President’s Update

Thanks to Joan Leach for the President’s Update.

ASC sending members to the Freelance Focus Conference—follow them on twitter!

ASC members attended the Walkley Freelance Focus conference on the 5th and 6th of August. The program was stellar. We asked Daniel Oldfield, Ian McDonald, and Tara Roberson to tweet from the event and write up their ‘top freelance tips’ from the conference — you can find them below in this issue of Scope. In the meantime, check out #FreelanceFocus and you may want to follow ASCers below to hear more:


We’re also keen to hear about other events nationally where we can send ASC members to build their skills and bring back tips for the rest of us. We were able to give tickets to ASCers in the ACT, in Melbourne, and in Brisbane for this Walkley conference. Let us know if there is something going on relevant to ASC in your part of the country!

Our colleagues at AMWA (Australasian Medical Writers Association) are busy getting ready for their 32nd annual conference in Brisbane—I note more than one ASC member on the program. Check it out here:

ASC responds to STEM discussion paper

At the end of June, the Commonwealth Government put out a consultation paper “Vision for a Science Nation” that responded to the Chief Scientist, Ian Chubb. ASC has welcomed these developments as the consultation paper goes some way to valuing the work that science communication and engagement does toward a “science nation.” Our response highlights the following issues:

  • ASC supports a national strategy that integrates science communication and engagement skills into STEM education
  • ASC is a willing future partner in Inspiring Australia for a national strategy of STEM engagement
  • ASC members are active contributors and potential partners in Australia’s cultural diplomacy efforts. Our view of science communication in Australia is a global view.
  • ASC promotes science communication as a bedrock skill for commercialisation

I’ll keep ASC up to date with this process as it unfolds.

Member blog: Sciengage

Sciengage, which can be found on facebook, twitter and the Sciengage website, is the brainchild of ASC member Sam Askin.

Sam took some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions for the ASC.

What are you aiming to achieve with Sciengage?

The aim of the site is to consolidate the science that is online, from the casual observer to the hardcore scientist. There are so many resources, blogs, channels and projects that is it hard to know where to start when looking to follow science. Sciengage provides a gateway from which you can explore science yourself, and return to as you need or want. It consolidates blogs and showcases science in social media and crowdfunding, and also has a discussion forum. Science communications and engagement services are also offered. I realise the site does some things similar to other sites (eg. scienceseeker, IFLS), but I don’t see it as a competitor to these resources, but a complement.

What inspired you to get involved?

My inspiration came from my own experience online. I only recently joined Twitter (6 months ago), and used it largely for news and discovery of science. What I noticed was there was SO much there that it was often impossible to keep up with, and you got a sense of missing things (and that was only following about 200 resources). I also wanted to add my bit to the online science writing world, but instead of being another fish in the sea, why not become the place that showcases what is already there, so people can have a common starting place.

How has your ASC membership helped you in starting Sciengage?

ASC (and the bigsci summit and #onsci as well) were essentially my springboard into science online/through social media. When I joined Twitter, I used profiles such as ASC to discover who was out there, what they were talking about, how they talked about it and what people were using/spreading online as resources. It was pivotal to not only my own discovery of the plethora of sources out there, but to how I designed the site and what features I wanted to bring.

Thanks to Sam for taking the time to answer our questions, if you have a couple of minutes to spare, why don’t you pop over and see what Sciengage has to offer!

ASC partner with BIG science communication summit

Thanks to Claire Harris for her run-down of the ASC/BIG science blogosphere team.

There is no doubt that the BIG Science Communication Summit provided a memorable experience for those that attended. And… for those who watched from afar via the EASELivestream and on social media (for example, using the hashtag #bigsci13 on Twitter).

ASC was proud to be a community partner with the Inspiring Australia, TechNyou and ScienceRewired teams and to be part of delivering the vision for the BIG Science Communication Summit. The event aimed to deliver an opportunity for science communicators to collaboratively discuss the challenges they face individually and collectively, and to develop solutions through engaging both before and during the event.

ScienceRewired provided an opportunity for six ASC members to have berths on the social media team – to drive discussion and debate – and to attend the event.

The ASC Live Bloggers were:

  • Amelia Swan (@SwanAmelia)
  • Victoria Leitch (@craniophiles)
  • Melissa Lyne (@malyne)
  • Kali Madden (@ASCkali)
  • Sarah Lau (@LaLaLausy)
  • Sam Askin (@samaskin). Sam actually contributed from his office in Townsville. Kali said: We were all amazed that he could be so ‘in the moment’ and we thought he must have been sitting in the gallery with the rest of the team!

The super team of live bloggers (ok, yes I was one of them but hell, I’m going with super!) were encouraged to explore topics of interest and contribute Tweets, blogs, photo galleries. The ASC live bloggers also played an important part in reporting the happenings at the event, particularly the workshops, as they weren’t being live-streamed.

Kylie Sturgess, the Social Media Coordinator for ScienceRewired led us through the, at times for me slightly confusing, social media playground set up for the event. (I for one had some experience in Twitter, Facebook and blogs but Storify, live streaming… not so much.)

Kylie Sturgess actively podcasted, networked and blogged/Tweeted/photographed the event along with the team. She gathered some great stories on Storify.

I think I can speak on behalf of the team to say that Kylie was a bundle of fun and a font of knowledge on social media.

Apparently #bigsci13 trended on Twitter on both days for Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney and we got feedback from attendees present and online saying they appreciated the contributions from the team.

Bloggers’ selfie: Claire Harris (left), Vanessa Hill (middle), Victoria Leitch (top), Kylie Sturgess (bottom)

Some Tweets:

@sciencerewired: Missed a session from yesterday? Didn’t see it livestreamed? Thanks to our Social Media Team, catch up at: … #BigSci13 This Tweet was Retweeted 14 times.

@DoUBelieveInDog: @sciencerewired Can confirm you are coming through loud and clear and amazeballs on the live stream #bigsci13  🙂 (Just need more #dogs!)

@nessyhill: Mwahhahaha RT @chachiconnell: So there’s bloggers hidden in the gallery #bigsci13 I’m getting flashbacks of the #redwedding #GoT

See some of the live bloggers’ contributions on one of the Storifys.

Check out some of the blog posts written by the team:

Thanks for a great experience and all your hard work ASC crew, Kylie and indeed all involved in the event.

Bloggers’ selfie: Will Grant (left), Sarah Lau (middle), Amelia Swan (left)

ACT Event: New media: what do audiences want and how can communicators add value?

29 November 2011
6:00 pmto9:00 pm

Join the Australian Science Communicators and CSIRO Discovery for this event discussing the changing face of communication with four dynamic new (and social) media experts.

From Twitter to Facebook to YouTube to Government 2.0, this event will be an interactive session covering successes, failures, insights and trends in new media. Learn why it’s critical that communication professionals understand new media opportunities and pitfalls and explore what the future holds.

Our panel features:

  • CHRIS CASSELLA: Managing Director of ScienceAlert
  • DEREK MULLER: filmmaker, educator and founder of video blog Veritasium
  • WILL GRANT: from ANU and social media researcher
  • CRAIG THOMLER: government 2.0 advocate

Following our thought-provoking panel discussion we will run the ACT branch AGM (see below)

When: Tuesday 29 November

Time: 6pm start with drinks & nibbles

Where: CSIRO Discovery Optus lecture theatre, Clunies Ross St, Black Mountain, ACT (map and parking info)

Cost: free. Evening also features a lucky door prize for an ASC member attending the AGM.

RSVP and enquiries: asccanberra AT Check out ACT ASC on Facebook and feel free to ask questions to our panel here!

More on our panel


Chris Cassella

Chris Cassella, Managing Director of ScienceAlert Pty Ltd, is an ex-Microsoft programmer and failed neuroscientist. He partnered with Julian Cribb in 2007 to revamp the ScienceAlert website for his Master of Science Communication degree at the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science. He is a strong proponent of Facebook as a platform to ‘inspire and engage’ the world with science.

ScienceAlert reaches over a million people a month between its website and Facebook page. With over a half a million fans, ScienceAlert is the most popular science news site on Facebook and has more fans than news icons like The Wall St Journal, TIME magazine, The UK Financial Times, The Washington Post and The Huffington Post.

Web:,, Twitter: @sciencealert


Derek Muller

Derek Muller is an Australia-born, Canadian-raised filmmaker and educator. He completed his PhD at the University of Sydney on how to design multimedia to teach physics. Putting this research to use, he created the science video blog Veritasium at the beginning of 2011. He has made over 70 short films which together have been watched millions of times. Derek also lectures at UTS, teaches at Matrix Education, and presents for Catalyst on the ABC.

Twitter: @veritasium,,,,,


Will Grant

Will Grant is a lecturer and researcher at the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science. His research and writing has focused on the intersection between science, society and politics, and how this intersection is changing with new social technologies.

Twitter: @willozap,



Craig Thomler

Government 2.0 Advocate with over 15 years experience in early-stage companies, Craig joined the public service in 2006, focusing on improving public governance through strategic use of digital technologies. Recognised internationally as a leader in the field, Craig speaks regularly on Government 2.0 strategy and practice and blogs at

Twitter: @eGovAU, @craigthomler

The ASC Canberra AGM – please attend, we need a quorum to proceed!

Are you a proactive member wanting to be part of shaping ASC? All positions on the committee are genuinely open. The committee’s main responsibilities are organising networking and professional development events for ASC members in Canberra and supporting and shaping the national activities.

1. Confirmation of members attending, apologies, proxies.
2. Confirmation of the Minutes of the previous Annual General Meeting
3. Tabling of treasurer and president reports
4. Nominations sought for office bearers (those in bold mandatory). Where more than one nomination, vote by members in secret ballot (nominees leave the room).

  • President
  • Vice-President
  • National liaison position (this position can be held as a dual-role by President, Treasurer or Committee member)
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary
  • Rest of committee (Brains Trust)

5. Any other business
6. Close meeting

Please register your interest in being a committee member by emailing ‘asccanberra AT’ before the meeting.

If you cannot attend the meeting, please send a proxy vote via email as we need a quorum (20% of current member numbers or 20 members, whichever is less).

Being on the committee is a great way to build your professional network, get event management experience and learn new skills. And the committee has been known, of course, to enjoy catching up often for breakfast or over a beer.

More information about the ASC Canberra Committee can be found at: