MeetMeTonight, going head-to-head with research
An official event of the European Night of Researchers, MeetMeTonight is a major civic gathering organised ever year at the end of September, and made possible thanks to a partnership amongst the University of Milan “La Statale”, Milan-Bicocca, Milan Polytechnic, and the Municipality of Milan. That list has, for the past several years, included the Frederick II University of Naples, along with other Italian and European institutional partners.
In the Indro Montanelli gardens at Porta Venezia (now a well-established location for the most recent editions of this event), it takes event planners just a few days to set up a pop-up citadel. At an array of exhibitor booths featuring researchers talking about their work, kids and adults alike get the chance to try their hand at conducting an experiment.
There are five themed areas in which to dive into the offerings of the various university departments: the environment, health, culture and society, cultural heritage, science and technology, offering a lens through which to engage the public at large in issues relating to scientific-research processes, which are then linked to the social impact visible in our daily life.
The first to get to explore the new exhibitor booths each year are school kids: groups of children and young adults accompanied by their teachers. The very first day of the event is dedicated to them!
From the afternoon and well into the evening, everyone (young and old alike) gets to take centre stage during the two days of MeetMeTonight. Ready to open their minds to the more puzzling aspects of science, brimming with curiosity, they join a team of scientists (now transformed into narrators, performers, and wacky characters) on hand to make the joy of research and experiments accessible to everyone, for the common good.
Films, performances, interactive videos, lectures and meetings round out a slate of events that now includes chances to meet the scientists and stars of the events before the show, play-debates using the now well-established “PlayDecide” format certified by the European Commission which allows us to gain an understanding, analyse, and discuss, from a variety of viewpoints, those complex issues that ignite public debate.
In addition to Milan, MeetMeTonight involves other cities in the Lombardy Region – Brescia, Castellanza, Cremona, Edolo, Lecco, Lodi, Mantua, Monza, Sondrio – as well as Portici and Procida in Campania.