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9 November 2021 - 12 November 2021
Hands On! Conference 2021: Hands On – into the future


Johanna Pirker


Johanna Pirker is a computer scientist focusing on game development, research, and education and an active and strong voice of the local indie dev community. She has lengthy experience in designing, developing, and evaluating games and VR experiences and believes in them as tools to support learning, collaboration, and solving real problems. Johanna has started in the industry as QA tester at EA and still consults studios in the field of games user research. In 2011/12 she started researching and developing VR experiences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At the moment she is Ass. Prof. for game development at TU Graz and researches games with a focus on AI, HCI, data analysis, and VR technologies. Johanna was listed on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list of science professionals.

At Hands On! Conference 2021, Johanna Pirker takes a closer look at the entertainment industry, focusing on the most successful entertainment medium of all time: video games.

Richard Sandell and Ceciel Brouwer

Photo©Hayley Evans

Richard Sandell is Professor in the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester and co-director of the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (RCMG). His research and practice, carried out in collaboration with museums, galleries and heritage organisations, explores the potential that museums might play in supporting human rights, social justice and equality. Recent collaborations include the award-winning Prejudice and Pride LGBTQ heritage programme, 2017-19, with the National Trust, a new permanent gallery – Being Human – at the Wellcome Collection, that explored ethically informed approaches to portraying disability and HumanKind, a ground breaking collaboration (2018-2021) with the National Trust that explores the potential for culture to tackle social isolation and loneliness. His most recent books include - Museums, Moralities and Human Rights (2017) and Museum Activism (with Robert R. Janes) (2019), winner of the Canadian Museums Association’s award for Outstanding Achievement for Research in the Cultural Heritage Sector and nominee in The Best in Heritage Awards 2021.

Photo©Andrew Tomlinson

Ceciel Brouwer is a postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries, at the School of Museum Studies in the University of Leicester. She obtained an ESRC Fellowship in 2020 and was previously Research Associate in the Research Centre, during which she contributed to collaborations with the National Trust and the Museum of London. Since completing her doctoral training programme, for which she was funded by the AHRC’s Midlands4Cities consortium and collaborated with Tate Modern and the International Slavery Museum, Brouwer has focused on museum ethics, censorship and children’s rights, areas in which she also delivers teaching. She is currently publishing a monograph on children’s representation in museums and developing an edited volume on Children’s Museology co-authored by Monica Patterson (Carleton University).

At Hands On! Conference 2021,  Ceciel Brouwer and Richard Sandell make the case for a new discourse, a critical Children’s Museology that intersects with the recent transformations in museum activism and social agency. 

Elizabeth Rasekoala

Photo©Elizabeth Rasekoala

Elizabeth Rasekoala is currently the President of African Gong – the Pan-African Network for the Popularization of Science & Technology and Science Communication, which aims to advance the Public Learning and Understanding of Science (PLUS), scientific outreach/public engagement and scientific literacy on the African continent (www.africangong.org). Dr Rasekoala, with a professional background in Chemical Engineering and industry internationally, has championed, advocated, researched, presented and written widely on public innovation and transformative development through advancing diversity, socio-cultural inclusion and gender equality issues in science, communication and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, skills and entrepreneurship development. She has provided extensive advisory and consultancy expertise to various governments, institutions and multilateral international organisations over the past 20 years, including the European Commission, the UN Commission on Human Rights, the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), UNESCO, the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). Dr Rasekoala has recently been honoured by the Natural Science Museum of Barcelona with the 2019 NAT AWARD for her longstanding work on advancing inclusion, diversity and equity in science communication globally.

At Hands On! Conference 2021,  Elizabeth Rasekoala will deliver the keynote speech “Future-proofing today’s children and youth to become scientifically engaged future adults”.

Parallel Session and Future Talk Speakers

Margaret Middleton

Margaret Middleton is an independent exhibit designer currently based in Belfast and working at the intersection of design and social justice. They serve as a Museums Association regional representative for Northern Ireland. Middleton has a degree in industrial design from the Rhode Island School of Design and over 15 years of experience working in the museum field.

Middleton developed the Family Inclusive Language Chart in 2014 and consults with museums on implementing family inclusive practice. Their writing has been published in the Journal of Museum Education, Exhibition (NAME), Dimensions (ASTC), and Museum magazine (AAM).

Photo(c)Matthew Clowney

Sarai Lenzberger

Sarai Lenzberger is working as excecutive assistant, communication officer and project coordinator for Hands On! International Association of Children in Museums. As part of the 21st Century Children project team she has conducted intensive research and mapping of the children in museums sector. Her academic education in applied cultural sciences and previous professional experiences in the exhibition team of Frida & freD children’s museum Graz, and visitor service at Universal Museum Joanneum helped her to gain a brought understanding of children-focused museum work. 

Elisabeth Wohlschlager

Having studied architecture in the first place, Elisabeth started working at FRida & freD in 2003, and since then was designing exhibits and exhibitions for the Children’s Museum. In this way she was involved in design and development of hundreds of exhibits and collected a huge expertise as well as a lot of questions about exhibit safety and reliability. 

From 2019 Elisabeth additionally attended the master’s course Technical Documentation at FH Joanneum in Graz. In her master thesis, she dealt with useful and compliant technical documentation of hands-on-exhibits. Experiences, assessments and requirements of specialists from the hands-on museum area were obtained and evaluated, and the legal framework was fathomed out. 

Knowing exhibit development and the associated challenges like the back of her hand, Elisabeth tries to outline the individual steps to realize the development of compliant and safe hands-on-exhibits and their technical documentation.


Foto© FRida & freD

Molly Fannon 

Molly Fannon is the CEO of The Museum for the United Nations - UN Live, a global organisation with a mission to connect people everywhere to the UN’s work and values. UN Live works to unleash the power of culture to engage people at scale towards a more sustainable, just and inclusive world. Before joining UN Live, Molly was the Director of the Smithsonian’s Office of International Relations and Global Programme, where she transformed the Institution’s approach to global engagement. At the Smithsonian, her portfolio spanned the entire Institution, from the sciences, to art, culture, and education. Molly's professional experience prior to this cuts across multiple sectors and more than 40 countries. A Fulbright scholar in Argentina and later a UNESCO World Heritage Advisor in Mozambique, Molly's academic background focused on the intersection of cultural heritage and development.

Antonella Russo-Ball

With a background in hand-drawn animation and ceramics, Antonella is passionate about how creativity can be transformative.

She lives in London and is a UKCP and MBACP registered Integrative Child Psychotherapist who works with creative processes and the arts in all her work.

Antonella has a significant practice supporting, managing, supervising and educating many students and practitioners who work with children, young people and adults.

Through a wide range of different roles and responsibilities, she has delivered many different interventions for children and young people that supported personal, social and emotional development including creative workshops, clubs, Massage-In-Schools Programme and clinical work. 

Antonella worked alongside social workers, psychologists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and other allied health professionals.

Antonella was also a Tutor on the London Met undergraduate course 'Communication Skills for Work with Children' for four years.

She currently trains Module 4 MA Terapia students of Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy on ‘Trauma Awareness’, whilst creating and maintaining a clinical Private Practice, called Arts & Therapy Sanctuary, alongside a team of allied professionals and artists dreaming of co-creating a society where no one is left behind.

Antonella’s interest in the healing power of the arts, improving well-being, trauma recovery and social justice continues to inform all of her work and life.

Kim Bryan

Kim Bryan,MA , ATR  is a Registered Art Therapist, visual artist, and writer. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Art Therapy from Derby University. She has worked in various settings with children, adolescents, and adults regionally and internationally. These settings include residential and educational placements for children with severe disabilities, emotional and behavioral disorders, and youth offenders. She has worked in collaboration with several UN agencies providing humanitarian support to refugees and vulnerable migrants, online art therapy  initiatives and facilitating community resilience projects. She currently works in Private Practice and provides consultancies designing and implementing psychosocial support programming for persons impacted by domestic violence and community-based art therapy interventions to support marginalized communities. Kim Bryan is a Director of the Art Therapy Association of Trinidad and Tobago. Her research interest focuses on the transmission of generational trauma in the diaspora and how art therapy can be used in community-based settings to support healing and change.

Elisabeth Feinig

Elisabeth Feinig is a museum educator from Vienna, Austria.Her focus is on sustainability and environmental issues.

She studied graphic & communication design and environmental education.

In 2019 she was one of the initiators of "Museums For Future", an alliance of the Fridays For Future movement. Since then, as coordinator of "Museums For Future Austria", she has been working locally and internationally for a climate-just future. She has previously been involved with civil society engagement at the Local Agenda 21 and as a founding member and board member of the social bookstore "Books4Life Wien". 

Her portfolio as a museum educator includes concepts for different ages, with a strong focus on younger audiences. She has also been involved in exhibition projects as a designer and curator. For example on "Corona Impact. An-Denken in 17 Stationen", a pop-up exhibition at the „Technisches Museum Wien“, which was about COVID-19 and the UN's SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).

She is currently studying the /ecm master's program in exhibition theory & practice at the „University of Applied Arts Vienna“.

Photo(c)Ines Futterknecht

Anna Krez

Anna Krez (M.A.) is a paintings conservator in private practice in and around Heidelberg, Germany. She has been working as a conservator in different museums in Germany, Austria, Egypt and the USA.

 Besides her work as a conservator, Anna is currently also lecturing around topics of sustainability, change, community work and critical thinking at various universities.

 As an environmental activist, she has co-founded Museums For Future Germany and is or was active in multiple initiatives around the topics of sustainability reaching from greener cities, food waste to outdoor outings with inner-city children. She is currently also politically active as a district council in the old-city center of Heidelberg.

 In her work and volunteer activities, she is focusing on very practical and easy steps of making change and sustainability happen. Empowering people to take action themselves is, in her opinion, a great way to inspire diverse solutions to individual and collective problems in our communities, raise awareness and make improvements now, in and for the future.

Photo(c)Felix Dräger

Tereza Dobiasova

Tereza Dobiasova studied dramaturgy and directing at the Theatre Faculty of Academy of Musical Arts in Prague. After a short engagement as dramaturge, she founded a theatre group integrating foreigners into society, the Children of Colour. She was leading it from 2008 till 2012 artistically, as well as organisationally, and was experimenting with art as a tool of building up social cohesion and engagement. In these years, she also encountered the concept of children museums. 

2012 she became a director of a local gallery dedicated to children book illustration, Sladovna Pisek. In the next five years, she transformed it with success into the major Czech children museum, loved by families in the whole country, also recognised internationally. 

2017 founded an UUUL Institute with the goal to open up a children museum in Prague. Since then, she writes, accompanies as consultant newly appearing hybrid museums in Czech Republic, develops and artistically leads theatre and exposition projects with intensive audience participation.  

2014 she became a Board member of Hands On! International. 2018 she stepped down in order to create content for the EU project, 21st Century Children. 

Photo(c)Marek Podhora

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