Going back to our roots

#onsci is back for 2014!

We’re kicking off the year by going back to our roots: our roots in science, in communication, in social media and many other relevant ‘shades of grey’ fields which feed into these. Many of these areas were discussed at the February 2014 Australian Science Communicators conference (#ASC14) in Brisbane, Queensland (which Heather and Sarah attended and presented at). Whether you were there or not, if you communicate science then we’d love you to join in this month’s #onsci chat.

Here are a few #ASC14-inspired reflections to get you in the mood:

Heather: I think the session that resonated with me the most at #ASC14 was one produced by Joan Leach on re-thinking audiences. (Unfortunately I couldn’t find the link on Soundcloud, but the synopsis is here and the session is nicely reviewed by @JHScientist here ). In part this was an extension of some of the ideas raised in Joan’s article in The Conversation which came out at the start of the conference . The idea that we, as science communicators, are audience creators is something I have thought about for some time, but the idea that we also create the disengaged because we draw arbitrary lines in the sand about who is engaged or not (or use the word science where other people use food, medicine, weather) was something that has stuck with me since this session. I loved that, once again, we were challenged to think about why we ‘communicate science’. I want to start the conference with this conversation next time, and I’d love to explore this further in #onsci.

Sarah: For me, the conference was a great opportunity to do some real-world networking, and meet some of the people I’ve been chatting to online for many years. I met writers, journalists, scientists and communicators. Also, I learnt about some fantastic projects which weren’t previously found by my radar, I heard from some of the big names in science communication and I gained a lot through participating in storytelling workshops. Sadly however, for all its good points, I’ve also come away from the conference with a reinforced sense of unease about how our society views and values science. Broadly speaking, there is still confusion about what science is, what good evidence is and how it is generated, and how research should inform policy. What are we doing wrong? How can we have more impact?

This month’s #onsci chat will pick up on some of these themes, and explore:

  • What does ‘impact’ mean to you in relation to science communication?
  • Should we continue to talk about the engaged/disengaged? Is this useful to science communication?
  • Should we encourage more connections with social and cultural researchers? How? How could this help science communication?
  • Why do you communicate science?

Join us tonight 9pm AEDT, on twitter as @onsci and under #onsci. All welcome! [chat now completed – storify here]

NB  if you want to hear our presentation on #onsci at #ASC14, check out the session at https://soundcloud.com/ausscicomm/modern-sci-comm-in-australia – we start at 18:11

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