WA travel grant recipient – Tamika’s trip to #ASC14

Thank you to Tamika Heiden for sharing her conference story.

Wow, what a great conference the ASC conference in Brisbane was. Being an ASC conference newbie I didn’t know what to expect. I had glanced through the program a couple of times prior to deciding to go to the conference and found that there were sessions within the program that intrigued me. One of those sessions was around Knowledge Brokering. Being a knowledge translation specialist I was interested to see how brokering was conceptualised within the science communication world here in Australia. Having been trained and worked with several Canadian KT organisations and knowledge brokers I had my own views on what this should or could be.

In my opinion the conference provided something for everyone. There were some very specific project examples of science communication from various areas, but there were also many sessions about ideas, different ways of communicating and examples of how to do this.

From start to end this conference kept me interested and informed. The opening address by Ian Lowe set the stage for what was to be an insightful and thought provoking conference. Geoff Garrett’s Ian Lowe address introduced the “baton of leadership” and inspired the audience through storytelling insights such as the video clip of “the girl effect”, an example I have since used to inspire scientists in ways of communicating their message. It was also on the first day that I went to Shawn Callahan’s Storytelling for Leaders workshop. I was uncertain of what to expect from such a session but believe that for me it was probably the most important and relevant session of the conference. Within this session Shawn so eloquently tied the content to examples of storytelling that we had seen that morning without realising they were in fact very powerful stories.

Other sessions of interest to me were the Impact session, where there was an interesting discussion around the use of communication to create impact from science. The particular focus was on the ARC’s definition of impact and the use of the term communication. Personally I believe that both the ARC and NHMRC have not yet hit the mark when it comes to their communication and expectation of research impact and translation. The other session on this day that I was indeed excited to attend was the Knowledge brokering session. It was interesting to hear people’s views and opinions within this area and although the discussion was very relevant, and indeed the use of knowledge brokers is important, there was no mention of an overarching model (knowledge translation strategy) that a knowledge broker could and should be part of within the research process.

I cannot stress enough how fantastic this conference was. I found the opportunities for networking, and the speed networking session in particular, to be abundant and positive. The variety of activities on the program from keynotes, to breakout sessions, and workshops, provided a great array of content. Congratulations must go the both the organisers and speakers for providing such a great event. I must thank the WA branch of ASC for supporting my attendance at the conference. I think I am hooked, see you in 2015!