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.


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:

How do I join?
Join as usual from the ASC website:

Click join now to be taken to the membership type page:

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 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: 

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.


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.

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

Hello ASCers,

We’re excited for our first SCOPE newsletter as co-presidents! Jirana and I are grateful for the membership’s support in electing us into this role and are really keen to contribute back to the community at a national level.

We hope that you all found the recent symposium valuable. Personally, we both were inspired and impressed by the stories on the presenters’ research, practice and creativity. A huge thank you to the co-convenors who put together the program under Lisa’s direction.

We’d also like to formally thank Lisa who has led the ASC nationally over the last three years. Her contribution has provided the ASC resilience and much-needed stability during a very difficult time. Jirana and I are indebted to her for giving us a much easier starting point for our tenure as co-presidents. Thank you.

Looking toward 2022, the new executive will start regular meetings in late January or early February. Jirana and I are both very keen to capture ideas to develop the strategic direction for the association in a consultative manner. Get your thinking caps on over the break. We will be seeking input from the membership early in the new year.

All the best wishes over the new year period, and good luck with your communications,

Tom & Jirana

2021 ASC Online Symposium by David Harris and Jo Bailey

ASC’s online symposium this year had a Art and Design stream curated by David Harris and Jo Bailey and convened by David Harris.

The last session of the day (before David hosted ‘science cocktails’, which in a face-to-face situation may well have become their own ‘session’!) was titled ‘Mirofestos’: crowdsourcing ideas from highly-opinionated people. This online workshop used the digital whiteboard tool Miro. This platform is one that design lecturers (which David and Jo both are in their day jobs) have become accustomed to using to bring some of the activities of design studio culture (whiteboarding, critique, provocation/response, capturing visual iteration) online during pandemic ‘zoom teaching’. David and Jo felt that there was an opportunity to deploy this medium as a science communication tool for invested audiences, and wanted to see how it was taken up in the context of an online conference with very little ‘onboarding’ – just jump on and go! 

We used as a prompt a presentation that David gave at ASC2018 (when we were face-to-face in Sydney): his Against the Deficit Model: a Manifesto for Science Communication.

Download a PDF of the 2018 manifesto

The Against the Deficit Model manifesto, © David Harris, giffed by Jo Bailey

This was a deliberately provocative stance on some foundational issues for science communication. David stated:

You will get angry at some of these statements.
That’s ok. But I want you to think about why you are inflamed.
Is it because I’m wrong? Or is it because I’m right?

So what better way to channel that passion than via virtual post-it flame-wars and emoji-battles?!

What did we learn? Engagement was high, and activity was frenetic, as this fast-forward of the Zoom call screenshare shows:

The contributions were on the whole good natured banter even where the topics were on the contentious side. Amongst the scribbles and one-liners was some deep thinking and more expansive and reflexive commentary. We’ve not pulled out themes from the content yet, but it is available for you to browse: Check out the Miro board here: 

 One of the crowdsourced additional Miro frames on the things scicomm needs more and less of