Science communicators communicating with, well, science communicators

Science communicators communicate regularly with researchers, decision-makers, industry representatives, young people and others. But what happens when science communicators get together to communicate with other science communicators (and how many times can you fit communicate into a sentence)?

In November, Scientell participated in the online 2021 Australian Science Communicators Symposium.

The Australian Science Communicators allows science communicators to connect and share ideas. This year’s symposium provided a great opportunity to do just that.

So what do science communicators talk about with other science communicators? The answer is anything from how the influence of misinformation affects understanding of science, to the role of digital innovation in communicating science, to questions like ‘what is science communication anyway’?

Then there are the discussions on how we can use sound, TikTok, design and art to communicate and experience science and nature. And finally, we get up to all sorts of geeky science fun, including a science trivia night and a science cocktail demonstration (who knew Kalua and Baileys could combine to represent dark and light matter, with a coffee bean as a black hole?).

There were also career talks about being or becoming a science communicator, with the Scientell team discussing the highs (and lows) of science communication consulting. The highs? Working collaboratively with clients from all walks of life; delving deeper into a wide range of science topics; and seeing our work make a difference, whether through improving awareness and understanding of research or helping science inform decision-making. The lows? Well, we couldn’t come up with too many, as working as a science communication consultant is liberating and rewarding.

And if you’re looking to employ a science communication consultant to help with your next project, here are some tips we presented at the symposium to ensure you maximise value and ensure success:

  • be clear on your objectives and target audience
  • establish a realistic budget and consider telling the consultant
  • decide who in your organisation will be involved, and identify the main contact
  • check your employer’s processes for engaging consultants
  • ask who in the consulting company will be doing the work
  • establish a clear scope, including iterations of feedback
  • treat the consultant like a colleague; you will both gain from a well-conducted project.

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