[ASC-list] Let's see what ASC members want re conferneces

Nancy Longnecker nancy.longnecker at uwa.edu.au
Sun Nov 17 02:00:58 UTC 2013

Hello Lee,

It is fascinating to hear such diversity of opinion. We don't usually hear
so much diversity on the ASC list and this discussion is really forcing me
to think about why I am passionate about ASC and what it provides that I

One argument against holding the conference is that members who do not go
are subsidising members who go. Personally, I don't mind part of a very
low professional membership going to support things that I don't always
use. It is part of supporting the community at large. But there are
obviously differences of opinions here and it would be good to get a more
accurate view of what the majority of members want.

How do we find out what the majority of members want? Our AGM is coming
up. If it is not too late (constitutionally) to have a vote on this at
this year's AGM, I suggest we put whether or not ASC should continue to
organise biennial conferences on the AGM agenda for a vote.

SARAH: You may be able to advise how to put a motion for vote at the AGM
along these lines. I'm happy to move a motion if that's what is needed.

NB: Members who can't get to the AGM can vote by proxy.

(The next conference would be 2016 if we follow our pattern. Personally I
would suggest shifting the next one so that it is out of sync with PCST
which is also a biennial conference. That way, the main international
science communication conference and the main national one would be in
alternate years.)

To reiterate why I think the ASC conferences are vital, I want to address
their value. Many of us have highlighted the value that the ASC
conferences has had for us personally. Some conferences are more valuable
than others. The value of any particular conference is highly personal
since it depends on where one is in their career, what new things are
learned, existing networks that a face to face conference provides an
opportunity to catch up with, etc.

It is a juggling act to plan the ASC conference. We are trying to provide
learning experiences for early career communicators, opportunity for
extension of skills and knowledge for those of us who have been in the
game longer, pushing along the theoretical base of our profession,
networking opportunities for all and with any luck some inspiration and
motivation to keep us all going. Those are our objectives. Some we'll hit;
some we'll miss. 

If ASC used the strategy to not have conferences until the membership base
grows, we would be unlikely to have conferences in the near future. ASC
has worked to build its membership since its conception. ASC could be
bigger than it is now but seems likely to always be a relatively small
organisation. Phil Dooley listed some of the main reasons - many members
are communicators AND something else. ASC is likely to be one of a number
of organisations to which they belong and may not be their primary
community of professional interest. Regan made that point as well.

Your argument about ASC organising a conference seems to hinge on wanting
to see ASC spending its resources in other ways. It would be useful and
interesting to hear specifics about what you are suggesting.

Are you suggesting greater proportion of our membership being returned to
branches to support greater branch activity? When I represented WA on the
executive I argued for  a higher percentage of membership coming back to
the branch. That was a while ago and things may have changed. At that
point, a compromise was reached, capitation was set at a level that would
support both local and national activity and a pool of money was set up to
allow any branch to bid for special funds to do something that required
more money.

The important question is: what would your branch do if you got more
money? As Jess, Phil and I have all experienced, more money doesn't
necessarily mean there will be more local activity.

If you have good ideas for increasing ASC membership and running things
locally (or virtually or nationally) that will benefit more people, please
share them. New ideas would be a huge benefit to ASC and many of us would
be keen to hear them.

Regards, Nancy

Professor Nancy Longnecker
Science Communication
School of Animal Biology, M092
The University of Western Australia
35 Stirling Highway
Crawley, WA   6009

ph: 61 8 6488 3926
nancy.longnecker at uwa.edu.au

skype: nancylongnecker

CRICOS Provider No. 00126G

On 17/11/13 6:29 AM, "Mobile Science Education"
<info at mobilescienceeducation.com.au> wrote:

>Both of the Global Atheist Conventions held in Melbourne were
>larger, very well organised, had no government or industry support and
>less than half of the ASC conference.
>How did they do this? By having a large pool of paying convention goers to
>draw upon. 
>This is the point that I have made repeatedly but no one is addressing. I
>not against having a conference - I am against having one now with such a
>small organisation when the time, money and effort could be used to better
>support the state chapters and grow the base.  Once the support base is
>there (members) the conference monetary costs will come down thanks to
>simple economies of scale, and the time and effort will be shared between
>the larger number of staff that a larger member base can support.
>Lee Harrison
>Mobile Science Education
>0430 588 757 or (08) 8395 9586
>info at mobilescienceeducation.com.au
>PO Box 556, Ingle Farm, SA 5098
>Lee Harrison
>Mobile Science Education
>0430 588 757 or (08) 8395 9586
>info at mobilescienceeducation.com.au
>PO Box 556, Ingle Farm, SA 5098
>-----Original Message-----
>From: ASC-list [mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Rod
>Sent: Saturday, 16 November 2013 4:17 PM
>To: asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
>Subject: [ASC-list] A couple of things on conferences and paying
>Just wanted to throw in a few things about conferences from my experience
>help add more context to the stuff being batted about on the list these
>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
>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
>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
>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
>my employer. 
>Yes, that's not the case for everyone.
>But, I imagine if my employer wasn't paying and I still felt our
>might be useful to me, I'd probably take the 2 years between each ASC
>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...
>Dr RG Lamberts
>Deputy Director
>Australian National Centre for Public Awareness of Science A Centre for
>National Commission of UNESCO
>The Australian National University
>ASC-list mailing list
>list at asc.asn.au
>ASC-list mailing list
>list at asc.asn.au

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