About Lisa Bailey

ASC President 2019

Fresh Science call for nominations

Nominations close next Thursday 29 July 2021.

Fresh Science

Calling all early career researchers.

Got results, a discovery or invention that has
not received any publicity?

Nominate for Fresh Science 2021. Find your
story, get media trained and promote your science.

Fresh Science is looking for:

  • early-career
    researchers (from honours students to no more than five years post-PhD).
  • a peer-reviewed
    discovery that has had little or no media coverage; and
  • some ability to
    present ideas in everyday English.

Participants receive a day of media training
followed by the chance to share their work with peers at the pub. Their work
will be profiled online, promoted by social media and, for some, the mainstream

In some states, they will also get an
introduction to talking to business and government and learn how to pitch.

Now in its
23rd year, Fresh Science has trained over 550 scientists to share their
science, and generated hundreds of news stories via TV, print, radio and
online. You can read past Fresh Scientists’ stories online at freshscience.org.au

In 2021 Fresh Science will run in QLD,
VIC, and NSW.

We are working on the final sponsorships to
lock in events for SA and WA. We will also run it in
other states and territories where we can secure local support.

In each state where we run an event, we will
select the top ten applicants (Vic, Qld, NSW). For successful applicants from
other states, you will be invited to participate in a nearby state event if you
can cover your travel costs. Events are in October and November­– dates are

Nominations close 5pm AEST Thursday 29 July.

Fresh Science is an initiative ofScience inPublic and is supported nationally by Defence Science
Technology Group.

Fresh Science VIC is supported by The
University of Melbourne, Monash University, La Trobe University and hosted by
the Royal Society of Victoria.

Fresh Science NSW is supported by
UNSW, Western Sydney University, Macquarie University and hosted by the
Australian National Maritime Museum.

Fresh Science QLD is supported by UQ,
Griffith University, QUT, University of Southern Queensland and University of
the Sunshine Coast. It hosted by UQ and Griffith; and delivered in partnership
with Econnect Communication.

We are working on the final sponsorships to
lock in events for SA and WA. We have early support from Flinders
University, the University of Adelaide, University of Western Australia, Curtin
University, the South Australian Museum, and the Western Australian Museum.

Q&A Webinar – Dr Linda McIver

Join us for our next in our Q&A webinar series on Friday 30 July with our guest Dr Linda McIver.

Free for all ASC members – register via zoom here

Dr Linda McIver pioneered authentic Data Science and Computational Science education with real impact for secondary students and founded the Australian Data Science Education Institute in 2018. Author of “Raising Heretics: Teaching kids to change the world”, Linda is an inspiring keynote speaker who has appeared on the ABC’s panel program Q&A, and regularly delivers engaging Professional Development for Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Educators across all disciplines. A passionate educator, researcher and advocate for STEM, equity and inclusion, with a PhD in Computer Science Education and extensive teaching experience, Linda’s mission is to ensure that all Australian students have the opportunity to learn STEM and Data Science skills in the context of projects that empower them to solve problems and make a positive difference to the world.

Member Q&A Webinar: Dr Katie Attwell, social scientist with a focus on attitudes to vaccination

As Australia starts the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines, join us for the next in our series where we will be hosting Dr Katie Atwell – community, systems and behavioural researcher in the area of vaccination uptake. Wednesday March 17, 2021 07:30 PM AEDST Send through your questions on vaccine hesitancy and public health comms strategy when you register. This session is open, free, to all current ASC members, to check your membership or join visit http://www.asc.asn.au/join/ Book now at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_egwbE2s6T9yLNRtTDRC3IQ

Member webinar: Q&A with Isabelle Kingsley, Research Associate for the Office of the Women in STEM Ambassador

ASC Member Q&A Webinar
Feb 19, 2021 12:30 PM AEDST

Register at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_SdsNaDMtRnalkBvdMRs_Cw

When it comes to women in STEM intiatives – how do we know what works?

While there are hundreds of programs to attract and retain girls and women in STEM, a recent Australian National University study found that only seven of 337 initiatives in Australia provided publicly available evidence of impact or an evaluation of their effectiveness.

This is where our guest Isabelle Kingsley comes in! As a researcher with The Office of the Women in STEM Ambassador, Isabelle is working on projects spanning a range of Women in STEM issues, including the recently published Evaluating STEM Gender Equity Programs guide which provides practical tools for anyone running a gender equity program to evaluate their project and focus on what really works.

This event is free for all current ASC members. To check your membership or join, visit http://www.asc.asn.au/join/


Register via zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_SdsNaDMtRnalkBvdMRs_Cw


Notice for 2020 Annual General Meeting – new date Thursday 10 December

Official notice of 2020 Australian Science Communicators AGM (online via Zoom)

This is the official notice of the Australian Science Communicators’ Annual General Meeting, to be held online via zoom on THURSDAY 10 DECEMBER 2020 (please note new date)

The 2020 AGM is an opportunity for members to hear about the year’s events at the national level, and also to have their say about what should happen in the year to come. It also includes reports from the President and Treasurer.

When: Thursday 10 December

Perth: 5pm

Brisbane: 7pm

Adelaide/Darwin: 7.30pm

Sydney/Melb/Canberra: 8pm

Where: Online via zoom (please RSVP and you will be emailed a link to join).

RSVP via Form below or via this link

Only financial ASC members are eligible to attend the AGM. Please check you have renewed your membership community.asc.asn.au

Executive Council Positions

Given the turmoil of 2020, the current executive has offered to remain in to provide caretaker/continuity to the organisation over 2020/21.

The current ASC President Lisa Bailey will be remaining in the President’s role.

The current ASC Secretary position shared by Shiloh Gerrity and Michelle Riedlinger will continue.

The current ASC Treasurer Aiden Muirhead will continue.

The current ASC Vice President Lynette Plenderleith will continue.

If you are interested in joining the Executive Council (as Treasurer, Secretary, Vice President x 2), then please contact the National Secretary. If more than one person is interested in a particular position, then an election will take place.

Reps on the National Council

Branches are required to nominate and endorse a National Representative to join the National Council at their Branch AGM. If this has happened, please notified the National Secretary.

Agenda items and notices of motions

Proposed agenda items, notices of motion must be received by 5.30pm (AEDT) Tuesday 1 December 2020 and can be sent to president@asc.asn.au. Note that notices of motion require a proposer and a seconder.


Members unable to attend the AGM in person can provide an online proxy. This will allow members to nominate another current ASC member attending the meeting to hold their proxy, or alternatively the National Secretary. Instructions for nominating proxies will be circulated prior to the AGM along with the final notification of official business. Please note, organisations that have a membership may nominate only one (1) representative to vote.

The following items are current as of 3 November 2020:

Building new worlds for exploration: designing online exhibits during COVID-19

Written by Dr Debbie Devis

I never thought I would be chatting about psychology and loneliness whilst running from a zombie, but COVID-19 has surprised me in unexpected ways. When the pandemic hit, we all had to adjust. For us at MOD. at UniSA, that meant we had to close galleries and set up an online exhibition called LIFE INTERRUPTED. It was important to maintain live, interactive escapes from the isolation of staying at home and so two of my pet projects were born. These projects were MOD.Craft, a public, moderated Minecraft server, and MUSEUM.shift, a tabletop role playing game (RPG) written by myself and another moderator, Josh Vanner. Both of these interactive exhibits were designed to subtly introduce science concepts to young adults, whilst also providing a safe online space to continue interaction with  MOD. and others.


MOD.craft was broken into two exhibits; BIOPHILIA focused on whether nature needs to be real to gain the benefits of being outside, and in LIFE AFTER we explored whether we would choose to work together or alone after a major disaster. The greatest lesson I learned during this was the importance of community. We built up a group of regular visitors who invited friends and who were looking for company, but this led to most of the science discussions we ended up having. The regularity of moderators doing silly things like taming llamas and fiercely protecting villagers broke down some of the scary walls of “silly questions”, so our conversations became predominantly community lead as people started to ask us questions unrelated to our exhibit themes. The topics covered ranged from “What is unfalsifiability?” to “ How could we reverse gravity?”.

Image of an island created in Minecraft

An Island Retreat – by MODzilla for MODcraft BIOPHILIA

It is difficult to say whether this ease of comfort was driven by Minecraft or the fantastic facilitation from moderators, but minecraft provided such an easy medium to build those relationships. We built houses based on our own artistic styles and backgrounds, so visitors were able to identify which people were experts in which fields and direct targeted questions they had burning in their minds. This exploded when we set up a Discord server to allow people to talk to us in game when they weren’t playing, because people regularly came to chat, even if they couldn’t play. Overall, this made me realise the importance and power of online communities for breaking down barriers between demographics. Demonstrating  that we are all just humans with all our own skills and fallibilities is what made our visitors respond so well to us and the idea of chatting science.

Visitors wrote books in Minecraft about their experience in LIFE AFTER

Visitors wrote books in Minecraft about their experience in LIFE AFTER

MUSEUM.shift was a completely different experience, and was a game designed for people to take home and play with friends. This is a roleplaying game where players pretend to be a museum worker in a fantasy museum. A single player is the “game master” and tells an open ended, choose your own adventure story that players participate in. For example, the game master might say “As you are straigenting the tapestry, you hear a bleating as a sheep pushes its way out! What would you like to do?”. Each game was completely different depending on the decisions players made and ranged anywhere from strict logical progressions to complete absurdity. These were small games of 2-5 players, so it didn’t not have the same community strength as MOD.craft, but it did allow a lot more moderator lead science.

MUSEUM.shift games don’t require any specific knowledge background, but Josh (our resident RPG expert) and I would prepare as much as we could to put accurate history, science and art principles into each game. If a player asked to search the reference library for details on wormholes, this provided us an opportunity to give them accurate information. On another occasion a player wanted to melt a slime monster, so we were able to make up a machine based on thermal resonance.  The hardest part of this for us was how unpredictable each game is, but the opportunity to add a bit of science into the game became evident as soon as we started playtesting the game.

Museum Shift Map

Map of the fantasy museum in MUSEUM.shift. Players use this to fuel their imagination.

Both exhibits challenged my idea of how I communicate science. I often feel like I am not doing enough unless the science is explicit in what I am saying, but the breadth of science discussions we had in both exhibits made me reevaluate that notion and see the benefit of “unexpected science content”. I still got killed by a lot of skeletons, but at least it means somebody asked me about why plants don’t need bones.



Members Q&A Webinar Friday 28 August – Fred Watson

Join us for the next in our series where we will be hosting Australia’s Astronomer-at-large, writer, science communicator, good lighting advocate and traveller Fred Watson.

Fred has had a long and distinguished sci-com career, well-known for his astronomy slots on ABC radio, and his books include “Stargazer – the Life and Times of the Telescope”, “Why is Uranus Upside Down? and Other Questions About the Universe”

Send through your questions on writing, broadcasting, the universe and just what an Astronomer-at-large does anyway?

Friday 28 August

4pm AEST

Free, register via zoom webinar here.

Note – these sessions are free for all ASC members.  To join, or check your membership, visit http://www.asc.asn.au/join/

Volunteer Positions – apply now!

We need your help!

ASC would love your help.  We’ve got a few new volunteer positions available.  Click on the position below for the full position description:

·         Social media strategist volunteer – Express your enthusiasm for the face of #scicomm, hone your skills and make a difference to the Australian science communication community.

This role shapes the voice of ASC. Take the reins of our social channels and provide strategic direction to our communications. Provide recommendations to the ASC Committee as to where and how we should focus our efforts and assist in developing and implementing social campaigns where they can be most effective.

·         Digital Systems volunteer – Bring your troubleshooting mastery and your eye for detail to deliver a better experience for our members.

This role is all about giving members an intuitive, user-friendly experience when they interact with ASC.

·         Awards coordinator volunteer – Help ASC shine a light on those who have been doing great work, often without recognition, in science engagement in Australia.

This role provides the coordinating link between members and the committee for awards collation for the presentation of the Annual ASC Unsung Hero Awards. There is also scope within this role to review current and potential future ASC Awards.

Each role is remote, and can be done from anywhere in Australia, and comes with an honorarium in acknowledgement of the time and effort. For more information please visit the website for full position descriptions, and to apply send a short (2 page maximum) CV and a few sentences outlining your interest in the role to office@asc.asn.au with VOLUNTEER in the subject header by Monday 31 August.

Each role is 12 months.



Members Q&A series – Bobby Cerini 7 August 2020

What is the future of interactivity for hands-on science discovery centres like Questacon? There are huge challenges ahead as museums, science centres and galleries adapt to ‘the new normal’.
Join us for the next installation of our Q&A series with Dr Bobby Cerini, Deputy Director and General Manager of Science and Learning at Questacon as we explore the challenges and opportunities 2020 has thrown at this sector of science engagement.

Friday 7 August

4pm AEST (BYO knock off drinks!)

via Zoom webinar

Register now via this link

This event is free for all current ASC members – to join or check your membership status visit http://www.asc.asn.au/join/

Members Q&A series – Joan Leach 24 July 2020

Join us for the next event in our members Q&A series where we will be joined by Joan Leach, Director Director of the Australian National Centre for Public Awareness of Science at the ANU (colloquially known as ‘CPAS’) since January 2016.

CPAS’s research and teaching interests are varied and interdisciplinary- covering science communication, public engagement, policy, knowledge brokering, risk, and ethics. We’ll explore how CPAS is responding to the challenges and opportunities this year has thrown at us, what sci-com research we should be paying attention to and how sci-com teaching at CPAS has translated to online delivery.

Friday 24 July

4pm AEST (BYO knock off drinks!)

via Zoom webinar

Register now via this link

This event is free for all current ASC members – to join or check your membership status visit http://www.asc.asn.au/join/