Helsinki has been the World Design Capital in 2012. “Although the design year is coming to an end, its idea will live on”, writes Pekka Timonen, the director of the project, in the recently published issue of Helsinki Info, which is distributed to all residents of Helsinki. http://wdchelsinki2012.fi/en
It is also my belief that thoughts about the design year will remain floating over Helsinki – thoughts that will further strengthen the characteristics of openness and modernity for which Helsinki already has a reputation. It is a great pleasure to have the opportunity to invite science journalists from around the world to my home city Helsinki next summer to continue this thinking!
In spite of my obvious partiality with respect to Helsinki, I believe that also here we will be practicing the very same critical thinking in the public sphere, which is the theme of our conference. And already in the speeches of the opening event on June 24th, 2013 we will be going into the core of the matter: freedom of expression.
Last week, over a year after the World Conference of Science journalists, Doha hosted the UN Climate Conference. The reports coming from there have made for increasingly grim reading. Naturally, the climate theme is a topic that will be the focus of much attention at the Helsinki conference. On Thursday, June 27th, the topic of the morning plenary will be “What do you mean ‘climate change?”, and throughout the day we will consider the matter from the point of view of a science journalist from a number of angles.
A science journalist is a person who sees and experiences things, and who interprets them and passes them on. The roles alternate, and we will have the opportunity in Helsinki for extensive discussions on what these roles might be. On the morning of June 26th, the plenary invites participants to examine the work of a science journalist “from all corners of the internet”, and the afternoon plenary on the same day, “Open arenas: The recasting of roles in science communication?” calls for the examination of our new roles in the world of the internet.
Finns are at their best in the middle of the summer. We enjoy having our guests join us in our quirky activities: to saunas on our lakes and seashores, to dance in nature, to share in the excitement of a game of pesäpallo, the national sport bearing more than just a slight resemblance to baseball. Please feel free to join us in these opportunities to incubate thoughts!