Pre-National Science Week Mixer – Victoria

Have you got an upcoming event to spruik as part of National Science Week? Or maybe you’d like to hear about the events happening in your area?

Join the Australian Science Communicators Victorian branch and other science-enthusiasts for an open mic and networking night. We’ll open the floor to National Science Week event-holders who’ll share what they’ve got planned for the big week ahead. There will also be door prizes up for grabs.

If you’d like to talk about your event in 1 minute on the night, please contact us via the link below. If you can’t make it along, we’ll be happy to show your promotional material.

Event review: That time we talked about sex at a networking event

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Written by Sarah Keenihan

How can we survive and stay sane as professional scientists and communicators in a world where the public appetite for science may wane and wax with each new Prime Minister?

How do you get a foothold writing or podcasting or presenting science content when you don’t know what sorts of material people want to read or listen or watch, and what is already out there?

How can you meet people who work as science communicators tucked away as individuals in teeny offices within institutions, people who have the same professional drives and challenges and needs as you?

By networking.

With a new members on board and expectations high for exciting ASC times moving into 2016, a networking and end-of-year celebratory event was held by the SA committee in Adelaide in December 2015.

This session was designed quite simply to give attendees the opportunity to meet and make friends with people who are inspired by science and its communication.

And we had an ice-breaker: the 2014 Unsung Hero of Science Communication Winner, Michael Mills. Attending as his alter-ego the singing palentologist Professor Flint, Michael gave us:

“A brief and hilarious history of the role of sexual reproduction in increasing species biodiversity, the evolution of it’s associated rituals, and the strange, and sometimes awkward parallels this has for humans when engaged in networking activity!”

Awks, right? I mean, who wants to even put networking and sex in the same sentence? Well, it worked. Professor Flint convinced us that perhaps with a few tips from nature, through networking we might yet move forward to new and exciting collaborations in the world of science communications.

He told us:

The person you’re talking to might be the one who helps you get your dream project to the next step.

How do you find out?

You find out by being bold, by making the move, by singing the song, by being preemptive, by inviting them into your love garden and maybe going into their love garden too.

You may be a part of someone else’s dream. And equally they may be a part of yours.

The ‘love garden’ bit is a science reference, and relates to…oh never mind, I guess you had to be there.

A great crowd of around 50 people was in attendance, with some old and many new faces. Our new committee member Bowie (Matthew, not David sob) had the great idea of bringing along some colleagues from the Ecological Society of Australia conference also in town. It’s great to hear outsiders’ perspectives from time to time.

The formal networking aspect of the evening commenced by people moving along seats at tables every 3 minutes, but then progressed to more casual conversations at the bar and around the place.

It was fun, it was loud, and it was different to anything we’d done before.

We look forward to a great 2016 as a local committee, and as a part of our national body of Australian Science Communicators that is establishing a new way forward to help us all communicate science in novel and impactful ways.

 

Event Review: A quiet Wednesday dinner

Thank you to Amy Nisselle for her reflections on the dinner.

On Tuesday 22nd July I had the pleasure of attending a dinner hosted by ASC Vic Branch President George Aranda for visiting science communicator, Núria Elías at Artusi, Southbank. Núria was in Melbourne for the ASC’s Science Storytelling Workshop and we had a great time swapping stories about our areas of study, research and practice, plus the best places to spot Australian fauna (who knew there was a world-famous koala colony on the Great Ocean Road?!).

Núria told us about the NeuroEnhancement Responsible Research and Innovation (NERRI) program she coordinates for the Science, Communication and Society Studies Centre (SCS-UPF) at Universitate Pompeu Fabra (UPF), in her native Barcelona. I had no idea of the variety of neuroenhancements available, from pharmacological to physical to magnetic and electric, having relied solely on caffeine when writing my thesis. The NERRI program is asking Europeans their opinion about neuroenhancements – would they use them? If so, what type, under what circumstances? Our party was split. Some fervently said they’d never use anything, while others thought if they were going to use something then they’d trust magnetic stimulation in a medical setting over tablets, which is currently an unregulated industry.

Throughout the conversation we feasted on Artusi’s delicious fare, tasting each others risotto, pappardelle and tagliatelle and splitting decadent desserts. On a personal note, I was really excited to introduce my younger cousin to the ASC. Benny was in the first cohort of students at Melbourne’s John Monash Science School and is now studying Law/Commerce at uni. He said afterwards it was incredible to have dinner with such informed people and he was in awe most of the time. It was a nice reminder of something I take for granted these days – being surrounded by such learned, experienced and inspiring folks in the ASC.

 

Pre National Science Week Mixer

Kick off your National Science Week with a bang at the Markov in Carlton Thursday 13th August from 6pm!

Your ASC Vic are once again hosting a celebration mixer event on the eve of the big week. Part social, part networking, part informative, part entertainment, this is the chance to get together, have a drink, win a lucky door prize and hear from the event holders themselves about what will be happening during national science week!

This year we are taking our mixer to the next level with international guest, Yvette d’Entremont, aka SciBabe. Cost is free, but we would love it if you could register through our Facebook event, so we can keep track of numbers.

If you are an event holder and you would like to come along to spruik, please drop an message to our President George Aranda. We are also happy to hand out promotional material if you have any.

Time: 6pm

Date: Thursday 13th August

Place: Markov, 352 Drummond Street, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 3053.

Careers and Networking Night – ACT Branch

If you are wanting to get into a science communication career then the
ACT branch Careers and Networking Night at ANU is for you.

And people in the field looking for fresh new talent can meet all the
up-and-comers.

When: Thursday April 23, 5:15 pm-6:30 pm
Where: Green Couch Room, Australian National Centre for the Public
Awareness of Science (CPAS), Physics Link building 38A, ANU
Cost: Free.

Register herehttps://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/asc-careers-and-networking-night-tickets-16479602936

The night will begin with a series of short talks highlighting different
pathways and careers in science communication. Hear about current and
exciting new undergraduate and postgraduate courses offered by CPAS which can kickstart your sci comm career.

Guest speakers include:

Lara Davis – How a chemistry graduate ends up a geoscience
communicator, via a Dip Ed.

Amanda Cox – Digital comms professional, science marketing at ANU, from a biochemistry background via the not-for profit and government worlds.

Phil Dooley – PhD in physics turns IT trainer, high school workshopper
then science writer at ANU.

Katie Howe – Comms professional, no science background, hey how did
she get in here?!

Anna-Lisa Hayes
– Environmental scientist turns science communicator
in the government sector.

Following the talks there will be an opportunity to network over FREE food
and drinks.

Please register here: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/asc-careers-and-networking-night-tickets-16479602936

When:
Thursday April 23, 5:15 pm-6:30 pm

Where: Green Couch Room, Australian National Centre for the Public
Awareness of Science (CPAS), Physics Link building 38A, ANU

Cost: Free.

Vic Event: Pre National Science Week Mixer: Open Mic Night

24 July 2014
6:30 pmto9:30 pm

National Science Week (http://www.scienceweek.net.au) will be here soon (August 16-24) and we’d like to celebrate it with an Open Mic Night. Come on down to our Pre National Science Week Mixer and mingle with people who have events as part of National Science Week.

When: Thursday 14th August, 2014, 6:30-9:30pm
Where: Markov, Carlton (350-352 Drummond Street, Carlton, http://www.markov.com.au)
$$: This event is FREE.
Who: Come on down and please bring any interested people you know

We will be inviting science-minded people from all over Victoria, including Melbourne Skeptics, Inspiring Australia, Young Scientists of Australia, National Science Writers, the Royal Society of Victoria, Nerd Nite Melbourne, Laborastory Melbourne, University Science Societies and more.

Event-holders will be given the opportunity to briefly talk about their shows and we will be giving away door prizes (including free tickets to The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared, out on 21 August) and National Science Week ‘goodie-bags’ to create a fun networking experience.

Please RSVP via Eventbrite

The ASC and Inspiring Australia: working with the national strategy for engagement with the sciences

The Australian Science Communicators continues to be an active partner in the Inspiring Australia strategy. We are a member of the Science Sector Group, which provides national leadership and coherent action among non-government science sector organisations. This group aims to enable collaboration, information sharing and, where appropriate, coordinated approaches to issues around science. An important objective is to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, quantity and quality of Australian public science engagement.

Australia aspires to be an inventive society with a technologically skilled workforce, a scientifically literate community and scientifically well informed decision makers. The Inspiring Australia strategy aims to build a strong, open relationship between science and society, underpinned by effective communication of science and its uses.

The ASC shares many of the underlying aims of Inspiring Australia. We view that our involvement in several of Inspiring Australia’s activities will add value to the efforts of both groups.

Inspiring Australia

Cheer squad, critic or crusader? Science and medical writers today

17 May 2013
6:00 pmto8:00 pm

Cheer squad or critic? Awareness raiser, crusader or watchdog? What is the role of science and medical writers today?

Join us for a discussion on this, and more, by a panel of expert science and medical writers in Sydney on 17 May. This is a joint event of the Australian Science Communicators and the Australasian Medical Writers’ Association.

Our speakers are:

  • Jane McCredie — executive director of the NSW Writers’ Centre
  • Mikey Slezak — Australasian correspondent for New Scientist
  • Bianca Nogrady — freelance journalist, author and broadcaster.

As well as the role of science and medical writers they’ll be covering:

  • employment options
  • audiences, styles and philosophies in science and medical writing
  • relationships with other fields.

This session is for anyone who cares about the public discussion of science and medicine.

Place: Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, 280 Pitt St, Sydney (near Bathurst St) smsa.org.au

Drinks and nibbles start at 6 pm, discussion begins at 6:30 pm (for about an hour).

Seating is limited and bookings are essential:
http://scienceandmedicine.eventbrite.com.au/

Cost: Free for ASC and AMWA members; $10 for the general public

Enquiries: Helen Sim 0419 635 905 (voice or text)

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS

Jane McCredie is an author and journalist specialising in science and medicine. She is co-editor with Natasha Mitchell  of this year’s anthology of The Best Australian Science Writing and writes a weekly blog on medicine for the Medical Journal of Australia’s electronic sister publication, mjainsight.com.au. Her book on the science of sex and gender, Making Girls and Boys, was published in Australia in 2011 and in the US (under the title, Beyond X and Y) in 2012. The former popular science publisher at NewSouth Books, Jane is now executive director of the NSW Writers’ Centre.

Michael Slezak is New Scientist’s Australasian correspondent. Since starting there a year ago, he’s written about everything from dinosaur footprints to space mining, and covered every twist and turn in the Higgs boson story. Before that, he spent two years as a medical journalist at Reed Business Information and studied and taught philosophy of science at the University of Sydney.

Bianca Nogrady is a freelance science journalist, broadcaster and author, who is yet to meet a piece of research she doesn’t find fascinating. In nearly a decade of freelance reporting, she has written for publications including Scientific American, The Australian, Ecos magazine, Australian Doctor and the ABC’s health, science and environment websites. She is also author of The End: The Human Experience Of Death (in bookstores this month) and co-author of The Sixth Wave: How To Succeed In A Resource-Limited World (2010).

 

ASC National conference 2012 – three great days

What happens when you have 250 science communicators in the same place at the same time? Going on observations from the recent national conference in Sydney you get an intense buzz of social networking. Every face to face gathering was busy with people talking, laughing, exchanging ideas and contact details, moving around to meet new people and to catch up with a wide range of colleagues. Cyberspace was filled with an intense stream of tweets which lasted well after the conference – and they are still coming although now at a trickle (see #ASC2012 for the latest). One tweeter during the conference pleaded for others to slow the pace as he couldn’t keep up with the flow and catch a moment of the sessions at the same time.

We are still digesting the results of the post-conference on-line survey. We had around 130 completed questionnaires – a great response rate. I’m happy to report overwhelmingly positive feedback. There were good suggestions for improvements which will be considered as we start planning for the next national gathering.

I look forward to developing the relationships with the federal and five state Chief Scientists and with all the Inspiring Australia representatives who featured at the conference. The ASC is growing its connections all the time.

My choices for conference highlights

Day 1: Ian Chubb’s talk provoked much ongoing discussion about several big topics and issues. One was that public interest in science developed countries is declining while the inverse is true in developing economies. Why is this? Is this a worrying trend (I say yes)? What do we do about it? Is there an inverse relation between celebrity appreciation and cerebrum use?

The cocktail function at the end of Day 1 gave us a look at UTS’s impressive new function space. Around 150 delegates got together for two hours of intense chatting and mixing in a most pleasant atmosphere. I thought this worked far better than a sit down dinner for networking. Also we didn’t have to charge for the event (thanks to UTS sponsoring this most hospitable function).

Day 2: The opening plenary about career possibilities for science communicators featured good energy and diverse jobs paths. It not only highlighted several talented early career sci-commers but revealed the Australian Museum was holding a ‘Jurassic Lounge’ event that night which added to delegates’ choice of social events for the evening. I enjoyed the ABC Café Scientific chat-fest but I noted the tweet stream from rapt Jurassic Loungers.

Day 3: Chris Fluke in the morning plenary said that he was satisfied with 85% accuracy in his astronomical animations (he sometimes exaggerates vertical scale for visual effect). This kicked-off a discussion topic that we won’t see the end of. In the afternoon plenary about science to policy I was interested to hear about how rallies of scientists were organised to get media attention and public support to pressure the government not to cut funding for medical research work. The threatened funding cut was a rumour at the time but timely action of getting scientists onto the streets may have been instrumental in preserving funds during a cost-cutting period.

Days 1-3: I was also impressed with the efforts exhibitors at the conference put into making their display areas look appealing. It enticed me to chat with a few of them and I would have visited all the stands if I had less running around to do.

The Science-As-Art exhibition seemed to be a big hit. More than 100 votes were cast for the People’s Choice winner and there was a lot of feedback that the exhibition should be a regular feature of future conferences.

Several teams of people worked hard and effectively to achieve a great conference. The ASC conference organising teams lead by Rod Lamberts are deservedly basking in the bright glow of congratulations for the high quality of the overall event. Our professional conference convenors ensured that all ran smoothly and made the most of the excellent venue.

So how do we do even better next time? I’ll leave that to you to send your suggestions.

Jesse Shore
National President

ASC conference – a social happening

Cocktails in UTS’s new Great Hall? Café Scientific in a pub? Book Launch event of The Genome Generation? Pre-conference drinks with sci-comm up-and-comings?

Yes to all! The conference social calendar is now in place and we even offer a choice on the Tuesday evening.

First off is a relaxed pre-conference get-together at the Belgian Beer Café in the Rocks on Sunday 26 February from 6pm. Will Grant is organising this event. Reply to his tweet @willozap if attending.

Science Communication Tweetup pre #asc2012. 6pm, 26th Feb, Belgian Beer Cafe The Rocks (See Map Here) ping @willozap if attending!

Get dressed up on Monday 27 February for a cocktail function from 6-8pm at the newly refurbished Great Hall of the University Technology Sydney. All registered conference delegates are invited to this convivial gathering. Arrive on time to mingle and relax. There will be a couple of brief presentations and then some more mingling, etc. UTS has a lot to show off – you’ll hear about the exciting major rejuvenation of the university and its neighbourhood, its new science facilities and novel partnerships in communicating science. The Great Hall is in the Tower building on Broadway in Ultimo, a short walk or a quick bus ride from the conference venue.

Tuesday 28 February offers two events from 6-8pm for different tastes. In fact your choice of which one to go to may be influenced by where you want to eat afterwards.

  • The science team at the ABC with support from NETS and Rod Lamberts, our conference convenor, are putting on a light-hearted conversation about seriously communicating science, and the best part is that’s in a pub (location TBA).
  • The second event is in restaurant rich Glebe (a short bus or taxi ride from the Masonic Centre). Elizabeth Finkel’s latest book, The Genome Generation, will be launched at Gleebooks on Glebe Point Road. The first 20 delegates to RSVP will get free entry (otherwise $10). Drinks are available. Elizabeth will be in conversation with Wilson da Silva, editor-in-chief of Cosmos Magazine. See http://www.gleebooks.com.au/default.asp?p=events/events4_htm#Elizabeth_Finkel.

More information about how to RSVP for the events will come soon.

More details are being added to the conference program and many sessions have powerful panels of potent presenters. The sooner you register the quicker you can reserve your place for sessions and events that have limited numbers.

So get organised and get registered – go to http://2012conf.asc.asn.au/register/ to make it happen.

Jesse Shore
National President