[ASC-list] Past, present and future of ASC

Mobile Science Education info at mobilescienceeducation.com.au
Tue Nov 19 04:26:56 UTC 2013

The following is from Daniel Keogh, ex-ASC member, and is shared by request.
A valuable contribution to the current 'debate'.


(and on a related note: has there ever been any effort to do an exit survey
on members who let their financial status lapse for more than 1 year?)


Lee Harrison

Mobile Science Education


0430 588 757 or (08) 8395 9586

info at mobilescienceeducation.com.au
<mailto:info at mobilescienceeducation.com.au> 


PO Box 556, Ingle Farm, SA 5098



It's been great to watch this evolving debate on the ASC-list; a refreshing
shift from the small fry problems such as how one pronounces 'kilometre'. 


As Nancy mentioned, the diversity of opinions demonstrates passion and
commitment to the cause.


But let's talk about diversity.


As many have mentioned, being a science communicator is a tricky thing to
classify. We have journalists, communications officers, entertainers,
educators and producers.


But there's diversity in our financial, geographical and practical
dimensions too. 


Some of us are contracted with healthy salaries, others run small business.
There are freelancers who live by each paycheque and dreamers whose desire
is simply to affording the oil to give their rags an aroma.


We're from all over the nation. Our nearest event could be within our
building, a drive from beyond the metro or a flight from the other end of
the country.


There's also what is practical and relevant to each of us. We have some that
directly antagonise social media platforms, and others that live by them.
Those that value practice and those that value theory. Some serve masters
and some are their own. There're talkers and actors and curious spectators.


Roll the dice on any of these dimensions and you have a science
communicator, each with different circumstances. What a bunch of mongrels we
are, you and I?


My profile falls in the category where the travel is too long and costly,
the discussion is inapplicable and the communication methods inefficient.
That's why I don't support a conference and why I ultimately left the ASC.


But I'm just one member of this multi-disciplinary monstrosity. Others have
clearly found value with the group and continue to create it too. 


However, I feel diversity isn't helping our community. Go back to first year
Science Communication: who is your audience ASC?


Is it science public relations and communications officers? 

or science journalists?

or science outreach teams?

or academics?

Or science popularisers and performers?


We're really just a family of orphans here, planning what we'll do at
Christmas. Will we bring together the 'family'? Or hang out with the people
we have more in common with?


As far as I see it ASC needs to pick what it wants to be, or else nurture
the diversity. 


Lee rightly feels marginalised when people on the list (who can afford to
attend conferences and help organise them) don't value his input, or even
address him in person. And you wonder why survey responses are so low.


And how can individual branches expect more than single figures when an
event may only be relevant or appealing to a few members? Or the discussion
group goes dead after the grammar nazis are done discussing their pet peeve?


Perhaps it's chapters we need, or forums for different types of
communicators, or to define exactly what ASC is and isn't. But you'll never
grow your membership unless you embrace and increase what you all share in


And honestly, besides a love of science, that's not a whole bunch.

Daniel Keogh


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