Date: Wed. 14 December 2022
Time: 19h30-22h
Location: Permeke Library, De Coninckplein 25-26, 2060 Antwerp

Free admission. Register via

Watch the full lecture here.

Learning something at a fair? It might seem hard to imagine for generations who grew up with the Sinksenfoor. With her project SciFair (Science at the Fair), Nele Wynants investigates how travelling forains and museums played an important role in the dissemination of science, knowledge and visual culture to a wide audience.

A hundred years ago, when modern means of communication were in their infancy and few could read, many people relied on travelling shows and exhibitions for their information. In anatomical cabinets, zoological and anthropological museums and scientific theatre shows, travelling showpeople demonstrated 'wonders of nature' and spectacular scientific developments. All at the annual fair.

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In this 'science café', Nele Wynants talks about the role itinerant forains played in spreading information about scientific and technological progress in Western Europe between 1850 and 1914. SciFair hypothesises that fairs in that period were not only local folk festivals, but also hubs of international exchange.

SciFair ( is a multidisciplinary team of researchers, coordinated by Nele Wynants, and funded by the European Union. Nele is an arts and theatre scholar at the Antwerp Research Institute for the Arts (ARIA) at the University of Antwerp.