From the President: February 2010; A commendable conference

My congratulations to all those involved in organising and presenting the recent ASC conference. After the first day of the conference I was asked what the highlight of the day was for me. Every session I attended was so good that I replied the entire day was a highlight. I enjoyed meeting and chatting with so many people and felt the day just went so well. After a moment’s reflection I did add that it was pretty exciting for Senator Carr to launch the Inspiring Australia report at the opening of the conference. The report announcement was a coup for the conference but the conference proper was a gem.

Days two and three maintained the quality of my conference experience. My conversations with delegates swirled around the challenges of usefully evaluating our science communication activities and how we can work more closely with our colleagues in the arts and humanities. A highlight of day two was Professor Will Steffen’s plenary on communicating climate change. His presentation combined with sessions on authority in science, scientific process, communicating a pandemic and risk to help me frame my discussions with the denialists and doubters who I occasionally encounter.

Another notable aspect of the conference was that all the speakers, presenters and session producers were sourced from within Australia. We rightfully can be impressed with the depth of people Australia has in the science communication area. Yet recognising that overseas speakers contribute international perspectives and add star quality to a conference, for future ASC conferences we’ll consider adding international ingredients to our local cocktail.

The conference convenor, Tim Thwaites, and conference director, Kali Madden, will soon send out a short survey to all conference delegates and to ASC members who didn’t attend the event. I heard a rumour that Tim and Kali are offering an incentive to answering the survey so I’ll be racing to get my response in.

Jesse Shore
National President