Daniel, that was eloquently put. It's a shame we lost you as a member!

I too, am thoroughly loving the debate about who we are. It is only through this that we can move forward. I'd go so far as to suggest that this is what we're about more than anything right now. We're still 'developmental', even after so long, because we are asking these questions. The organisation has to keep asking and shifting. In this context, benefit and value propositions are going to be hard to pin down.

There is nothing wrong with the introspection, the debate, the diversity - but there is something wrong if we can't harness it and move it forward. Many organisations reach a crossroad where they need to take stock. This needn't be frightening, confronting, nor should it put anyone in a position of feeling that they've not done enough, or too much, or they're feeling hurt....this is a genuinely healthy place to be, if you think about it.

I agree that we're not sure what we all have in common, us mongrels (love it) and there is a valid reason for finding out what that is. Is there room for us to look at different organisational structures? What are other organisations doing? Is our traditional structure holding us back? Does it leave all the work in too few laps? Can we crowdsource fund some special projects? Are there potential partners out there we can't see for looking?

There are many roles the executive needs to take (besides the administration): a memberships role to work on specific strategies to boost memberships. Then there's a partnerships/sponsorships/alliance role, where we can attempt to level the financial playing field. Then there's the professional developer role to work with members on what they want, what we can achieve with training, education, etc. Then there's an overall  marketing/communications role..of course the list goes on, importantly including a code of ethics or a charter of some sort.

Many, many moons ago I created the first ASC member directory. It was a print thing and it was cross referenced around who worked where, what their skills were, what they called themselves. At that point I felt that any member could easily find out who others were. It was a painful task but totally worth it.

As I've said before, as many others have, we've all tried different things with varying results. It would be great if we could gather together our collective wisdom, as we have been doing in this email trail, in a formal way, as a 'census' of how ASC operates, what works, what people want. Surveys are hard, but a good one is worth every bit of effort. So let's not call it a survey. Let's call it a census and be positive.

I would be pleased to put a census together, with a project team, if people that that was a good idea. Just to at least get a line in the sand on where we're at.

Open to suggestions...or not.

Cheers

Jess Tyler

Jess Tyler
SciBiz Media & Communications
M: 0408 298 292


On Tue, Nov 19, 2013 at 3:44 PM, George Aranda <george.aranda@deakin.edu.au> wrote:
Well said Daniel (via Lee).

I am relatively new to ASC (a couple years as a member, but now part of the Victorian committee). I am interested in science communication as a science educator and academic, which I believe is a very small part of what ASC does.

A question. Have there been SIGs (Special Interest Groups) before? I would be interested in being part of discussions with those who would be interested in my small area, and embrace using Skype, google hangouts and other video conferencing technology.

Are people interested in SIGs??

George


-- 
Dr George Aranda
Research Fellow – Science Education
Faculty of Arts and Education

From: Mobile Science Education <info@mobilescienceeducation.com.au>
Date: Tuesday, 19 November 2013 3:26 PM
To: ASC Lists <asc-list@lists.asc.asn.au>
Subject: [ASC-list] Past, present and future of ASC

The following is from Daniel Keogh, ex-ASC member, and is shared by request. A valuable contribution to the current ‘debate’.

 

(and on a related note: has there ever been any effort to do an exit survey on members who let their financial status lapse for more than 1 year?)

 

Lee Harrison

Mobile Science Education

 

0430 588 757 or (08) 8395 9586

info@mobilescienceeducation.com.au

www.mobilescienceeducation.com.au

PO Box 556, Ingle Farm, SA 5098

-------

 

It’s been great to watch this evolving debate on the ASC-list; a refreshing shift from the small fry problems such as how one pronounces ‘kilometre’.

 

As Nancy mentioned, the diversity of opinions demonstrates passion and commitment to the cause.

 

But let’s talk about diversity…

 

As many have mentioned, being a science communicator is a tricky thing to classify. We have journalists, communications officers, entertainers, educators and producers.

 

But there’s diversity in our financial, geographical and practical dimensions too.

 

Some of us are contracted with healthy salaries, others run small business. There are freelancers who live by each paycheque and dreamers whose desire is simply to affording the oil to give their rags an aroma.

 

We’re from all over the nation. Our nearest event could be within our building, a drive from beyond the metro or a flight from the other end of the country.

 

There’s also what is practical and relevant to each of us. We have some that directly antagonise social media platforms, and others that live by them. Those that value practice and those that value theory. Some serve masters and some are their own. There’re talkers and actors and curious spectators.

 

Roll the dice on any of these dimensions and you have a science communicator, each with different circumstances. What a bunch of mongrels we are, you and I?

 

My profile falls in the category where the travel is too long and costly, the discussion is inapplicable and the communication methods inefficient. That’s why I don’t support a conference and why I ultimately left the ASC.

 

But I’m just one member of this multi-disciplinary monstrosity. Others have clearly found value with the group and continue to create it too.

 

However, I feel diversity isn’t helping our community. Go back to first year Science Communication: who is your audience ASC?

 

Is it science public relations and communications officers?

or science journalists?

or science outreach teams?

or academics?

Or science popularisers and performers?

 

We’re really just a family of orphans here, planning what we’ll do at Christmas. Will we bring together the ‘family’? Or hang out with the people we have more in common with?

 

As far as I see it ASC needs to pick what it wants to be, or else nurture the diversity.

 

Lee rightly feels marginalised when people on the list (who can afford to attend conferences and help organise them) don’t value his input, or even address him in person. And you wonder why survey responses are so low.

 

And how can individual branches expect more than single figures when an event may only be relevant or appealing to a few members? Or the discussion group goes dead after the grammar nazis are done discussing their pet peeve?

 

Perhaps it’s chapters we need, or forums for different types of communicators, or to define exactly what ASC is and isn’t. But you’ll never grow your membership unless you embrace and increase what you all share in common.

 

And honestly, besides a love of science, that’s not a whole bunch.


Daniel Keogh

 


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