I’m working my way through the possible outcomes of the recent Inspiring Australia conference. The main matter for me was the closing plenary. We were asked to vote on a number of poorly worded questions. I took issue with two points in particular. One was about whether the attendees supported Questacon overseeing the allocation of funding for projects related to IA initiatives or whether an independent committee should be established for this task. The point hadn’t been fully explored by the entire assembly and we were rushed to a vote based on minimal discussion. Let’s say that I had a brief but lively disagreement with the view that Questacon should have oversight. I think the result may lead to an advisory panel with Questacon providing the secretariat which I feel will be acceptable and time and cost efficient.
The other sore point was about a new website funded by DIISR which listed science communication events and profiles of the communicators who were the event organisers. I have no issue with the event listing but I think the listing of profiles partially duplicates what ASC has trying to do to promote the skills of its members. At this time the matter is under discussion and yet to be resolved.
Inspiring Australia should be about coordinating science communication activities in Australia and not duplicating functions of others. IA initiatives will be most effective and efficient when done in consultation with existing organisations. It seems the process needs some refinement.
I will report again when matters are made clearer.