. At the end of the session, the Camden Education Trust from Ireland and the Institut de Ciències del Mar from Spain signed the Charter, joining the 10 other organisations who had already signed the document in Lisbon during the United Nations Ocean Conference last June.
The next EMSEA conference will be held in 2023. To join the community visit https://www.emsea.eu/how-join.
(Photo credits: Cushla Dromgool-Regan and Weronika Podlesińska)