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ASTROArts Blog from Thilina Heenatigala

In Conversation with Jancy McPhee

AWB AstroArts Project chair, Daniela De Paulis in a conversation with Jancy McPhee, Director of the Humans in Space Youth Art Competition , an international project to inspire youth to think about and creatively communicate what they believe is the future of human spaceflight and why it is important. How did the idea for the competition start? The competition idea began from a convergence of several things back in 2009. First, I had just taken “innovation” training; so, I was actively trying to keep my mind open to my own seemingly “crazy” ideas. Second, morale in the US space program was a bit low, since space funding was tight, and the Shuttle was retiring; thus, I was thinking that we needed some new ideas and some re-inspiring. Third, although I am trained as a research scientist, between us, my family members and I have dabbled in writing, drawing, music, and theater; so I had some layman’s appreciation for the power of artistic conceptualization and communication. Lastly, and the reason for the timing of the idea, I was on the planning committee for the 18th International Academy of Astronautics’ (IAA) Humans in Space Symposium, occurring in April 2011 in Houston, Texas, my home town. The Symposium theme that year was “Planning for the Next Golden Age of Human Space Flight”. Although most people probably find it obvious that the future of space belongs to the children of today, I was not really struck with the implications of that fact until I was participating in one of... Read More..