After the Bridging Event at the Planetarium in Brussels and the active participation in the Zero Conference at the United Nations in Vienna, the IAU100 Inspiring Stars travelling exhibition on inclusive astronomy projects has arrived in Italy.
The exhibition is an IAU100 Global Project and aims to present scientific activities accessible to all audiences. Inclusion is understood in the most general sense possible, not only towards disabilities but also towards the limitation of the opportunities to understand and participate in all the processes of the astronomy science.
With the close collaboration of the INAF (National Institute for Astrophysics) and the Italian NOC/IAU100 Stefano Sandrelli , this traveling exhibition arrived in Italy where the first stage of Inspiring stars took place on 23 February at the Rebibbia facility. Two of the promoters – Maria Rosaria D’Antonio and Wanda Mercedez Diaz – presented some of the activities together with the INAF researchers, including Silvia Casu dell 'INAF-OAC, Francesco D’Alessio and Riccardo Leoni of INAF-OAR, Stefania Varano of INAF-IRA and Prof. Nicoletta Lanciano. The event was organized thanks to the work Director Rossella Santoro, Luigi Giannelli, Alessandro Reale and Paolo Masini, president of ROMABPA, that involved nearly forty inmates in an open meeting with the astronomers, who presented their ideas and projects on the theme of inclusion through astronomy.
To eliminate potential discomfort and to foster an environment of total mutual respect and inclusion, the inmates welcomed the delegation of Inspiring Stars with an engaging and passionate musical interlude with Constantin Marian and Ferdinando Ciarelli. The astronomy presentations proceeded, and after the tactile exploration of the 3D models of the project „A touch of the Universe”, the astronomers displayed a multisensory representation of invisible data. This activity sought to demonstrate the humanistic nature of modern astrophysics, composed of numbers that need not be translated into images, but can become tactile or sound stimuli. Furthermore, the functioning of a telescope and the functionalities of the innovative system were revealing through sounds the characteristics of the observed objects. By the end of the event, one of the inmates expressed that he would make a special theme song for Inspiring Stars, giving continuity to the exchange.
The Inspiring Stars events continued during the Italian Space Agency (ASI) meeting on 25 February, accompanied by a presentation by Wanda Diaz Merced. The Inspiring Stars activities will continue throughout the year, in different stages in Italian and international territory, with more dedicated events scheduled in the upcoming months.