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The 2020 BIG Event Online

Each year the BIG Event travels to a new location and 2020 is no exception! But this year, we're expanding our borders beyond the UK by moving into the digital space. 

Our usual 2.5 days in July will still be jam-packed with practical and hands-on sessions for STEM Communicators, delivered by STEM Communicators. But we're not just expanding in space (the online kind) but also in time, with BIG Event sessions taking place as early as 16th July and as late as 7th August. 

All BIG Event sessions are FREE for BIG Members, but some sessions may have limited space or other restrictions. Log in to view the complete programme and joining instructions. 

Aren't a member of BIG yet? It's only £30 to join for a full year and then you can join any BIG Event online session for FREE. That's more than 15 hours of STEM Communication skills-sharing for only £30. 

Become a BIG Member

We hope that our events moving online will allow many more of our Members to join sessions. Please feel free to attend sessions in the way that suits your current situation whether that’s with a baby or child in tow, with your camera on or off, or dropping in and out of a session. If there is any way we can support you further, please email event@big.uk.com and we will do our best. 

All times are UK local time (UTC +1)

BIG Sessions online

16 July

Scratch the ItchΔ

Summary:
Got an idea for a sci comm show?  Want to talk about it? Want to show some of it to your peers?

Scratch is about sharing an idea with at an early stage of its development.

When you Scratch an idea, you can ask people questions and consider their feedback.

The feedback is an important part of the process, but Scratch is not about doing everything that people's feedback suggests; it is about using the responses to help you understand how people currently receive it and to help you shape your idea.

If you would like to share your idea sign up here: https://forms.gle/KBn7RsWjpTdzrpr67

A technical rehearsal will be available for anyone showing work in advance of the event to show off your work in the best possible way if required.

We will use a positive feedback model to facilitate feedback.

Sign up to present an idea here by 10th of July: https://forms.gle/KBn7RsWjpTdzrpr67

Date and time of session:
Thursday 16 July, 11:00am-12:00pm

Lead Contact:
Lucy Heard, BIG STEM
ΔThis session will have automatically generated Closed Captions. To enable this feature, click on the CC button once the session is live and enable subtitles.

 

Table for One - Workplace Wellbeing for Freelancers (or anyone really) Δ

Summary:
45% of freelancers say they hadn’t considered their mental health before taking the leap into self-employment, and over 60% say that poor mental health has had a negative impact on their ability to work.  (Viking Direct Survey - October 2019)

Since the introduction of social distancing, many of us are having to find new ways of working and collaborating.

In this session, we will discuss taking responsibility for our own emotional well being and how to design a healthy workday that works for us and our clients.

Date and time of session:
Thursday 16 July, 2:30pm-3:00pm

Lead Contact:
Lucy Heard, BIG STEM
ΔThis session will have automatically generated Closed Captions. To enable this feature, click on the CC button once the session is live and enable subtitles.

 

17 July

Here's one that didn't work**

Summary:
We've all done things that didn't go perfectly but it's how we deal with those mistakes that can help us progress. It's not always easy to admit that things haven't gone to plan, especially to others. Using examples from the University of Bath, the Royal Institution and the University of Birmingham we'll share some of our top failures. We'll also share how we realised that things weren't going well, what we learned from the mistakes, and how we talked about these failures to others.

Come prepared to reflect on your own failures and discuss how to create an environment where failure is a positive part of our work.

Date and time of session:
Friday 17 July, 3:00pm-4:00pm

Speakers:
Helen Featherstone, University of Bath
Dom McDonald, Royal Institution
Leah Fitzsimmons, University of Birmingham
**This session will be partially recorded. Only the Speaker presentations at the beginning of the session will be recorded, NOT the discussion section with the audience.

20 July

Get away with Jurassic Airways - World Heritage Class flights that don’t cost the earth*

Summary:
There's something nasty lurking out there. It's affecting the lungs and threatening life on earth as we know it. Avoidance strategy seems to be the current treatment of choice.

We're talking climate change. Our rainforests and oceans, AKA the great lungs of our planet, responsible for the very air we breathe, are being systematically poisoned and burned. Global life support systems are stretched to the limit. Scientist are being ignored.  Sound like a familiar story?

With just ten years left to mitigate the worst that climate change may throw our way, we'll be asking how COVID-19 has affected attitudes. You can also interact with the prototype of Departures our new mixed reality online flight experience. Join us at the fledgling stage of our mission. We promise cabin fever of a different kind and we're looking forward to your critical feedback. 

Participants wishing to take part in a personalised interactive experience during the session should visit our website http://jurassicairways.com/ from July 18 onwards to book their free flight and download a resource pack.

Date and time of session:
Monday 20 July, 11:00am-12:00pm

Speakers:
Richard Hartnell, Hartnell Creative Communication Limited
Belinda Bawden, Teacher, Marketing/ Project Manager, Jurassic Airlines
Richard Edmonds, Geologist and Co-writer
William Oxborrow, Pilot and Theatrical Director
Ellie Hayden, Researcher, Hartnell Creative Communication
*This session will be recorded.

 

How to Navigate University Finance Systems*

Summary:
How can you make sure Universities pay you on time? Join us in this session where we will explore the best ways to make sure freelancers are paid on time by Universities. You will have the chance to hear from University staff on how finance procedures work, alongside tips, tricks and workarounds to speed up the process and from freelancers on their experiences working with Universities and their advice to ensure you are paid fully and on time.

This session is ideal for people who currently work with Universities or people who are considering working with Universities in the future.

Date and time of session:
Monday 20 July, 3:00pm-4:00pm

Speakers:
Robert Cooper, University of Bath
Duncan Yellowlees, Freelance speaking coach, Duncan Yellowlees Training
*This session will be recorded.

21 July

Research Excellence Framework: It never sleeps*

Summary:
Whether you’re new to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) or an old hand, this session is for you. REF is really important to universities: as we come up to submission for REF2021, what tools are there to help? What do we need to think about for the future? REF never goes away, so what can we take from this REF for the future? Why does REF matter to those who aren’t familiar with it? We’ll pool the knowledge and share the experiences of those participating in the session and look at some specific technology and evaluation tools.

Date and time of session:
Tuesday 21 July, 10:00am-11:00am

Speakers:
Helen Obee Reardon, Cardiff University School of Engineering
Suze Kundu, Digital Science
Jamie Gallagher, Engagement Consultant
*This session will be recorded.

 

Leading like a boss*

Summary:
How do you develop leadership skills? Do you have them already? What does it mean to be a leader when your job title doesn't include "Head of", "Director of" "CEO" or "Manager"?

Come to this session to explore different models of leadership and identify the skills and experience you need (or may already have) to feel confident about your own leadership and influencing roles.

Date and time of session:
Tuesday 21 July, 1:30pm-2:30pm

Speakers:
Helen Featherstone, University of Bath
Dom McDonald, Head of Education, Royal Institution
*This session will be recorded.

 

Inspiring practise in developing sensory programmes*

Summary:
The Centre for Life has been working closely with the North East Autism Society to engage young people with autism. In a relatively short time, the project has grown and shifted focus, thanks in no small part to COVID-19.

The learnings from the autism initiative are also being used to develop a sensory programme to support other communities with sensory needs such as the deaf and blind communities. A model appeared to be evolving with the objective being to enable communities to explore science on their terms.

Then along came COVID-19 which presented a new opportunity to evolve engagement, reaching out in a different way, and through doing so, increasing science capital.

This session will be a conversation with Life and NEAS to challenge and inspire you to think differently about audiences with sensory needs.

Date and time of session:
Tuesday 21 July, 3:30pm-4:30pm

Speakers:
David Jones, International Centre for Life
Kerrie Highcock, North East Autism Society
*This session will be recorded.

 

22 July

Schools, Covid-19 and what we think will happen*

Summary:
Things are still very much up in the air with schools and it’s anyone’s guess what will or won’t happen in September. While we have no organised speakers for this session, we thought it would still be useful for those of us who work with (and in) schools to get together and have a chat. So if that applies to you, join in! This could be the most useful session of the BIG Event, it might descend into chaos or both!

Date and time of session:
Wednesday 22 July, 9:30am-10:30am

*This session will be recorded.

 

Practical plans for schools' outreach*

Summary:
You know you have the BEST idea for a fabulous activity...but just can't get schools to book you! What's the difference between a resource so useful it’s in the scheme of work and one that ends up on the pile of good intentions? This session is led by a secondary teacher, currently teaching and actively engaged in science outreach, and an experienced primary teacher, who for 4 years has been leading outreach activities for a pharma company.

In this interactive workshop, we’ll work together to identify priorities, opportunities and barriers affecting science outreach in schools, including the changes and challenges with lockdown and physical distancing. Working in groups, we’ll share ways to maintain relationships with schools, stay relevant, find up-to-date guidance, share examples of great outreach, and use the tweaks, quick wins and tricks to help you make your offer irresistible.

Come prepared to share ideas, a resource or an activity with the group. You’ll have a chance to develop your own outreach plans, share expertise and apply ideas in groups sessions. We’ll put some preparatory tasks online, so check this link a few weeks beforehand:  

https://bit.ly/Moononastick

Date and time of session:
Wednesday 22 July, 11:30am-12:30pm

Speakers:
Nicky Thomas, Institute of Physics, RSA Arrow Aale Academy
Lisa Taylor, Science Ambassador Scheme Coordinator, Education Liaison, Mundipharmaceutical International
*This session will be recorded.

BIG Coffee and a Chat

Wednesday 22 July from 1pm

Details of the Zoom meeting are:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81459329370?pwd=M1dSclcwcWFrNW5BdkdwZVczbCtSQT09
Meeting ID: 814 5932 9370
Passcode: 299324

Science Festivals in lockdown

Update:
Due to unforeseen circumstances, this session has been rescheduled for Tuesday, 28 July, 1:30pm-2:30pm

 

Crafty MathsΔ

Summary:
Crafts allow people to explore the often unrecognised intrinsic creativity of maths, expressing their own imagination and originality while exploring mathematical concepts. As well as being hands-on, these activities give participants the time, space and focus to consider and discuss complex and abstract ideas.

Download our activity pack in June (http://bit.ly/BIGMathsCraft) to have a go at a selection of our favourite maths crafts, then join us in an online session to share what you've done and discuss how we can all use craft to enrich our work. Have a play and rediscover your (potentially hidden) love of maths!

Date and time of session:
Wednesday 22 July, 3:30pm-5:00pm

Speakers:
Samantha Durbin, Secondary Mathematics Masterclasses, on furlough from The Royal Institution
Katie Steckles, Mathematician and Maths communicator
Alison Eves, Kantor Primary Masterclass Coordinator, on furlough from The Royal Institution
ΔThis session will have automatically generated Closed Captions. To enable this feature, click on the CC button once the session is live and enable subtitles.

 

23 July

Inclusive Recovery RoundtableΔ

Summary:
How do we ensure our sector’s recovery from COVID-19 is inclusive? How can we ensure our work engages with the audiences most affected by the pandemic? How do we make sure that staff and volunteers who have been hit the hardest aren’t left behind?  How can we take all the progress towards remote access events and build on it going forward?

The event will begin with a provocation from Dr Emily Dawson to help us think about equitable practice as professionals and for our audiences. During the session, everyone will be invited to write a two-strand pledge on how they are going to ensure inclusive audience development and inclusive staff development going forward. Following the session, BIG will synthesise these into a sector-wide pledge which we’ll host on the BIG website for all to refer to. 

This session is open to anyone working in STEM communication and engagement.

Due to limited space, please register your interest in this session by completing this form: https://forms.gle/GkG2xrD2s2etb6Lb8

Date and time of session:
Thursday 23 July, 9:30am-11:00am

Speakers:
Hana Ayoob, BIG
Dr Emily Dawson, UCL
Dr Helen Featherstone, University of Bath and BIG Chair
ΔThis session will have automatically generated Closed Captions. To enable this feature, click on the CC button once the session is live and enable subtitles.

 

The BIG AGMΔ

Summary:
BIG STEM Communicators Network operates as a not-for-profit organisation of members, a club, effectively; everything it does is to support the development of its members and the science communication profession in the UK and beyond.

BIG's Annual General Meeting is held annually and gives members the opportunity to contribute; to understand what the Executive Committee has done for the membership over the last year; to help shape the future of BIG.

This is also when the Executive Committee election results are announced and we'll congratulate this year's Beetlestone Award Winner, Bridget Holligan.

All BIG Members are welcome.

The BIG Executive Committee 2019-2020

Date and time of session:
Thursday 23 July, 11:30am-12:30pm

ΔThis session will have automatically generated Closed Captions. To enable this feature, click on the CC button once the session is live and enable subtitles.

BIG Coffee and a Chat

Thursday 23 July from 12.30pm

Details of the Zoom meeting are:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81620217842?pwd=OVhOOFdTYmMza1dPMHA5Zng1VGs1dz09
Meeting ID: 816 2021 7842
Passcode: 140638

Engaging younger children in science and engineering: a practitioner’s view*

Summary:
Many of us are creatively drawing from other disciplines when it comes to engaging younger children (and their families) in science and engineering. For this session we have gathered a group of practitioners to share the highs, lows and their top tips from a range of projects including sensory science; boxes which spark curiosity; story time led by professional engineers. Join us for a session of ideas sharing and discussion (more ideas than discussion) about how to engage the very young through curiosity and creativity.

Date and time of session:
Thursday 23 July, 1:30pm-2:30pm

Speakers:
Antonio Portas, NUSTEM, Northumbria University
Paula McMahon, Civil Engineer, Sir Robert McAlpine
Rick Hall, Associate Founder, Ignite Futures
Rowena Fletcher-Wood, Science Communicator, Science-gecko
*This session will be recorded.

 

Q&A with Angela Saini: How science communicators can do better at addressing racism within science, medicine and academiaΔ

Summary:
Angela Saini is an award-winning British science journalist and broadcaster. She presents science programmes on the BBC, and her writing has appeared in New Scientist, The Sunday Times, National Geographic and Wired. Her latest book, Superior: the Return of Race Science, was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize and named a book of the year by The Telegraph, Nature and Financial Times. Her previous book, Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong, has been translated into thirteen languages. Angela has a Masters in Engineering from the University of Oxford and was a Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

This is a chance to ask Angela your questions about how we as science communicators can be better at addressing racism in science, medicine and academia.

Date and time of session:
Thursday 23 July, 3:30pm-4:30pm

Speakers:
Angela Saini, Journalist and Broadcaster
ΔThis session will have automatically generated Closed Captions. To enable this feature, click on the CC button once the session is live and enable subtitles.

 

24 July

Demos, Camera, Action**

Summary:
Do you usually do school or science centre shows, but are now stuck at home with a screen between you and your audience? With zero live feedback, a smaller space and a seemingly never-ending tech list, presenting demos to camera can be intimidating. Join us for tips and tricks on how to translate your demos from stage to screen, and learn how little equipment you actually need.

Date and time of session:
Friday 24 July, 9:30am-10:30am

Speakers:
Fran Scott: Director of Great Scott! Productions (a stage production company), part-time Science Content Producer at the Royal Institution (she heads up the demo team), and has 10 years of TV presenting experience
Jemma Naumann: Young Scientist Centre Workshop Facilitator at the Royal Institution (currently furloughed), demo-film maker in a freelance capacity.
**This session will be partially recorded. Only the Speaker presentations at the beginning of the session will be recorded, NOT the discussion section with the audience.

 

So you think you can podcast? Workshop #1*

Summary:
Podcasts are IN this season. Small budgets, flexible formats, and a potentially huge reach. In this 2-part workshop, you'll get to grips with the basics and develop skills needed to own the airwaves. In the first workshop, podcaster Brynley Pearlstone (SciCurious podcast) will take you through some key considerations when starting a podcast project - including your episode format, how to target an audience, what hardware you might need and what pitfalls to avoid.

After workshop #1, you’ll have about two weeks to put your new skills into action. Then come back for workshop #2 (7th August) which will tackle the more technical aspects of podcasting. Brynley will demonstrate audio engineering techniques to make your project sound its best and explain how to get your podcast onto platforms like Spotify and iTunes. If you encountered issues with podcasting, bring them along and troubleshoot them.

Each workshop works independently and you can choose to attend either one of the two, or both. With any luck, this can kick start that project you've been sitting on until now.

Date and time of session:
Friday 24 July, 11:30am-12:30pm

Speakers:
Brynley Pearlstone, SciCurious podcast
*This session will be recorded.

BIG Coffee and a Chat

Friday 24 July from 12.30pm

Details of the Zoom meeting are:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87322992233?pwd=WFpvc0MxRDRqV0tqMkVuUWRWbW1kQT09
Meeting ID: 873 2299 2233
Passcode: 450285

C is for Career*

Summary:
We all know that a career in STEM Communication can be a bit nebulous, especially when thinking about where to go next and whether to go for that next level of job. BIG's member survey highlighted some trends, but we aren't constant in how we describe ourselves. How can having a shared language help us with our collective or individual advocacy? Many sectors have clear progression boundaries and skill sets, does STEM Communication need this too?  Join our panel discussion to explore different career options and stages in STEM communication, hear about the skills needed as you embark on a career in the sector and find out about the results from BIG's member survey.

Date and time of session:
Friday 24 July, 1:30pm-2:30pm

Speakers:
Paolo Arru, Public Programmes Team
Helen Featherstone, Head of Public Engagement, University of Bath
Pigalle Tavakkoli, Head of Experience, Guerilla Science
Sarah Cosgriff, IOP coach (Improving Gender Balance) & Freelance
*This session will be recorded.

The Socially Distant Pub Quiz

Summary:
A Socially Distant Pub Quiz to end the online BIG Event experience. Grab a beverage of your choice, bring your friends and join in the fun as Sam leads you through an exciting online quiz! It's all self-marked and just for fun, so come along to test your science knowledge!

Hosted by Sam Langford, BIG Exec and Glasgow Science Centre

Date and time of session:
Friday 24 July, 3:30pm-5:00pm

Lead Contact:
Sam Langford, BIG

25 July

Now That's What I Call A Lot Of Songs About Science
Suitable for the whole family!

Summary:
How (and indeed why) do you turn science into song? What are the best practises for artists seeking to collaborate with scientists, and vice versa? I don’t necessarily know the answers, but I’ve written several hundred peer-reviewed songs about science, so I’m certainly in a position to start the conversation.

The bulk of the session - about 40 minutes - will consist of me performing a selection of material from my award-winning Scientrilogy and Ensonglopedia musical comedy series, and discussing how I work and what it's like collaborating with scientists from a wide range of fields.  This first part will be fully family-friendly, and particularly suitable for people aged between 7 and 107. Then, for the final 20 minutes or so, we’ll have a chat! Remotely, of course. (While children are welcome to stay for the discussion, questions from BIG members will be prioritised, but I will also respond to any questions received after the session is over.)

For examples of my songs, see www.ensonglopedia.com or search YouTube for 'Ensonglopedia'.

Date and time of session:
Saturday 25 July, 2:30-3:30pm

Lead Contact:
John Hinton, Ensonglopedia

28 July

Science Festivals in lockdownΔ

Summary:
Few STEM events bring as many people together as Science Festivals do. But now that the act of bringing people together is unsafe, how are Science Festivals coping? How are they planning for the future when the future is so uncertain? In this session, we’ll hear from the UK Science Festivals Network about what their members have done and are doing to ensure Science Festivals survive the pandemic and continue to thrive in the UK. http://sciencefestivals.uk/

Date and time of session:
Tuesday, 28 July, 1:30pm-2:30pm

Speakers:
Ivvet Modinou, Head of Engagement, British Science Association
Dr Dane Comerford, Festival Director, IF Oxford
Chris McCreery, Director of the Northern Ireland Science Festival
ΔThis session will have automatically generated Closed Captions. To enable this feature, click on the CC button once the session is live and enable subtitles.

Join us for a BIG Coffee & A Chat

Date and time of session:
Tuesday, 28 July, 2:30pm
Details of the Zoom meeting are:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81106742065?pwd=OTM4VHQ4MUYzWDVQZVZMNmVyU3BSdz09

Meeting ID: 811 0674 2065
Passcode: 152222

 

6 August

So you think you can podcast? Workshop #2*

Update:
This session has been rescheduled for Friday, 7 August; 10:30am-12:00pm

 

7 August

So you think you can podcast? Workshop #2*

Summary:
Podcasts are IN this season. Small budgets, flexible formats, and a potentially huge reach. This is the second part of a 2-part workshop to help you get to grips with the basics of podcasting and to develop the skills needed to own the airwaves. In the first workshop (24th July), podcaster Brynley Pearlstone (SciCurious podcast) worked through key things to consider when starting a podcast project like episode format, how to target an audience, hardware and pitfalls to avoid.

Workshop #2 tackles the more technical aspects of podcasting. Brynley will demonstrate audio engineering techniques to make your project sound its best and explain how to get your podcast onto platforms like Spotify and iTunes. If you encountered issues with podcasting, bring them along and troubleshoot them.

Each workshop works independently and you can choose to attend either one of the two, or both. With any luck, this can kick start that project you've been sitting on until now.

Date and time of session:
Friday 7 August, 10:30am-12:00pm

Speakers:
Brynley Pearlstone, SciCurious podcast
*This session will be recorded.

 

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