The first ever IMAGINARY Exhibition-Workshop held in Africa from 5-7 November 2014, was hosted at AIMS South Africa in Muizenberg. The event was organized by the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences – Next Einstein Initiative (AIMS-NEI), IMAGINARY and the Mathematisches Forschungsinstitut Oberwolfach in Germany.

IMAGINARY is an interactive travelling exhibition curated by the Mathematisches Forschungsinstitut Oberwolfach. It presents visualisations, interactive installations, virtual realities, 3D objects and their theoretical background in algebraic geometry and singularity theory, in an attractive and understandable manner. Demonstrations for all audiences provide insights into the theoretical background.

At the opening of the event, Dr Andreas Matt, a representative from IMAGINARY said, “We are very excited to be hosting this exhibition in Africa for the first time. It is also the first time that the exhibition is being combined with a workshop to share ideas and plan future scientific and educational public engagement/outreach activities with peers in Africa on maths communication.”

Prof Barry Green, AIMS South Africa Director welcomed everyone to the opening and said, “We are very proud to be hosting this exhibition in our centre. Our students, local school children, students from local universities and the public are able to experience the uniqueness of this exhibition.” The exhibition featured extraordinary images and 3D prints, and visitors had the opportunity to talk to mathematicians, watch fascinating movies, be creative at interactive computer stations and create their own mathematical artwork! The exhibition also included a series of hands-on exhibits from the UNESCO mathematics exhibition “Experiencing Mathematics”.

A Science Slam event titled “From the Big Bang to the Brain” took place on Friday 7 November at 2pm. The participants were Philip Southey from UCT, Justine Nasejje from UKZN and Savannah Nuwagaba from Stellenbosch University. All three talks were very interesting and Philip was announced as the winner.

The goal of the IMAGINARY workshop was to showcase interactive mathematics learning tools, to work on dedicated activities for Africa, and to jointly plan future activities. Participants in the IMAGINARY workshop shared experiences and challenges in presenting and applying mathematics internationally with a focus on the African continent; networked with AIMS, IMAGINARY/MFO representatives, and other partners in the field of mathematics and sciences; and planned outreach activities in various African countries.