A quick few lines of input from me.
Social media is the perfect way for groups and individuals to pursue discussion lines. Unlike email, social media facilitates following separate threads of discussion and encourages brevity. I love it for these reasons.
I know Facebook and twitter can feel intimidating if you're not a regular user, but I'd strongly encourage everyone to give them a go - properly - and see what you can get out of it.
A number of platforms in the science communication space are already up and running and suitable in this regard. Here are just a few, and I'd encourage others to add to this list:
Others I've forgotten?
PhD | BMedSci | GradDipSciComm
Freelance science writing and editing
mobile | 0419 976 834
twitter | @sciencesarah
On 20/11/2013, at 1:34 PM, Mobile Science Education wrote:
I’d agree that any formal segmentation of ASC would be a bad idea – we’re small enough, why get smaller? At the same time I think interest groups that emerge from the grass roots of the organisation would be healthy. This kind of thing can happen without splintering the organisation as a whole, and an online forum (with member-started discussion threads, etc) could possibly facilitate this better than an email list (and best of all, are available for free!). 0430 588 757 or (08) 8395 9586 PO Box 556, Ingle Farm, SA 5098 From: ASC-list [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Rob Morrison
Sent: Wednesday, 20 November 2013 12:01 PM
To: Jess Tyler; Ward, Wesley
Cc: ASC Lists
Subject: Re: [ASC-list] Past, present and future of ASC
One of the things that strikes me as a foundation member of ASC is the way some of these issues resurface on a cyclical basis. That is not to say that they should not, of course, but it does give a sense of deja vu.
Decades ago there was a concern among some of us that ASC was becoming a bit journalism-oriented, and that "science communicator" and "journalist" were starting to be used almost interchangeably. That is, I think, because the hard-working and very dedicated executive members were mostly journalists then, and that tended to push things in that direction.
At that point my professional preoccupations and particular focus were in writing science books, especially for the education market, and making science TV (for the ABC and commercial networks).
I was part of a group that argued for the kind of segmentation in ASC being mooted now in this discussion. We actually used the term "Chapters" to describe the proposed groupings, which were (from memory) things like education (school and tertiary), writing (books and similar), program-making (TV and Radio) and some others.
Because my work has involved editing for various journals, I have on several occasions been asked to talk to the (science) editors' conference, and I discussed with them the idea that they should be a chapter of ASC (too many professions start their own associations, but don't have the numbers to make them work as well as they might). The editors, I think, decided not to let go of the association they had already formed, and kept going successfully on their own, although some were also ASC members.
This notion of chapters was taken up and discussed widely in ASC, but it never really happened. I don't think that anyone was to blame for this; there were many reasons. One was that some groups that seemed natural ASC chapters to us, did not particularly attract those who we saw as filling them. An example (at that time) was Museum and Zoo educators. I was then President of Zoos SA (our zoos are run by a society and not the government) so I was in a good position to encourage this, but the practitioners themselves didn't make the connection that seemed so obvious to me. Around that time we also had some trouble attracting significant numbers of teachers and other educators; certainly not enough to form a vibrant chapter.
Now we have educators and museum educators as active members arguing for chapters, or similar, and, in the past few years, educators on the Executive have been enormously productive in advancing ASC in that direction, just as the journalists had been previously.
I suspect that, as people change their professional focus, the amount of time they have to commit, the intensity of their commitment etc etc, the numbers in each of these prospective chapters will cycle. My own ASC experience has involved roles as university educator, writer, broadcaster, editor, interactive science outreach administrator and more. At each stage I would have welcomed involvement with others similarly employed, but there were probably not enough at any one time to make a chapter strong enough to work well, and that professional landscape kept changing - for others as it did for me.
It is probably also true that the strengths of the executive members vary in the same way, and because so much of what the executive does is governed by what they can do in spare time as volunteers, there will always be a tendency for them to have ideas and wish to pursue opportunities that connect with their professional activities and interests. In many years as VP and Executive member of ASC, I have seen this emphasis shift, and some of the excellent achievements (like our involvement in IA) have been directly attributable to the professional focus of the President and other Exec members at that time.
I suspect that this mobility within Science Communication means that the composition of our proposed chapters becomes something of a moving target, with numbers often too small to create a workable unit within ASC. You see it reflected when we survey our members (as I did in ASCSA a few years ago) and try to discover where we might best offer activities. We had many suggestions, but they varied widely; from networking and museum visits to media training and theatrical performances. We did most of them at some stage over a two-year period, but not all events interested all members. so numbers were sometimes lower that we would have liked.
I suspect that is why we all, in the end, fall back on the loose connection of ASC being for people who are interested in science, which is true, but hard to make work in a professional sense as it is the practicalities of professional work that we want to explore.
I love the idea of interest-based groupings. There is no reason geography can't play a role, but ongoing day to day interactions would be great on Skype and Google. SciBiz Media & Communications
Hi, as a long-term ASC member, occasional ASC conference goer and very regional member (Albury - are we in NSW or Victoria anyway?), I would agree with more interest based SIGs rather than geographic basis. I am a science communication PhD student/researcher and an organisational communicator - and comparatively isolated - so this would better suit my situation, and might widen membership outside the cities, where a lot of science is done.
So, are any other members in the same boat? Time to talk!
Cheers, Wes Ward
CSU Media and PhD trekker
From: ASC-list [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Regan Forrest
Sent: Tuesday, 19 November 2013 4:28 PM
To: Jess Tyler; George Aranda
Cc: ASC Lists
Subject: Re: [ASC-list] Past, present and future of ASC
Like Merryn, I have experience of SIGs within Museums Australia (I'm one of the people keeping the Evaluation and Visitor Research Network going). I'm also President of the SA Branch for my sins (see why I usually take a back seat with ASC? ;) )
Looking at how the discussion is unfolding, I'm starting to wonder whether geography (ie. state branches) is necessarily the best way to organise such a diverse group as ASC, particularly in the era of Skype, Wikis and Google Hangouts. Geography-based branches are starting to feel like the legacy of a bygone era.
This is not to denigrate what happens at state level by any means. But in my experience of comparable organisations, it does kind of build up the assumption that "something", usually event-focused, needs to happen in each state for people who happen to be there to feel like they're getting a slice of the action. And events are time consuming and increasingly costly to organise (unless you have a tame venue provider who can offer you space for free or as good as). Also, smaller states are always going to struggle to 'compete' (not quite the right word,
sorry) with those that have larger memberships and so can put more things on. Then of course there are the members based outside of capital cities.
ASC is a big tent and grouping people by geography seems a bit arbitrary when shared interest might be a better way of doing it. This would be a longer-term decision than for next week's AGM, but maybe ASC might want to entertain the prospect of de-emphasising a state-based branch structure and building more activity around groups with shared interest such as SIGs.
Just putting it out there . . .
Charles Sturt University
| ALBURY-WODONGA | BATHURST | CANBERRA | DUBBO | GOULBURN | MELBOURNE | ONTARIO | ORANGE | PORT MACQUARIE | SYDNEY | WAGGA WAGGA |
This email (and any attachment) is confidential and is intended for the use of the addressee(s) only. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you must not copy, distribute, take any action in reliance on it or disclose it to anyone. Any confidentiality is not waived or lost by reason of mistaken delivery. Email should be checked for viruses and defects before opening. Charles Sturt University (CSU) does not accept liability for viruses or any consequence which arise as a result of this email transmission. Email communications with CSU may be subject to automated email filtering, which could result in the delay or deletion of a legitimate email before it is read at CSU. The views expressed in this email are not necessarily those of CSU.
Charles Sturt University in Australia http://www.csu.edu.au The Grange Chancellery, Panorama Avenue, Bathurst NSW Australia 2795 (ABN: 83 878 708 551; CRICOS Provider Numbers: 00005F (NSW), 01947G (VIC), 02960B (ACT)). TEQSA Provider Number: PV12018
Charles Sturt University in Ontario http://www.charlessturt.ca 860 Harrington Court, Burlington Ontario Canada L7N 3N4 Registration: www.peqab.ca
Consider the environment before printing this email.
Disclaimer added by CodeTwo Exchange Rules 2007
ASC-list mailing firstname.lastname@example.org