President’s Report for AGM 2010

Australian Science Communicators

Annual General Meeting 13 December 2010

President’s Report

The profile of science communication was raised in 2010 with the launch of the Inspiring Australia report. This is the first major federal government document to address the role of science communication in engaging Australian society with science. The report is timely as we are faced with an increasingly urgent need for effective communication of science and a greater integration of science with society.

The ASC is an active voice in this landscape but we acknowledge there is only so much that we can do as a volunteer run organisation. We are turning to the membership for skilled and energetic people to contribute time to various programs and initiatives. It takes time to seek willing hands and then to brief and coordinate them so sometimes we seem back at square one in trying to find time to make things happen. The same goes for seeking like-minded organisations to partner us in some of our projects.

Because time and resources are in short supply we need to be sure that our longer term programs are sustainable and work smoothly from the beginning. Sometimes this means that projects move along very slowly such as setting up an accreditation program for short courses.

The national and branch levels of the ASC tell similar stories. Branch committees work hard to run events and attract audiences in an ever increasingly competitive environment. The branches are always in need of people who not only have good ideas but will make them realities.

But I am happy to report we are making progress on various fronts including our financial position. I don’t expect to us to be able to support a full time secretariat in the near future but this must be one of our strategic aims.

Now to some of the many highlights of this year:

1.      ASC conference:

1.1   The conference in February was a great success with 3 days of stimulating, relevant and varied sessions attended by over 275 people.

1.2   My thanks go to Immediate past-president Tim Thwaites and Membership officer Kali Madden who did wonderfully well in the huge job of organising the conference.

1.3   The conference raised the profile of the ASC and the role of science communication and was financially successful.

2.      Inspiring Australia Report launch at the ASC conference:

2.1   It was a coup for the ASC to have Minister for Science Kim Carr launch the Inspiring Australia Report as well as open the conference.

2.2   While initial concerns were raised that the ASC was barely mentioned in the report it was to set the scene for much subsequent action involving the ASC.

3.      ASC response to the Inspiring Australia report:

3.1   It was clear that the ASC had much to gain by aligning its focus with Inspiring Australia.

3.2   Our members’ comments combined with Rob Morrison’s analysis of the report helped the National Council and Executive to set priorities for the year.

3.3   I had preliminary meetings with the people in charge of carrying out the report’s recommendations. They acknowledged our interest and support with our official representation and participation of several of our members on steering committees.

3.4   I have met several of the state representatives responsible for implementing aspects of the report in their state and have corresponded with a few newly appointed state coordinators.

3.5   We have continued to seek information from our members regarding various aspects of the report. This helps to raise our profile, demonstrates our effectiveness and prepares us for further report related activity.

3.6   Our response to the report was specifically mentioned in the recent Inspiring Australia newsletter.

3.7   Members have responded to our proposed strategic actions regarding each recommendation of the report.

4.      ASC branches:

4.1   The rejuvenated SA branch had its first meeting in February and has been busy with running activities throughout the year with several hosted at RiAus.

4.2   The WA branch co-ran a well attended training workshop in evaluation and has also been consistently active.

4.3   VIC ran a very successful networking event.

4.4   ACT put on numerous events, notably an enjoyable and innovative Pies @ the pub for Pi Day

4.5   SE QLD had a popular visit to the XXXX Brewery

4.6   NSW ran an insightful ‘Freelancing for science communicators’ event among a busy program.

4.7  All branches ran a total of at least 37 events and activities.

5.      Hot Air Tips and Highlights report:

5.1   Past ASC national president Jenni Metcalfe, of the Queensland branch, compiled the report of tips and highlights from three Hot Air symposia and posted it on the ASC website. Jenni organised the symposia to explore how to communicate the science of climate change.

5.2   The symposia were an ASC initiative with support from NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water and Econnect communication.

6.      Travel:

6.1   I met with WA, SA and NSW branch committees

6.2   Met with the coordinators of the VIC and ACT branches

6.3   Participated in one ACT event

6.4   Inspiring Australia meetings – met twice with the Inspiring Australia team at Questacon (ACT); participated in the Science and Community Evaluation Tools meeting (VIC) and the Steering Committee for Developing an Evidence Base (ACT); presented to the COAG Inspiring Australia officers meeting in Melbourne.

7.      Networking:

7.1   I collaborated with the Sydney Environmental Educators Network (SEEN) and International Association for Public Participation Australasia (IAPP) to run 3 workshops at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney on communicating aspects of climate change.

7.2   Worked with Australian Environmental Educators (AAEE) to develop outline of professional development workshops. This project may need additional partners to be realised.

7.3   Met the International Year of Biodiversity coordinators in WA and NSW.

7.4   Worked with training provider to develop training program in improvisational theatre skills for early career scientists to improve communication skills. Sought input from the director of the Tall Poppy Campaign and science communication course providers.

7.5   Liaised with various environmental organisations regarding training in science communication.

7.6    Liaised with Skeptics Society and other groups about effectively communicating what is and isn’t science.

8.      Web site:

8.1   Continues to be developed and improved by James Hutson of the Victorian branch

8.2   Expect new look early in 2011

8.3   Laura Miles and Kali Madden continue to support James’ work.

9. Automation of membership:

9.1   All members now on automated database (thanks to Kali Madden for her efforts).

9.2   This enables Kali to quickly tabulate and report on vital member information.

To finish I would like thank the membership for their constructive responses to my various requests for information and advice. I have special thanks for the many people who contribute to ASC at a national level — and some of you are in this room:

1.                 All those on the National Council

2.                 Kali Madden, from her role as Membership Officer to her new enhanced position as Executive Officer, for all her hard work in managing the membership.

3.                 Laura Miles and James Hutson for their contribution to ensuring the ASC has an active voice to our members and the world via newsletters and the website.

4.                 Also thanks to Rob Morrison, Lisa Bailey and the rest of the ASC SA team who organised this AGM.

5.                 Finally to the members of the national executive, who all put in many hours on ASC-related business—David Ellyard, Tim Thwaites, Rob Morrison, Sarah Lau and Phil Dooley.

Jesse Shore

13 December 2010

List of ASC branch events 2010

ASC branch events 2010 (incomplete list of events) ACT, NSW, SE-QLD, SA, VIC, WA

ACT (7)

May – The science of… art

Join Tim Wetherell, a sculptor and science writer, and Jessica Miller, a visual artist and scientific illustrator, for a colourful and close-up exploration of the links between science and art.

We’ll also be launching the year’s program of events, so come and find out what other exciting events we have planned for the year.

Where: CSIRO Discovery, Clunies Ross St, Acton.
When: Monday 10 May from 6pm

May – Discovery After Dark

18 May 2010; 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm. After hours fun at CSIRO Discovery Centre. Come along for music and cocktails while letting your inner child run free on the Discovery floor.

CSIRO Discovery Centre, Clunies Ross St, Acton

June – How to improvise: workshop event

We do it everyday… so we may as well be better at it! We’re talking about improvising. A skill that helps you express yourself, be creative and communicate better.

Join ASC and Reid Workman from Impro ACT for a fun, challenging and active impro(visation) workshop.

Where: CSIRO Discovery, Clunies Ross St, Acton.
When: Wednesday 23 June from 6pm

July – Canberra’s Sustainable House visit

Join Nick and Sarah for a tour of their house in Ainslie that is carbon neutral and draws no water from the mains. In 2007, they were the winners of the ACT Sustainable Cities Award, Residential Category. See and hear about the solar heating, innovative biological greywater treatment system that treats all household waste water, and the first and only approved waterless composting toilet in residential Canberra.

When: Sunday 11 July, 11am -12:30pm
Where: 240 Duffy St, Ainslie

July – Translating science into action

1 July 2010; 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

Date: Thursday 1 July from 5.30 pm to 7.30 pm

Venue: CSIRO Discovery, Black Mountain site, Clunies Ross St, Acton

Science is a discipline that can make a major difference to society, but scientific results often need some help to be translated into actions. This joint event considers the different disciplines that help convert science content into actions in the community.

July – Pies at the pub for Pi Day

22 July 2010; 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. Join ASC members for pies at the pub and maths games and entertainment for Pi Day 22 July

November – Event: ‘Innovate and communicate’ + Canberra AGM

24 November 2010; 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Join ASC Canberra to hear James Bradfield Moody talk about the emerging new wave of innovation and participate in the ASC Canberra Annual General Meeting

NSW (5)

February – AGM NSW

Topic for discussion is the potential implications of the Inspiring Australia report for science communicators

SPECIAL GUEST! – National President, Dr Jesse Shore.

DATE: Monday 15th February TIME: 6.30 – 8 PM

May – WHAT’S THE BUZZ? TRENDS IN SCIENCE DOCUMENTARIES Alison Leigh, Editorial Director, World Congress of Science & Factual Producers

Monday May 17th, 6.30 – 8 PM.

Clarendon Hotel, 156 Devonshire St, Surry Hills

Science and Natural History Programming has become fashionable again in the international market place. So what’s out there breaking new ground and making people talk ? What’s hot and what’s not? What’s on the way up and what’s on the way down? We take a look at clips from some of the most outstanding and successful science TV programs of 2009 from the perspective of the international production  community. What will the Australian science communication industry make of them?

June – Successful Freelancing for Science Communicators – Valerie Khoo and Bianca Nogrady

The NSW Branch of the Australian Science Communicators is pleased to invite all members and guests to our June 10th meeting:
SUCCESSFUL FREELANCING FOR SCIENCE COMMUNICATORS by Valerie Khoo and Bianca Nogrady
DATE: Thursday 10th June PLACE: Clarendon Hotel at 156 Devonshire St Surry Hills (5 min walk up from Central Station) TIME: 6:30pm for 7:00pm

August – COMMUNICATING CLIMATE CHANGE AND OTHER RISKY BUSINESS

Jenni Metcalfe – convenor, Hot Air Symposia.

Tuesday August 10th, 6.30 PM

Clarendon Hotel, 156 Devonshire St, Surry Hills Members free, non-members $10

Why are more Australians becoming climate sceptics? How should we use science to communicate about climate change and other risky environmental issues? Can we do it badly? How can we do it well?

November – Making Science as pervasive as Sports

ASC NSW branch – November get-together
MAKING SCIENCE AS PERVASIVE AS SPORTS IN TODAY’S SOCIETY
Dennis Schatz, Pacific Science Centre, Seattle, Washington State, USA
Tuesday 30TH NOV, 6.30 – 8 PM Clarendon Hotel – Upstairs 156 Devonshire St, Surry Hills

Description: If we want a STEM literate public, then we need to focus on more than what happens in primary and secondary education where people spend only 3% of their lives. This means making STEM a lifelong, life-wide and life-deep activity ­ just like sports. Dennis Schatz, Senior VP at Pacific Science Center in Seattle, Wash., describes his institution’s activities that seek to attain this dream.

SE-Qld (3)

March – ASC AGM for South East Queensland Members

your attendance and feedback is vital for the future health of the group!

When: 6pm for 6.30pm start, Tuesday 30 March, 2010.

July – Speed networking – like speed dating with science – a social networking opportunity

Regatta hotel main Bar, Thursday July 1, 6 pm

October – Science of beer and meet other science communication folk

SE-QLD Event: Science of beer and meet other science communication folk
Beer… the 3rd most consumed beverage in the world and arguably the oldest alcoholic drink in existence. Join the South East Queensland branch of ASC for a tour of the XXXX Brewery. After the tour enjoy a few samples of the amber liquid and a BBQ dinner while networking with fellow science communicators. When: Wednesday 13 October Time: 6.30pm Where: XXXX Brewery, Milton.

SA (6)

July – Evaluating Effectiveness ASCSA event Adelaide July 19 2010

19 July 2010; 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. On Monday 19 July we held an event at the Science Exchange on evaluating science communication activities.

September – ASCSA media training workshop 6 Sept- Adelaide

[ 6 September 2010; 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. ] Australian Science Communicators SA Event ASCSA media training workshop With Rob Morrison Date: Monday 6 September Time: 6pm-9pm Venue: RiAus Main Auditorium The Science Exchange Exchange Place Adelaide

September – ASCSA Event 20 Sept. There’s more to the zoo than Pandas…

[ 20 September 2010; 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. ] Australian Science Communicators SA (ASCSA) Event

There’s more to the Zoo than Pandas: the Zoo’s role in Conservation

Date: Monday, 20th September, 2010 Time: 6pm – 8pm Venue: Adelaide Zoo

October – ASCSA event: Flinders Centre for Science Education 18/10

[18 October 2010; 6:31 pm to 8:31 pm. ] Australian Science Communicators SA (ASCSA) Event

The Flinders Centre for Science Education in the 21st Century

Speakers: Bob Buxton and Mark Ward MC- Richard Musgrove

Date: Monday October 18th, 2010 Time: 6:30pm – 8:30pm Venue: RiAus, Science Exchange, Exchange Place, Adelaide

November – ASCSA Video editing workshop (1/11/10)

[ 1 November 2010; 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. ] ASCSA Video Production Workshop With Josh Cockfield, Rob Morrison, Deane Hutton and Steve Kern

http://ascsa-video-workshop.eventbrite.com

Date: Monday 1st November 2010

Time: 6pm-9pm

Venue: RiAus main auditorium

Video is a powerful communication tool and is no longer the sole domain of TV stations and established production companies.

December – ASC AGM and ASCSA end of year get together 13 Dec

[ 13 December 2010; 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. ] ASC Annual General Meeting and Quiz Night Date: Monday 13th December, 2010 Time: 6:00pm – 9:30pm Venue: RiAus, Science Exchange, Exchange Place, Adelaide

VIC (2)

April – What do the public really think? + Victorian AGM

[ 20 April 2010; 6:00 pm; ]

part 1: ASC Victorian Branch AGM 6pm for 6.15pm. Free drink for all members in attendance.
part II: What do the public really think?: public surveys, polls and focus groups 6.45pm for 7pm.

The Victorian branch is due for an annual general meeting to renew and refresh our committee. Please come along and so help to shape the ASC locally. We’d love more passionate communicators to get involved.

August – Science Centric 2010 in Melbourne

[ 10 August 2010; 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. ] Australian Science Communicators, Victoria is pleased to present: Science Centric 2010.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at 6:30 PM

Do you explain, teach, present, write, blog, twitter, film, illustrate, animate or otherwise communicate science or technology, news, ideas, concepts or research?

This will be great chance for some face to face networking. Bring along your colleagues

WA (6)

April – AGM

where the activities of the past year and those for the coming year are discussed. We will also vote on the state committee. If you have any items you wish to discuss, or you would like to nominate for the committee (or a specific position), please email Sarah Lau (slau@chemcentre.wa.gov.au).

Where: Botanical Café, Kings Park (parking available behind café and function centre)

Date: Thursday 29 April 2009

July – EVALUATION WORKSHOP – best practice in evaluation techniques: Australian Science Communicators WA Branch and National Science Week WA present evaluation training workshop Session 1 ­ planning for evaluation and best practice in evaluation.

October – ASC-WA goes wild at Perth Zoo

On Friday 15 October, ASC-WA members were treated to an exclusive ‘behind the scenes’ event at Perth Zoo.

October – Evaluation Worksop – session 2

25 October, Time: 8.30am Location: Curtin University

24 November – Quizalicious – get your quiz on! Time: 6.30pm Location: Rosie O’Grady’s Pub – Northbridge

10 December – End of Year Celebration and lunch with guest speaker WA Chief Scientist

Time: 12.30pm Location: Botanicals Cafe, Kings Park Cost: $73 – ASC MEMBERS ONLY EVENT

ASC 2010 AGM – brief report

ASC 2010 AGM – brief report of outcomes

The 2010 AGM was notable for several reasons:

  • This was the first time an ASC AGM was held in Adelaide. It was hosted by the SA branch which was rejuvenated in 2010 and has powered through the year.
  • The meeting was well attended with more than 25 members present.
  • Members raised a number of questions and initiated discussions through the meeting with an especially constructive exchange of views about the second motion to amend the constitution.
  • The meeting voted to amend the wording of the second motion. Currently the constitution states that representatives of corporate members cannot vote unless they are on the National Council. The original motion was to allow corporate members a maximum of 5 votes. The amended motion which was approved says corporate members may nominate one representative or their proxy to vote. (This is in addition to any of their representatives on National Council.)
  • The first and third motions to change the constitution were approved as proposed.
  • The treasurer reported that ASC is in a positive financial position.
  • The motion by the National Council to extend life membership to Peter Pockley was enthusiastically ratified.
  • The names of the members of the 2012 National Conference Planning Committee were announced. The committee will be convened early in 2011 to start its work.
  • Jesse Shore was re-elected as president for 2011.
  • The meeting raced through 1hour and 14 minutes and 20 seconds and ended 40 seconds early. Everyone then raced off to get a drink before the start of the entertaining science trivia quiz hoisted by David Ellyard with assistance by Richard Musgrove and punctuated by visually eye-popping interludes presented by special guest, Zoz.

Jesse Shore
National President

From the President, April 2010: Survey winners, making friends and IY

I am happy to announce that Tesse Hoekstra and Annie Harris were selected from the respondents to the ASC post-conference survey as the winners of copies of Julian Cribb’s ‘Open Science’ book. I expect they will find it as a good a read as I did. Julian’s book contains a range of useful and sometimes surprising tips.

The responses to the survey also made a good read. Many of the 70 respondents made constructive suggestions about how to make the conference better as well as mentioning numerous aspects they found as highlights. In general respondents rated the conference highly, finding it informative and useful for networking. We now have to consider when to hold the next conference. Expect to be asked for input.

Since the conference ASC National Council and Executive have been working on numerous matters relating to medium and long-term planning, and considering the implications of the Inspiring Australia report. I have had preliminary discussions with DIISR personnel and will continue the process. I am optimistic that ASC will play a significant role in helping to fulfil the aims of the report. Actions we are taking now include seeking new or closer relationships with professional scientific and educational bodies and government scientific organisations. In general we will act to place us in a beneficial position when government funding eventually becomes available to implement the recommendations of the report.

We are currently considering members’ responses to Rob Morrison’s request for feedback about the Inspiring Australia report. We are still awaiting responses from a member and branch or two but we already have plenty to chew over. Your feedback will help guide our actions.

Next year is the International Year of Chemistry. IYC offers opportunities for chemical-inclined ASC members (think laterally here) and our branches to engage with a wide range of professional chemistry, educational, industry, government and environmental groups. To find out the contact person in your region view http://www.chemistry2011.org/connect/the-iyc-network?show_node=1241. Get in touch with these people now because some groups have started their planning for next year’s events.

Jesse Shore

National President

Inspiring Australia – response to the national science communication report

Australian Science Communicators (ASC) welcomes Inspiring Australia, a report which set the agenda for science communication for the nation. It represents a significant acknowledgement and affirmation of the importance of science communication to the future of Australian society.

We are particularly pleased with the recognition of science communication as a professional activity with its own skills and expertise. The report contains many helpful suggestions on ways of boosting that expertise.

We are also delighted that the report recommends investment into evaluation of the effectiveness of various techniques of science communication.

While we recognise that all the recommendations will benefit professional science communicators indirectly, we believe that the report’s objectives would be well served by more direct support of our profession, such as for the development of the professional development opportunities including conferences. Strengthening the foundation of the profession is an inexpensive and effective way to complement and realise several of the suggested activities in the report.

Dr Jesse Shore, President, Australian Science Communicators
Mr Tim Thwaites, Immediate Past-President, Australian Science Communicators

ASC 2010 Conference – Opening Session

Over 230 science communications professionals gathered today at the Australian National University in Canberra for an inspiring and lively opening session.

Aunty Ruth Bell welcomed delegates to country with some rousing words on the importance of science and scientists and the correct pronunciation of Canberra.  Professor Ian Chubb reflected on an increase in demand for places on science courses at ANU and the difference between a “deep” and a “profound” understanding of scientific ideas.

Senator the Hon Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research suggested that “science communication matters because democracy matters” and that citizens only have a meaningful say in the democratic process if they understand the science.  The Senator also cited the new science strategy report which calls for all scientific organisations to promote the ideals of “clear vision, strong leadership and coherent action”.

Incoming ASC National President, Dr Jesse Shore welcomed the report with its “national framework: local action” focus on behalf of the ASC membership, and expressed thanks to all delegates for attending our annual flagship event.

Watch this space for more news – and follow us on Twitter: #asc2010

New speakers announced for the Conference: Seven days left to register

With a week to go before the Conference, there’s still time to register and join us in Canberra for a packed program of expert plenaries and social events from 7 – 10 February at the ANU.  Tim Thwaites, Kali Madden and team have compiled an exciting array of the very best speakers from around the country.

We have too many speakers to mention but they include: Warwick Anderson, CEO, NHMRC; Margaret Sheil, CEO, ARC; and Mike Whelan, Deputy CE (Operations) CSIRO on the challenges of science communication, Wilson da Silva, COSMOS; Dr Susannah Elliot, CEO, Australian Science Media Centre; and Deborah Smith, Science Editor, Sydney Morning Herald, on the future of science reporting, Laurel Papworth, #4 blogger in Australia; Julie Posetti, University of Canberra; and Casey Whitelaw, Google on social media applications, Dr Craig Cormick and Wendy Williams from DIIRD on public attitudes to science, and some innovative, ‘non-traditional’ approaches to science communication from Dr Joan Leach, Associate Professor Errol Vieth and colleagues.

View the full program, register now or click here to view the current list of delegates.  See you in Canberra!

From The President: December 2009

In a year of doom and gloom, bushfires, swine flu and climate change, it is great to be able to report some upbeat news of the feats of our ASC colleagues—the resurgence of ASC in South Australia, a major magazine award for a former president, and some excellent public activities organised by local branches.

These vibrant signs of life in ASC are just what we need, leading into a National AGM to be held in Sydney on 16 December, and our National Conference at ANU in Canberra from 7 to 10 February.

Nearly 50 people turned up to an event organised by vice-president Rob Morrison, at the new Science Exchange (re-vamped Stock Exchange) in downtown Adelaide which has become the headquarters of the Royal Institution, Australia (RiAus). Not only did they learn about “The Science of Wind Instruments”, but they began planning an AGM for 14 December and activities for the next couple of years. Many stayed well beyond the proposed ending time playing science board games and making full use of the very fine bar. An appropriate outcome for all Rob’s hard work.

ASC boy makes good! Wilson da Silva’s magazine Cosmos was adjudged Magazine of the Year and won six other awards, including Best Consumer Magazine and Best Publisher, at the annual Bell Awards for Publishing Excellence of the magazine industry association, Publishers Australia. This is the second time in its five-year history the publication has won Magazine of the Year and Best Publisher. It was hailed for  its connection with its readers, and its “product extensions”.

A story by deputy editor John Pickrell has won an earth journalism award linked to the forthcoming UN climate change conference in Copenhagen, and is in the running for a global public award. You can read the story and, if you like it, vote for it before 9 December by clicking here.

The local ASC branches have been active, with events happening in most states over the past month. Two that come to mind are a particularly poignant session staged by the Victorian branch (at a new venue) on keeping the human impact in mind when communicating the science of bushfires, and the Stem Cells in the Pub session which the ACT-ASC organised in association with the Australian Society for Stem Cell Research.

See you at the ASC AGM (16 December) and the ASC Conference 2010 (7 – 10 February).

Tim Thwaites
National President

ASC National Conference 2010: Call for papers

Preamble

The ASC National Conference will enable science communication researchers and practitioners to share experiences and learn from each other. The research track provides opportunities to present work, identify areas that need enquiry, investigate how to improve practice, and strengthen practitioner-researcher collaborations.

To maximise the opportunity for interaction, standard presentations will be minimised and dialogue and networking fostered.

Whether you are academic, practitioner or student, if you are involved with any research or evaluation that has implications for science communication, we encourage you to put forward a paper.

THE DEADLINE FOR ALL RESEARCH-TRACK SUBMISSIONS IS

7 December

Research communication and discussion will be formally facilitated at the conference in four ways.

1) Research papers  - parallel session presentations

Presentations on an aspect of science communication research or evaluation will be given 10 minutes talk-time and followed by panel sessions or roundtable discussions, depending on the number of people attending the session. It is not necessary to submit under a particular conference theme, but where relevant and possible, presentation sessions will be thematically grouped.

SUBMIT

  • An overview of not more than 500 words to:

conference.submissions@asc.asn.au

  • Submissions can be on any science communication research or evaluation

area, but must include:

  • Your name, title and contact information
  • A brief outline explaining why the paper constitutes “science communication” research and/or evaluation. (100 words)
  • An abstract outlining the context or event, research questions, methods, outcomes, etc.  (350 words)
  • One to three questions that the research or evaluation has inspired, or provokes, for discussion after the presentation.  (50 words per question)

2) Research contributions to plenaries, workshops or symposia

  • People submitting papers that are of particular relevance to specific

plenaries, workshops or symposia may be invited to contribute to these fora instead of a research-specific session. It will be up to the session/theme convener to invite and provide details to presenters directly.

  • You can choose to make submissions to contribute to

specific sessions, and they will be forwarded to that  forum’s convener.  Should you wish to submit directly to a specific session, please indicate the name of session to which you would like to contribute clearly at the beginning of  your 500-word overview

  • If your submission to a specific session cannot be included in that session,

it could be accepted for submission in a research track session.  The convener of the session will forward your submission to the research stream committee.

3) Research student sessions

The goal here is to bring together widely distributed research students in science communication and related fields.  Interaction with peers can be a confidence-building reality check and an invaluable avenue for finding ways to clear hurdles that your supervisors have not, or cannot, address.  These sessions will focus on discussion, sharing of experiences, and networking rather than formal presentations.  However, you are welcome to organise extended focus on one individual’s work in one of the conference’s ad hoc sessions (outlined below at 4)

For these sessions, please tell us what you would like to see in these sessions, and what you hope to get out of them. For example:

  • Preferred session format. For example; roundtables, panel-

discussions, problem-solving workshops or informal drinks

  • Preferences for session content. For example; current big issues in

science communication research or methodological matters.

4) Ad Hoc sessions

Flexible meeting spaces and facilitators will be on hand for ad hoc sessions in response to ideas and issues that have been nagging you or issues and questions that arise during the conference.

Some of these sessions may be ‘clinics’, where you bring a problem where you would like input.  For example, would you like an academic to assist in developing an evaluation tool for a community outreach program that you are running?  Or, are you a researcher who needs your theory ‘reality-checked’ by a practitioner?

NOTE – These sessions do not have to be about research

Details about how to take advantage of this opportunity will be provided at the conference.

ASC National Conference now 8-10 Feb 2010

We have decided to postpone the ASC Conference at the Australian National University in Canberra until February 8 – 10. Please note that this is a rejigging, and in no way a cancellation. And the decision has been made in the interests of putting on a better conference.

There were several compelling reasons behind this decision—the result of unforeseen difficulties—but they all led us to the conclusion that we needed more time to draw together the elements that will make the conference a genuinely useful and productive gathering for all.

We already have a strong draft program, built around the elements we have outlined—social media, communicating complex issues, science communicating and the Arts, the latest science communication research. I will be circulating it in the next week or so.

We are hoping registrations can open within two weeks, and that we can announce some of our key speakers at that time.

Best Wishes,

Tim Thwaites

ASC President