Thank you to Joan Leach for the update.
Still taking the conference in…
I’ve attended a lot of conferences over the years and fashions in conferencing certainly change—there is a ‘pre-conference’ mania, the 4 day multi-streamed headspin, the International plenary shock-and-awe—and this year the ASC went for a one-day plenary with wide but high-quality programming, association with the World Festival of Science, and opportunities for networking. I haven’t had that much fun and been so engaged in a conference in a fair while.
I am still sitting with a copy of David Throsby’s “Economics and Culture”—in a great session curated by Lisa Bailey at RiAus, Professor Throsby and colleagues, Professor Julian Meyrick and Dr Tully Barnett—really put the question to science communicators about how much our industry is worth and how best to express that (hint: not in dollars). This question of the value of science communication and value in science communication is just so important. I’m reminded of Dr Melanie McKenzie who said to me, “and who decides what value science communication has, anyway?” Indeed. I’m sorry she isn’t alive to help me in my reflections on that conference session, but for me, it was a turning point for the field. WE need to articulate our value—in a narrative—and not be bullied by dollar signs.
I’m also really appreciative of the session Heather Catchpole curated with the best of new modes for doing science communication—in video, through art, in journalism, with obvious passion.
You can read our Chief Scientists opening speech here, but what you can’t read is the obvious affiliation he has with science communication. Sometimes we need to recognize when we have an advocate who ‘gets it’. Our current Chief Scientist ‘gets’ science communication.
We’d like to come off this high of this conference with a plan for the next. So, if your organisation would like to make a day-plenary conference happen again, let us know. We’re looking for bidders for the next ASC conference. Multi-streamed, shock-and-awe, plenary…pitch us!