ASC Co-Presidents’ Message, Jirana Boontanjai and Tom Carruthers

The months really do seem to rush faster and faster as we approach the end of the year! We’re working hard on the February 2023 conference, but it’s a lot of load on the tiny conference team whose personal/professional lives are very busy. If you can spare some time and help us out, please get in touch. We aim to have more communication about the conference coming out this month, stay tuned.

Also, we’d like to share that the 2022 AGM will be held on November 16. We strongly encourage any members who are interested in assisting ASC in establishing the new strategic plan to join the committee, no prior experience is necessary. All we ask is for passion and some time to support the ASC into its new era. All financial members are requested to RSVP for the AGM, and for those who can’t attend, please submit a proxy using the same form.

We’re also keen to share that through the strategic review, we’ve identified a gap in opportunities for honours and masters students completing research projects in science communication. In response, we’ve initiated an annual symposium in November for these students to present their research to the wider ASC community. We’re currently looking for submissions, and once a date is confirmed, we will advertise the event for attendees and encourage the entire SciComm community to come along and support these students. Keep an eye on SCOPE, the ASC-List and social media for updates and progress on all of the above.

J&T

ASC Co-Presidents’ Message, Jirana Boontanjai and Tom Carruthers

An internal delay with us sending SCOPE this month has meant we are coinciding with the day much of the world pauses to acknowledge the passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. We acknowledge her significant impact on the world over the past 70 years as Australia’s Monarch, and pay our respects. We’ve written a little more on this below.

We made it to September – we hope you’ve had a grand science week and hopefully a few days to rest and recharge after what will have been a very busy month for many in our community.

We’re nearing the final stages of our discovery process as part of the strategic review. We recognise that not everyone was able to attend the roundtables, so the team is underway with a form that covers the broad concepts covered. We will send out a note via the ASC mail list and on our socials as soon as it is ready, along with a more detailed update on the whole process, so keep an eye out.

Last week we held what was the last of our National Council meetings for the year (the next time we all get together will be the AGM in November). It was a great moment to take stock and look forward to next year. Most excitingly, we finalised the date for the next ASC conference. Get in touch via the form linked in the below segment if you’ve an interest in being involved with the organising committee.

Until next month, T&J

ASC Co-Presidents’ Message, Jirana Boontanjai and Tom Carruthers

Welcome to possibly the busiest STEM event month in the year. For those not in the outreach sector, National Science Week is around the corner, held this year 13-21 August. There is still time to register an event on the national website – even if it is a private one. This small step helps demonstrate to our national leaders the interest and passion of the STEM outreach movement in Australia, and helps justify the continued national support for the festival.

If you are running an event, remember that both JCOM and PUS journals accept case studies. The evaluation resources available on the science week website can help, and there are academics within the membership who are keen to assist. Reach out to us if you’re keen for us to put you in touch with someone who can help.

For those of you who are regular readers of SCOPE, you’ll know that the Executive Committee has been dedicating the majority of our resources into the ASC strategy revision over the past 7 months. With the conclusion of 4 public and 1 internal round table (and a number of targeted interviews), this process is well underway. There’s still more to complete over the coming months, but we are quietly confident the effort will be worth it, resulting in a valuable and implementable strategy the whole membership can get behind. 

It is our vision to have a draft strategic plan outlined for the organisation in time for discussion and review at the next conference that we hope to hold within 9 months. We will soon be assembling a conference committee so if you’re keen to be involved, please get in touch.

And finally, while we are proud of the progress we have made this year toward the strategy and operational review, our passion for events has us itching to deliver something not centred on strategic review. We’ve a shortlist of ideas and will be putting the word out very soon on some exciting things to get involved with.

All the very best of health and success for Science Week.

T&J

ASC Co-Presidents’ Message, Jirana Boontanjai and Tom Carruthers

Last month we held the first two of our publicly-accessible roundtable discussions. These sessions captured ideas from members, potential members and non-members on what core value the ASC could and should provide the membership and how we might expand our support of the sector.

Thank you to those of you who donated your time to attend. We have already identified several cohesive themes from the sessions, and are confident that this work will result in a strong forward-looking strategy for the organisation. 

The next two public roundtables will focus on refining our communication channels and identifying gaps and opportunities for the ASC to support our community via awards and bursaries. These sessions will be held on July 16 and 17 – register here.

Finally, there will be opportunities for those not able to attend to contribute in the coming months. Keep an eye on SCOPE and the mail list to ensure your voice is heard.

New discounted membership type: Corporate Linked Individual

We are delighted to announce a new heavily discounted membership type.

For just $52/annum, individuals whose employer maintains a current Corporate membership with the ASC are eligible to join the ASC as a ‘Corporate Linked Individual’ member.

To check if your employer maintains a Corporate membership see here: http://www.asc.asn.au/corporate-members/

How do I join?
Join as usual from the ASC website:
http://www.asc.asn.au/join/

Click join now to be taken to the membership type page:
https://www.scicomm.network/general/register_member_type.asp?

Select the Corporate Linked Individual member type.

Continue through the membership form making sure that you register using your work email address matching that of a current Corporate member.

When it comes to payment there are two options:
1. Bill Me – selecting this will automatically generate an invoice with details for later payment including bank transfers.
2. Credit card – pay immediately on credit card and receive the matching invoice.

The new membership will go to an approval queue in the admin dashboard to verify your work email address. Once approved by the admin the membership is fully functional for 12 months from the date the membership was approved and for as long as your employer maintains their Corporate membership.
How do I switch my membership type? For existing eligible members who wish to change their membership type please contact office@asc.asn.au to convert your membership for the next renewal date.

Time to voice your thoughts: The ASC Working Groups

As mentioned in previous blogs, the national committee were in the process of creating working groups focussed on different areas of improvement within the ASC with the intention to redefine ourselves, our strategic direction and increase overall engagement and value of the membership. After our quick poll, we’ve decided to pivot and change the style of engagement to address the interest and availability of members to participate. 

As such, instead of the original concept of working groups, national will run a series of facilitated roundtable discussions where it is encouraged for members past, present and future to attend, along with representatives from organisations within the sector. After these sessions, national will collate the feedback and identify the future direction of the ASC.

In these sessions, participants will discuss prompting questions where their answers will be compiled and sent to the committee for further discussion and where possible, implementation.

These sessions will be broken up into four sessions starting at 3pm AEST | 2:30pm ACST | 1pm AWST: 

Roundtable 1 (June 18. 3-5:30pm AEST): Membership & Branches

Roundtable 2 (June 19. 3-5:30pm AEST): Conferences and Events

Roundtable 3 (July 16. 3-5:30pm AEST): Communications

Roundtable 4 (July 17. 3-5:30pm AEST): Awards & Bursaries

Attendance is not mandatory but strongly encouraged to ensure you get the most out of your membership. All sessions will be run as individual events, so you can hop in and out as your schedule allows, but if you can attend them all, please do! If you would like to have your voice heard however are unable to attend the related session, please still register as we hope to send communications prior/post the session which will allow for further engagement during/after the event.

All sessions will be run via Zoom, please register via the above links and share with your related communities and encourage attendance from your organisation, where relevant. It is strongly recommended that corporate members have at least one representative from their organisation attend.

If you have any questions in the lead up please feel free to send an email to: president@asc.asn.au 

May ASC Co-Presidents’ Message, Jirana Boontanjai and Tom Carruthers

The lead up to May stirs strong memories for us. Before becoming the ASC presidents, our April and May would be filled with hundreds (if not thousands) of messages, emails, meetings and volunteers preparing for the Pint of Science festival. This year, although not filled with Pints, our personal lives have exploded with house moves, new jobs, renovations and family visits. It’s been hectic!

We’ve still managed to progress a few things, albeit slower than we’d normally like. There’s been some cool activity reestablishing dormant branches. A steering committee is forming in preparation for a newly elected Melbourne committee by the next national AGM. Sarah Bradley and the team will be coordinating events throughout the rest of the year to help kickstart re-establishing the branch. Please reach out if you’re keen to contribute in Melbourne. In Adelaide, a similar model is being run by Lisa Bailey and we are sure she will accept any local help. Finally, we want to hear from anyone who would be willing to help reignite activity in NSW/Sydney. Please do get in touch to find out how you can get involved and what support the national team can give you.

As mentioned in our last update, we are still looking for interested individuals to help us shape the future activity and direction of the ASC. You can find out more HERE (we’ve fixed the form!). Please don’t hesitate to get in contact if you want more information.

There’s an ongoing project to develop a publicly accessible Business Directory for ASC members to have their services listed on the website. We are trying to prioritise this work to make sure this happens but want to understand who wants to use it so that we can make it most useful. If you would be interested in being listed in such a directory, please fill in this form at your earliest convenience as we are very keen to have something up as soon as possible.

Finally, some international news. Tom is now representing Australia and the ASC on the preparatory committee of the World Organization for Science Literacy and was introduced to the committee at the first meeting of the year. There are some very exciting projects starting and underway where there is the opportunity for the ASC to play a leading role. There are also some potential paid and volunteer opportunities for ASC members to contribute to the work of WOSL. You can find out more about WOSL at their website and Tom will update us via the ASC blog and this newsletter when more information is available.

April ASC Co-Presidents’ Message, Jirana Boontanjai and Tom Carruthers

The months are flying fast! We’re definitely looking forward to our Easter break.

With the Executive Committee, we’ve initiated a process of reviewing the current situation that the ASC finds itself in, and to prioritise short, medium and long term activities that will make the ASC more resilient to external pressures, more valuable to its members, and more relevant within the sector. To best achieve this though, we need the best minds in the business – that’s where you come in! Shortly there will be a formalised terms of reference and role expectations for seven working groups, but for now we ask that anyone who values the ASC and wants to help improve it pop your details in this form so that we can start the conversation.

We’ve previously addressed our concern towards those affected by the events occurring in Ukraine. We have made a public statement on our website, (link here).

Last month we had our first National Council meeting where we heard from local branch representatives about what the teams are getting up to, including the diverse array of events being held for the membership. We also have a revival of activity in Adelaide with Lisa Bailey getting things going there. Keep an eye out for an event coming near you, and make sure you’re actively subscribed (via the ASC website) to your most convenient branch/s. Some of these events will be open to the national cohort too and will be advertised accordingly.

With a federal election coming in May, we wish those associated with the government and public service sectors smooth sailing during what can be a challenging time. See you on the other side.

February, ASC Co-Presidents’ Message, Jirana Boontanjai and Tom Carruthers

Happy Chinese New Year to those who celebrate this festival, and welcome to the year of the Tiger. It’s also World Interfaith Harmony Week, and later this month is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science (11 Feb). We know that many of you will be acknowledging this day within your organisations and personally. We hope that you have meaningful messages on gender equity to share and continue the fight for full and equal access and participation for women and girls in science.

After a somewhat extended break over New Year, the national team will be meeting officially in their new roles for the first time tomorrow. For what feels like the real start of our co-presidency, this is a particularly exciting moment and we are keen to get going on plotting out the coming year. We’ve already had a catch-up with our National Editor, Cedric Bauer, to start discussions on this newsletter and our other internal communications. The three of us had a unanimous desire to amplify the voice of, and to prioritise projects in response to the broader membership.

To that end, we’ve put together a quick form to capture some initial thoughts to help shape our thinking for the year ahead both for SCOPE and more generally. You can access the form here, or feel free to email us directly if you’d prefer.

And finally – a quick congratulations to our National Secretary, Dr Michelle Reidlinger, who as of earlier this year, is the new Editor in Chief of the Journal of Science Communication. We wish you all the best in the role.

J&T

ASC Co-President’s Update, Jirana Boontanjai and Tom Carruthers

Welcome to 2022 and the January issue of SCOPE. For those lucky to have had a break, we hope it was a restful, safe and rejuvenating one. We did want to acknowledge the current economic and health crisis and that there will be many within our community who will be affected by the current situation in Australia. Our thoughts are with you, and invite you to reach out if there is anything we may be able to assist with during the year. We wish strength and perseverance to all the ASC community and particular endurance to those working on health or COVID-19 communications.

Looking forward, we’re both really excited for the year ahead and anticipating our first national committee meeting in the coming days. Local branches will be meeting soon as well. There’s progress already underway on forward planning for the year and we are considering a range of activities to support the membership. Expect to hear more soon about some rather valuable projects both at the local and national level via our channels for how you can get involved.

Finally, we wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the recent passing of Professor Mike Gore AO. Many within our community would know (and were even trained by) Mike. The monumental impact he has had in the science communication sector in Australia was inspirational and invaluable. His legacy lives on in the science circus, Questacon, the ANU and in the hearts of so many of his students and colleagues. We will be putting together a small tribute for Mike on behalf of the ASC in the coming days, so please keep an eye on our social channels for a call out should you wish to contribute.

Good luck and best of health for the year ahead.
T&J