Background of APA
The African Planetarium Association (APA) has been created to become a network of planetaria and their development across Africa. APA is an affiliate of the International Planetarium Society (IPS) and has representation on the IPS board. APA would therefore become the link between the planetaria in Africa with those in the rest of the world. APA was launched at the Iziko museum and Digital Dome in Cape Town in March 2019, alongside the re-launch of the African Astronomical Society.
In early April 2020 the APA and AfAS executive boards have agreed that, for the first year of operation, the APA will operate under the umbrella of AfAS. This agreement will be reviewed at the end of the first year. As part of this arrangement it has been decided that the allocated APA intern will be based in the AfAS office space at SAAO (supervised by Dr Lucia Marchetti, member of the APA executive board) and the APA budget will be stored in the AfAS bank account until further notice. Although the APA will operate in this way, it has been agreed that the APA will maintain total independence in its projects.
APA activities will include the following:
- Coordinate the International network of planetaria across Africa and serves as reference toward the IPS members outside Africa.
- Participation in conferences and events to market and grow the APA community and its expertise. These events will include National and International Science events and planetarium events e.g. World Space Week, Global Astronomy Month, International Planetarium Day, National Science week, International day of the girl child etc;
- Create awareness of available planetarium resources within the APA community and develop resources of special relevance to the African contexts;
- Organize regional conferences;
- Promote regional workshops and training on planetarium technology and software, communication skills and voice training for presenters, production of planetarium content;
- Promote student training programmes to enable them to contribute to planetaria as presenters and operators, with technical support and through participation in outreach activities;
- Promote exchange programs for African planetarians to access training in the IPS communities;
- Foster the collaboration with African based science centres to enrich science communication and education, in particular in astronomy;
- Promote astro and eco-tourism;
- Share information on planetarium software and hardware, full dome videos and films, and educational resources with APA members with emphasis on resources that are freely available;
- Promoting the creation of local African planetarium contents to be showcase both in Africa and internationally;
- Promote fundrise activities to support APA and planetaria in connection with local government and non-government Institutions;
- Negotiate with IPS discounts for African members to attend global meetings, conferences and workshops;
- Negotiate with planetarium service providers to have discounted rates for their products.