[ASC-list] payment for conferences

Cobi Smith cobi.smith at anu.edu.au
Mon Nov 18 08:03:35 UTC 2013


In flame-throwing spirit, this recent controversy comes to mind now when I think of ASC: 
http://jezebel.com/dude-scientists-say-fanatical-feminists-should-shut-up-1370883478
https://twitter.com/imrankhan/status/382091129442680832

I note, just before I send this, that the conference speakers page of the ASC conference site has been updated since I last saw it - which is fantastic. 

But given systemic bias in science and broader society, I feel compelled to call out that Nancy's contribution was not "getting her knickers in a twist". They're valid factors that impact some more than others - which I see as relevant and appropriate to raise in a public forum. She shared extra information in response to my contributions as much as yours I think Julian, in which I hypothesized research organizations may be overrepresented at the conference compared to ASC's membership base, as they fund their staff and students to attend. 

Julian, if you would say you had your knickers in a twist too then I'll take back my assumption that your choice of language was gender-related :)

This is intended with all due respect to elder, wiser ASC members who may find the links above confronting or offensive - particularly those middle-aged or near-retirement white males who have been among my mentors and allies :) 


________________________________________
From: ASC-list [asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] on behalf of JCribb [jcribb at work.netspeed.com.au]
Sent: Monday, 18 November 2013 1:36 PM
To: 'Nancy Longnecker'; asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
Subject: Re: [ASC-list] payment for conferences

Nancy has her knickers in a twist about absolutely nothing.

My email had nothing to do with her situation. I merely pointed out that
self-employed science communicators such as myself find it difficult as well
as costly to attend the conference. Why she interprets that as some personal
slight is a mystery. Why she lacks the good manners to discuss this offline,
is equally so. Hence this public response.

All I offered was a positive suggestion for a way forward that offers
benefit to all members, conferencing or not. More online events,
conferences, seminars etc.

If this is how ASC members are to be treated for putting forward creative
ideas, then we don't really deserve either, do we?

Cheers

Julian

Julian Cribb FTSE
Julian Cribb & Associates
ph +61 (0)2 6242 8770 or 0418 639 245
Email: julian at cribb.net.au
Web: www.sciencealert.com.au/jca.html
Skype: julian.cribb


-----Original Message-----
From: ASC-list [mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Nancy
Longnecker
Sent: Monday, 18 November 2013 3:54 PM
To: JCribb; asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
Subject: [ASC-list] payment for conferences

Hello Julian,

It's not safe to assume that those of us in full-time work have someone else
paying for us to attend conferences.

Yes, those of us with paid jobs are lucky that our time at conferences is
covered when we have approval to travel.

For the record that does not mean our institution covers our conference
expenses. My employer does NOT pay, so I cover my own conference costs,
including registration, travel and accommodation. Hell, my employer doesn't
even buy me a computer. I pay for that from consulting, personal funds or
grants. We live in interesting times of shrinking budgets and increasing
workloads all around.

Cheers, 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

www.animals.uwa.edu.au/research/science-communication
www.facebook.com/pages/UWA-Science-Communication/139535189461853
skype: nancylongnecker

CRICOS Provider No. 00126G
________________________________________






On 18/11/13 6:10 AM, "JCribb" <jcribb at work.netspeed.com.au> wrote:

>Colleagues
>
>Please can we seek a solution?
>
>As a self-employed member of ASC, I¹d like to explain that not only do
>I have to pay the conference fee, but also the travel, accommodation
>and most of all, time lost from my business, which adds up to quite a
>few thousand dollars, which is why I don¹t get to as many as I¹d like.
>Plus I suffer increasing angst about burning jet fuel - and the legacy
>it leaves for coming generations. Maybe there are others in the same
>boat.
>
>I would therefore like to propose that, for the benefit of those of us
>who cannot attend every conference - and to limit the evident divisions
>which are now emerging between those who can and those who can't - we
>start acting like communicators and come up with a conference structure
>that is, at least, partly online and thus accessible to everyone all
>around Australia.
>We are, after all, a national body.
>
>Or, if not a conference, then a regular series of online seminars on
>topics of professional interest given by our most experienced members.
>That way they can mentor and advise younger communicators, and we can
>all share knowledge, advice and helpful ideas.
>
>These could be run as virtual teleconferences, or as skype conferences,
>whatever is most economical and effective. They could last an hour but
>be followed by email and online discussion and debate. The presenter
>could maybe provide a short paper as a 'blog', for the benefit of those
>who can't make the seminar itself, followed by debate as on The
>Conversation or ABC Online.
>
>I feel a structure like this would embrace more members, share
>professional knowledge and experience more widely and show that ASC is
>here for everyone.
>This is, after all, the 21st century and maybe we should be using its
>enabling technologies a bit more...
>
>I've been giving quite a few lectures and seminars using this
>technology (eg New York, NZ, Karratha, regional Victoria) without
>leaving my desk in Canberra, and it seems to work quite well, including
>the Q&A.
>
>Julian
>
>Julian Cribb FTSE
>Julian Cribb & Associates
>ph +61 (0)2 6242 8770 or 0418 639 245
>Email: julian at cribb.net.au
>Web: www.sciencealert.com.au/jca.html
>Skype: julian.cribb
>
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: ASC-list [mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of
>Mobile Science Education
>Sent: Sunday, 17 November 2013 9:36 PM
>To: 'Niall Byrne'; asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
>Subject: Re: [ASC-list] Let's see what ASC members want re conferences
>
>A thought out reply to the below will be coming later; work comes first.
>
>But I must quickly ask Niall: which part of Nancy's email would you
>consider an over-reaction? The part where she shows herself willing to
>engage in discussion, or the part where she suggests a vote?
>
>I absolutely did not expect people to be okay with criticism - no one
>likes it, and we're all only human. But what I did expect was some
>actual rationality and professionalism. What I, and the others who have
>commented, have gotten instead is a disproportionate amount of issue
>dodging, changes of subject, condescension, defensiveness and snark.
>Cut it out - it's not deserved, appropriate or welcome.
>
>And could those of you who don't have to pay your own way stop handing
>out unsolicited budgeting advice to those who do? Assume we have
>dutifully put aside our pennies over time - at the end of the day,
>after gathering a large sum of money in one place at one time we then
>have to decide if there are, in fact, better things to be done with
>that large sum.
>
>I know that there are plenty of people reading this list who are no
>longer members of ASC. I would love to hear from you - why did you leave?
>
>Thanks
>
>Lee Harrison
>Mobile Science Education
>
>0430 588 757 or (08) 8395 9586
>info at mobilescienceeducation.com.au
>www.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
>Niall Byrne
>Sent: Sunday, 17 November 2013 1:37 PM
>To: asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
>Subject: Re: [ASC-list] Let's see what ASC members want re conferences
>
>Dear Nancy,
>
>I don't think we need to overreact to a few individual criticisms on
>the list.
>
>We know that the conferences are valuable because many if not most of
>our members attend them and we get a spike in membership when we hold them.
>
>And they're not funded by membership fees. I'm not up to date with the
>finances but I expect that our (small) membership fee does little more
>than cover the cost of running basic infrastructure - admin,
>book-keeping, website, newsletter plus capitation for branches.
>
>Almost everything else is the work of volunteers or self-funded.
>
>Someone comes up with an idea and a group of people volunteer to
>organise it and/or find someone to fund it and/or organise it.
>
>And this is likely to always be the case. We've had 400 to 600 members
>for most of the past 20 years. I reckon that with a lot of work we
>could get that to say 1,000 but it would be hard work. Our sister
>organisation in the US - the National Association of Science Writers
>has 2,600 members although it's also a bit more specialised as its name
>suggests.
>
>The conference happens because a group of members come together to make
>it happen. The atheists conference is not a good comparison. In the ASC
>we're generally organising things for ourselves, not for a wider
>audience. It's a professional conference, not an ideas conference
>appealing to a wider audience.
>
>It's a debate we had in the Vic branch a few years ago. Did we want to
>organise small events for ourselves or large events for the public. My
>answer was we exist for ourselves. The ASC isn't a science advocacy
>organisation though it members may be. It's an introspective
>organisation for people who to a large degree are looking outward
>during their work but want also to share ideas with their peers.
>
>Sue, similarly the ASC conference isn't a conference of 'invited
>speakers'.
>It's a self-organising community. We all chip in and organise sessions.
>None
>of us should expect to be paid for those sessions or subsidised for
>attendance. It's different to our professional work when we may expect
>payment. It's a cost of doing business. For me participation in the ASC
>conference provides training, business development and networking. It's
>cheap at the price.
>
>One thing that is worth exploring is the idea of self-organising chapters.
>If Lee doesn't like the service offering at present in particular the
>lack of education focus, then he might be encouraged to organise a
>chapter dealing with that. I might similarly be interested in
>organising a chapter more geared to journalists. And the national exec
>might be willing to put seed money into these kinds of activities?
>
>The bottom line. We get the ASC we're prepared to volunteer to work for.
>
>
>
>________
>
>Niall Byrne
>
>Creative Director
>Science in Public
>82 Hudsons Road, Spotswood VIC 3015
>PO Box 2076 Spotswood VIC 3015
>03 9398 1416, 0417 131 977
>
>niall at scienceinpublic.com.au
>Twitter scienceinpublic
>Full contact details at www.scienceinpublic.com.au
>
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: ASC-list [mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of
>Nancy Longnecker
>Sent: Sunday, 17 November 2013 1:01 PM
>To: Mobile Science Education; asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
>Subject: [ASC-list] Let's see what ASC members want re conferneces
>
>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 value.
>
>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.
>
>RE ASC SPENDING RESOURCES ORGANISING A BIENNIAL CONFERENCE 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.)
>
>
>IS AN ASC CONFERENCE VITAL TO THE ORGANISATION?
>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.
>
>TIMING OF CONFERENCES; ORGANISE THEM NOW OR WAIT UNTIL ASC GROWS?
>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.
>
>ARE OTHER ACTIVITIES/ SERVICES MORE IMPORTANT THAN A CONFERENCE?
>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
>
>www.animals.uwa.edu.au/research/science-communication
>www.facebook.com/pages/UWA-Science-Communication/139535189461853
>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
>>significantly larger, very well organised, had no government or
>>industry support and cost 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 am 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
>>www.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
>>www.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 Lamberts
>>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 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
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>>m
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>>11
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>>id=
>>115
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