About Tara Roberson

Tara is a communication and engagement officer at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems and a PhD student researching hype in science communication. She tweets at @_tiamaree.

ASC conference – Join us in Brisbane on March 11, 2016

A huge thank you to all those who took the time to respond to the conference planning email sent to members in August this year. Your views were very supportive of a March 2016 conference, along with a longer term view to planning joint conferences in future. Below is our first conference announcement since that email and we plan to follow up with many of you soon.

We are delighted to confirm that the very popular ASC national conference is being held in Brisbane to tie in with the World Science Festival, an annual week-long festival for all things science. The festival runs from March 9 to 13 and we have scheduled the main ASC conference on Friday, March 11 when the world festival has a day programmed primarily for schools (we hope this means less scheduling conflicts for members!)

We’ve arranged a later conference start (registration at 10:30 for an 11am start) so that delegates may choose to attend brekky with the Brians and our very own Robyn Williams (details below). Tickets are selling (very) fast. If you have even an inkling that you will be joining us for the conference then we’d recommend buying your brekky ticket right NOW! Contact us at office@asc.asn.au for the member discount info.

Satellite and social events are highly likely so you may wish to plan to attend Brisbane for a few days to make the visit really worth your while at a time when luminaries in science and science communication will abound! View the festival program online here to help your planning.

VOLUNTEERS: Great opportunity to network and contribute to your national community event. As you may be aware, the national conference is made possible by a huge contingent of capable ASC member volunteers who help out with everything from website content & marketing, to mic running on the day. We are looking for our 2016 crew now so if you are interested please contact us at asc2016@asc.asn.au and let us know how you’d like to be involved.

Member offer – Breakfast with the Brians

Before the ASC Conference starts on March 11, ASC members can head to a breakfast event that promises to be as entertaining as it is thought provoking, Australia’s Nobel Prize winning astrophysicist (and successful winery owner), Brian Schmidt, meets internationally renowned string theorist and best-selling author, Brian Greene (think The Elegant Universe and  Big Bang Theory). You’ll recognise them both as favourites on the best talk shows – from Adam Hills to David Letterman – as they discuss ‘life, the universe and everything’ with ABC broadcaster, former ASC President and lifetime member, and national living treasure, Robyn Williams.

Ticket price ($50.00) includes light breakfast.  Breakfast is served in foyer from 8.15am.
Contact us at office@asc.asn.au for the member discount info.

AGM Report / 2016 Executive

Written by Paula Lourie. 

At the 21st AGM of the Australian Science Communicators on November 19 2015 in Canberra, Professor Joan Leach was confirmed as 2016 President. This is Joan’s third year as President.

The 2016 National Executive is:

  • President: Professor Joan Leach (ACT)
  • Vice President: Bianca Nogrady (NSW)
  • Vice President: Niall Byrne (VIC)
  • Secretary: Sarah Lau (WA)
  • Treasurer: Pete Wheeler (WA)
  • Executive Officer: Kali Madden (ACT)

With two new positions appointed:

  • Branch Co-ordinator: Dr Phil Dooley (ACT)
  • Events Co-ordinator: Tara Roberson (QLD)

The goal of these new positions is to develop and support a national program of professional development events for science communicators across Australia.

We congratulate all continuing and new National Executive members.

Become a storyteller (for science)

I had the pleasure of attending the Walkley Foundation’s Freelance Focus conference this week with support from the ASC and the UQ School of Journalism and Communication. It was a busy day, full of inspiring content that ranged from Noah Rosenberg (founder and CEO of Narratively) talking on fostering audiences and narrative, to Nathan Burman (comms guy for Twitter Australia) running a masterclass focused on best practice for the social medium.

Running  through the entire conference was the  theme of storytelling. It was a theme that seems particularly relevant to ASC given spreading science stories is a large part of what we do. So, here are five take home points that might just help you the next time you’re crafting a science story. Read along for the who, what, when, where, and why.

Who is your audience?

Before you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), imagine your audience. Who is best suited to your tale of the impact of gravity on quantum weirdness?

Your audience shouldn’t just help you to manage the complexity of your language, it should also shape the mediums you choose to convey your story through.

What medium will you use to tell your story?

It might seem easiest to write a press release and hit send, but is that the most effective way of getting your story out there? Would a podcast be more accessible to your audience, would it make your story come alive? Choose a medium that embraces the key elements of your story – whether that be a soundbite, long-form article or ten-second GIF.

When should your story end?

Your story doesn’t need to be a one hour documentary to have impact. Think carefully about the ideal length of your work and be realistic about resourcing. It’s a cliché that rings true – sometimes less is more.

Where is the person in your story?

Personal tales make dry, complex information come alive. Whose experiences can you tap into to give warmth to your piece? Use their story to bring the unique and remarkable aspects of your story to light.

Why should people read your story?

Cultivating a community around your story will help increase its impact once published. Identify the people around you who will be interested and happy to share your tale with others.