Inspiring Australia conference, Melbourne 28-29 March 2011

I’m working my way through the possible outcomes of the recent Inspiring Australia conference. The main matter for me was the closing plenary. We were asked to vote on a number of poorly worded questions. I took issue with two points in particular. One was about whether the attendees supported Questacon overseeing the allocation of funding for projects related to IA initiatives or whether an independent committee should be established for this task. The point hadn’t been fully explored by the entire assembly and we were rushed to a vote based on minimal discussion. Let’s say that I had a brief but lively disagreement with the view that Questacon should have oversight. I think the result may lead to an advisory panel with Questacon providing the secretariat which I feel will be acceptable and time and cost efficient.

The other sore point was about a new website funded by DIISR which listed science communication events and profiles of the communicators who were the event organisers. I have no issue with the event listing but I think the listing of profiles partially duplicates what ASC has trying to do to promote the skills of its members. At this time the matter is under discussion and yet to be resolved.

Inspiring Australia should be about coordinating science communication activities in Australia and not duplicating functions of others. IA initiatives will be most effective and efficient when done in consultation with existing organisations. It seems the process needs some refinement.

I will report again when matters are made clearer.

Jesse Shore
National President

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About Jesse Shore

Jesse Shore is passionate about engaging the community with science and in looking for ways to weave together the arts and sciences. He has been developing science based exhibitions and events since 1984, and was President of the Australian Science Communicators from 2010-2012. His business, Prismatic Sciences, produced five travelling exhibitions for the Royal Australian Chemical Institute for the 2011 International Year of Chemistry and he manages the ongoing national tour. He previously worked at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney as an exhibition project leader and Senior Curator of sciences. While at the museum he was one of the founders of the Ultimo Science Festival, a major National Science Week activity. He is currently collaborating with an artist to create artworks which have a science slant.