President’s Update August 2018

Another Bloody Conference?

My wife hears me say that too often during the course of a year when I’ve been invited to attend another conference. And often they involve a lot more travel than I prefer, a lot more preparation that is done for free, and a lot more grumbling about having to miss out on things to go.

Until I get there. Then I generally find that the time is well spent, the people are stimulating and enjoyable and I come back richer in experience and wisdom.

But one conference I won’t be grumbling about beforehand and knowing I am going to get those benefits is this year’s Australian Science Communicator’s Conference.

This year’s conference – with the theme of’ Elevate Engage Collaborate’ will be held at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney from Sunday evening 11 November through to Wednesday 14 November, with an extra day of professional workshops.

Building on the success of the last conference in Adelaide I expect his year’s conference to be a showcase of the sparkling talent of ASC members, providing a great opportunity to meet peers,find out what the latest trends in research and practice are – and to discover some awesome science communication.

There are also some important issues for science communicators to consider:

  • Are we making enough impact?
  • Are our roles changing from translator of science, to match-maker between scientists and their audiences?
  • How do we adapt the ever-changing media landscape?
  • How do you continue to do your job with less resources?
  • How do you be innovative in a risk-adverse organisation?
  • And so many more.


There is a good chance that others of our members are wrestling with these problems, or may even have found some solutions to them. And I find that is one of the key strengths of an ASC conference – providing an opportunity to share problems and solutions.

Already we have received a great number of ideas for panels and volunteers to be session producers – which all goes to making a better conference when it is based on your ideas and your input. Because let’s be honest – it is YOUR conference and needs to meet YOUR needs.


For anyone who has worked in the sciences, or social sciences, it is clearly established that conferences are a very important way to keep up with latest trends, make professional acquaintances, find new opportunities and just hang with the tribe.

And Janine Popick, writing for Inc. has said the four main benefits for any employee in attending a conference (make sure you boss hears this), are to:

  • Learn new things relevant to doing your job better,
  • Network with other professionals,
  • Acquire new content and practical ideas,
  • Share new learnings and ideas in the workplace upon your return.


But whatever your motive for attending the ASC Conference – I look forward to seeing you in Sydney in November.

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