[ASC-list] A couple of things on conferences and paying

Philip Dooley phildooley at gmail.com
Sat Nov 16 21:55:44 UTC 2013

Wow, a couple of lost weeks changing email addresses and moving continent
and look what's going on on the ASC list, whew. Life!

Over a few years of coordinsting NSW branch I have thought long and hard
about how to give members value for money when we consistently had single
figure attendance at events. And we actually accrued cash but couldn't find
enough volunteers to work out ways to spend it. :-)

Part of the reason i think is that a lot of members are not 100%
communicator, it might be only small part of their job, so its not a
priority to avail themselves of everything we offer. But every now and then
they might dip into the list, attend an event or be inspired by the fact
that there are othef people out there doing what they do.

Science communicators are a very varied bunch, some journalists, some staff
writers or PR or educators or museum staff. We can't please em all at
once.  But I agree with Susan , communication about communication is the
point of the organisation. This can be a formal 'event', or in a less
formal way, finding others to share with and learn from - aka Networking -
whihc can be scary, hard to achieve effectively, or annoying sometimes ,
but career-transforming when it comes off. The conferences for me
(especially my first one in coolangatta) have been absolute highpoints for

So I think the role of the organisation is to provide a framework for those
new to the game, and to connect people so they can gain professionally.
How best to achieve these things are the challenges before us!

There's another question about advocacy to be answered too, do we have
enough clout to achieve anything?

On Nov 16, 2013 6:46 AM, "Rod Lamberts" <rod.lamberts at anu.edu.au> wrote:

> Just wanted to throw in a few things about conferences from my experience
> to help add more context to the stuff being batted about on the list these
> last few days.
> I've been attending and speaking at conferences around the globe for 16+
> years, most Sci comm related, and I have seen that:
> 1) In every single case, unless specifically invited or contracted to
> deliver a keynote, or their mere presence clearly would boost attendance,
> speakers paid registrations fees and also covered their own travel and
> accommodation. Every single case. The closest equivalent to ASC would
> probably be PCST conferences, and this is certainly the way it happens
> there.
> 2) I've never been to or been part of organizing a conference where there
> weren't (usually many) more people vying to speak than spaces available for
> them. Given point 1, it seems to me that's a solid sign that many
> people/organizations see value in speaking at conferences...
> 3) I have never been to a decent (or even crappy) national or
> international conference that's cheaper than the ASC conference. In fact
> the only really cheap conferences I'm aware of have immense industry
> backing. For example, medical conferences subsidized by pharmaceutical
> companies.
> Yes, I'm fortunate in that conferencing is part of my job and so covered
> by my employer.
> Yes, that's not the case for everyone.
> But, I imagine if my employer wasn't paying and I still felt our
> conference might be useful to me, I'd probably take the 2 years between
> each ASC event to put the cash aside. Twenty, maybe twenty five bucks a
> week over the 100 weeks between conferences should cover it pretty well I'd
> say...
> Cheers,
> R
> Dr RG Lamberts
> Deputy Director
> Australian National Centre for Public Awareness of Science
> A Centre for the National Commission of UNESCO
> The Australian National University
> _______________________________________________
> ASC-list mailing list
> list at asc.asn.au
> http://www.asc.asn.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=97&Itemid=115
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