Dr Stuart Kohlhagen

PSM, Manager Science and Technology Questacon Science and Technology Centre, Canberra

Informally Informed

Dr Kohlhagen holds a PhD from the Australian National University (1988) in the area of drug resistance and energy metabolism in parasites. He has worked with Questacon for the past 35 years, working with the founding Director to help establish many aspects of the current centre’s activities. During this time he has led the design and development of interactive exhibits on a wide range of topics. He has also helped shape and deliver many of the programs, shows and demonstrations that form a key part of the centre’s activities and outreach programs. He served a lead role in the master planning for the centre’s expansion, and has led the delivery of numerous international workshops on exhibit development and the scoping and development of new science centres internationally. He has been especially active in recent years supporting professional development of Science centre staff from diverse countries, including Vanuatu, Fiji, New Zealand, South Africa, Indonesia, Korea, Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Samoa. In 2000 he was awarded the Public Service medal for his contribution to informal science education, and in 2013 won the “Iron Science Teacher” competition at the renowned Exploratorium’s Teachers Institute. He is closely involved with the University of Canberra – School of Science and Education – in facilitating the development of the new Masters of Teaching course. He has contributed papers to several ASTC and ASPAC conferences. He is currently President of ASTEN, The Australian Science and Technology Exhibitors Network.


Science centres are the mix masters of organisations. Their idiosyncratic origins, their global connectivity, their survival and growth as “optional destinations”, and their diverse working relationships with the more formal education system provides a fertile sandbox to explore and observe learning spaces. Stuart brings his trowel and bucket to dig out some observations and insights, and discuss how the changing needs and demands on the education system are being supported by the right type of sand castle.

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