Thank you to our President A/Prof. Joan Leach for the March/April update.
Not that there was any doubt, but the variety of evaluations coming in on ASC14 shows that the conference was definitely seen as a success by our members. Interestingly, 61% of colleagues we met in Brisbane were at their first ASC conference. The top three words used to describe the conference were “interesting,” “fun,” and “engaging.” Finally, the nominations for ‘most useful session’ went on for 3 pages and name-checked just about everyone! Of course, we’ve learned some things, too. Our members want more professional development sessions, more time for networking (we are communicators, after all), are predictably savvy receivers of communication advice and don’t like to be told how to do it without evidence for why it works, and need fruit and not just cupcakes to function at conferences. So, the conference team and Executive are working through this data to help plan future conferences and events…and professional development sessions.
This month, I’m trying to get across the range of activities that are going on nationally and work with our volunteers to find ways we can support more of the activities our members want. I do want to send out a general ‘save the date’ invitation for 2 October for an “International Roundtable on Science Communication” to be held at Customs House in Brisbane in conjunction with the International Communication Association. I’ll send more about this out via SCOPE in due course, but this event is an attempt to highlight science communication activity in the Asia-Pacific region and Australia’s leading place in it.
Finally, I’ve had more than a few conversations in the last several weeks to bring me down from the conference (sugar) high. As the next Federal budget approaches some science communicators find themselves and their work not only under scrutiny but under pressure and threat. I’ve heard a range of interpretations of ‘what might happen’ (and what has happened) but I’m keen that, as a community, ASC supports our members and affirms the value of what we do. As ever, I’m keen to hear from members about how ASC might respond to our changing context and clearly assert our value.