Event review: BIG science communication summit

Thanks to Victoria Leitch, for writing this event review.

The BIG science communication summit promised to be a BIG event… and it was.

We fell in love with the critically endangered Baw Baw frog, went wild with some (suitable for work) selfies, visualised rips with purple dye at Bondi and saw Derek Muller (creator of Veritasium) berate himself on film for his own alleged pretentious douchebag-ness. We were disappointed that Craig Reucassel didn’t chair his session in Nicole Kidman-esque shorts, but you can’t win them all.

Along with the fun, however, there was a serious side to the BIG science communication summit. While our speakers used some incredible case studies to show us that we are having some real successes with science communication in Australia, our group discussions and workshops told us that we are not quite there – yet.

The collaborative format of the workshop sessions gave everyone the opportunity to raise their concerns and voice their ideas on where we should be heading in the future. Although the delegates were separated into 5 streams of discussion, the results showed that on many of the issues relating to the impediments to science communication in Australia, we are thinking the same thing. Just a few of the recurring impediments that were highlighted by the workshops were:

  • A need for defined leadership, aims and goals in science communication
  • A lack of ways to evaluate and measure projects
  • A fear or mistrust of communication, communicators and the technology involved

Like any good workshop session we raised a lot of questions, but taking it one step further than many workshops – we came up with answers. Ideas to combat the impediments above and others can be seen at the solutions page of the summit.

After two full days of science communication brainstorming, the summit culminated in a promise. A promise to do more, and in a group therapy style moment, we all made a commitment to doing our part in improving the engagement of science in Australia.

If you did miss the summit, I recommend you look at the blogs which were lovingly prepared by the amazing team of bloggers.

Thank you to the BIG science communication summit team, looking forward to the next one!