The EvoKE story: five years and counting
Xana and Kristin co-organised the education symposium at ESEB 2013 in Lisbon, where they met Tania. A year later, Kristin introduced Héloïse to the group and the planning was on for ESEB 2015 in Tania’s mountainous backyard of Lausanne. These women were the first EvoKE gardeners. While organising the ESEB 2015 events, this team read about an interdisciplinary meeting that took place in the USA to discuss solutions to improve scientific literacy in evolution. “This is really what’s missing in Europe”, they said.
The ESEB 2015 outreach events were an amazing success! Four events, including a science speed-dating and an art session organised by Szymek, and lots of media attention. For one summer, Lausanne truly became “the European capital of evolution”. And, of course, it was the birthplace of EvoKE: Evolutionary Knowledge for Everyone, a name that Tania had dreamt up the name in her sleep. The kickstart for EvoKE would be EvoKE2017, which ESEB had just agreed to fund. In the meantime, the gardeners grew a little bit more by recruiting Inga who was involved in planning the meeting.
For EvoKE2017, the gardeners seeded the community with evolutionary-minded people from diverse backgrounds. Over three days in Porto, we all laid the foundations of what is EvoKE today. Together, the fledgling EvoKE community co-constructed 10 projects and it really seemed that we could open up evolution education to everyone! After EvoKE 2017, Olaf, our first male board member increased the diversity of the team and refreshed it with his new perspectives and motivation.
Last summer was a hot one and kept the EvoKE community bubbling away crowd-sourcing the EuroScitizen COST Action. The core team met regularly over Skype: Evangelia from Greece, Roberto from Spain, Szymek from Poland, Héloïse from France, and Tania from Switzerland. And, even better, another 20 or so EvoKE seeds from the community read, reviewed or provided content for the various drafts. It was a community-driven effort indeed!
While- nervously- waiting for the response from the EU, about 35 very active EvoKE members were working to build EvoKE further, forming groups dealing with communication, structure, national representatives, and planning for EvoKE2019 in Split, Croatia!
Fast forward to April 2018.
Shock! The EU funds the EuroScitizen COST Action. Amazement, tears, and joy!
A four-year mandate and numerous opportunities to all meet again in person to co-construct the future of scientific literacy!
What’s next? You! Come to us with your ideas or just your enthusiasm and let’s see where the EvoKE community can take you! Sow your seeds in EvoKE and let us nurture your evolutionary ideas!
To be continued …