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the 2021 BIG event online

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Once again, the BIG Event will be held online, and this time Cardiff University are playing host!  

With approximately 25 hours of STEM Communication content and great networking opportunities, we hope you can join us in July. 

Session dates are as follows:

July 14, 15 & 16
July 19, 20, 21,22 & 23
View the Programme to see what's on offer

Conference Fees

  • £95 - Full conference (includes access to all sessions* and BIG membership)
  • £60 - Members Registration (includes access to all sessions*; log in to register) 
  • £77 - Speaker Rate (includes access to all sessions*, BIG membership and a speaker discount; registration code required)
  • £42 - Speaker Rate for Members (includes access to all sessions*; you will need to log in and have your Speaker code to register) 


Each session will take place on Zoom and all sessions will be included in your Conference Fee. Some sessions may have limited space or other restrictions. View the Draft programme below to see what's on offer. 

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. 

Wednesday, 14 July

Sparking Excitement about Electricity

Summary:
Electricity activities can be challenging. What is the baseline of knowledge you can expect? What misconceptions are pupils likely to have? What can you do to extend and excite?

Jackie Flaherty (Ogden Trust) will share her enormous experience in schools and some of the creative activities she has helped to develop. Sarah Bearchell (Lightyear Foundation) will share ways to make electrical experiments accessible to pupils with special educational needs. (KS1-3 and SEN)

Materials for the join-in activities:

Home made electroscope:

·        Glass jar with a lid

·        25cm length of copper wire (the thicker the better)

·        Drinking straw

·        Scissors

·        Blu Tack

·        Aluminium foil

·        Balloon

Coin Battery:

·        Twelve two pence coins

·        Aluminium foil sheet

·        Square of absorbent kitchen roll

·        Beaker

·        Stirrer

·        Salt

·        Vinegar

·        Two wires

·        LED

·        Pencil

·        Scissors

Date and time of session:
Wednesday 14 July, 10:00am-11:00am

This session is being recorded and will be available on BIG’s private YouTube channel for BIG Members.

Speakers:
Sarah Bearchell, Lightyear Foundation and Freelance
Jackie Flaherty, The Ogden Trust

SOCIAL: New to BIG? Come to this social session

Summary:
Are you new to BIG?

Is this your first BIG Event?

Haven't been to BIG for a long time and want to meet some people?

If you are any of the above, this social session is for you! Come along to an informal social gathering and meet some of the BIG Exec as well as other new folk to the BIG family. One of the best things about the BIG Event is the networking and all the amazing people you get to meet, so start meeting people here in a relaxed atmosphere.

Feel free to bring some lunch, or not. This social session is all about meeting people and being relaxed, so come as you are and have fun!

Date and time of session:
Wednesday 14 July, 11:15am -12:15pm

This session is NOT being recorded.

Science Busking during Covid (how to get back onto the horse)

Summary:
Science busking is a wholly open invitation to play and investigate the world around us. We really believe this to be true and see busking as almost the ultimate face to face science communication experience, as audiences are gathered, grown and interacted with in diverse locations from Isle of Wight ferries to the Great wall of China.

 But what happens when circumstances make it much harder to busk face to face, Can you busk on line?

Join pre and post Covid busking researchers and a busking trainer, as we compare busking scenarios and look at some pre and post Covid busking routines.

Date and time of session:
Wednesday 14 July, 1:00pm-2:00pm

This session is being recorded and will be available on BIG’s private YouTube channel for BIG Members.

Speakers:
David Price, Science Made Simple
Dr Siãn Morgan, Cardiff University
Elena Koudouna, Cardiff University
Fanny Petibon, University of Zãrich
Dr. Cornelia Krug, University of Zãrich

Engaging STEM in Entrance Ways

Summary:
Engaging entrance ways.

We have tried to find and use new and inventive ways to engage with the public in our public spaces.

Our session will highlight how we have begun to use this space to engage with different audiences, improve their science capital and share knowledge. It hasn’t got to all be posters of upcoming events or school hall looking displays.

We also would like to invite people attending the session to share their ideas of how they would like to be engaged in an entry way/walkway and hear their opinions on what we have done so far and our future plans.

Date and time of session:
Wednesday 14 July, 3:00pm-4:00pm

This session is being recorded and will be available on BIG’s private YouTube channel for BIG Members.

Speakers:
Clair Griffiths, Xplore Science Discovery Centre
Dawn Pavey, Xplore Science Discovery Centre
Vaughan York, Xplore Science Discovery Centre

Engineering with Paper: Amazing Projects with Simple Materials

Summary:
Access to supplies is often a barrier to learning yet amazing projects can be made with just paper, tape and scissors. Paper is a wonderfully versatile material and a great medium for introducing students to engineering fundamentals.  It is so commonly used for drawing and writing but most people don’t know how to use it for 3-dimensional projects. Using engineering with paper techniques, you will learn how to guide students through creative, curriculum based interactive STEAM projects. This workshop will get you cutting, folding and building with paper in minutes, and prepare you to implement new hands on activities.

Date and time of session:
Wednesday 14 July, 4:30pm-5:30pm

This session is being recorded and will be available on BIG’s private YouTube channel for BIG Members.

Speakers:
Godwyn Morris, Dazzling Discoveries/ Skill Mill NYC

Session Leader:
Sarah Cosgriff, Institute of Physics

Speakers:
Dr Francesca Iezzi, University of Edinburgh
Dr Claudia Antolini, Royal Hollaway University of London
Ginny Smith, Freelance Science writer and presenter
Dr. Sarah-Jane Judge, Wellcome Centre for Cell Biology
Erica Whittaker Wallis, Care for Carers

Thursday, 15 July

STEM in the time of COVID

Summary:
Prof. Chris Allton, Director of Oriel Science shares how Swansea University's science centre adapted to survive the pandemic and how COVID itself starred in an exhibition. Dr Jess Fletcher will showcase and explain how we built an interactive virtual tour of Oriel Science on a shoestring budget with little technical know-how! The Babraham Institute will share how VACCINE co-creation project pivoted online to bring together multiple stakeholders to develop a new exciting digital game to engage audiences with infectious disease outbreaks and impact interventions, such as vaccination, can have on the spread of such outbreaks.

Date and time of session:
Thursday 15 July, 10:00am-11:30am

This session is being recorded and will be available on BIG’s private YouTube channel for BIG Members.

Speakers:
Dr Jess Fletcher, Swansea University
Prof Chris Allton, Swansea University
Dr Michael Norman, Babraham Institute

SOCIAL: puzzles and speed networking

Summary:
One of the best things about the BIG Event is meeting new people and catching up with old friends. So join us over lunch to meet some new people, play some games and enjoy other people's company. We'll be using a platform called Gather.town which makes this networking session feel as in-person as possible, without the need for social distancing or wearing a mask.

Gather.town FAQ: https://www.solipsys.co.uk/GatherTown/FAQ/FAQ.html

Date and time of session:
Thursday 15 July, 12:00pm-1:00pm

This session is NOT being recorded.

Developing young STEM communicators

Summary:
One of the most rewarding aspects of STEM communication is working with young people to support them to become STEM communicators themselves. The session leaders work with sixth form students to train them to deliver activities in a variety of contexts: Royal Institution Masterclasses, their own school STEM Clubs and school projects which go out into the community. We’ll share some of what we do, discuss the impact of the past year on the projects, and get you all to have a go at some of the training activities. We’ll ask you to share your own experiences of what works well (and doesn’t work) when engaging with young people in similar contexts and discuss some top tips for supporting them to design and run their own activities.

Date and time of session:
Thursday 15 July, 1:00pm-2:30pm

This session is being recorded and will be available on BIG’s private YouTube channel for BIG Members.

Speakers:
Samantha Durbin, The Royal Institution
Alison Eves,The Royal Institution
Lindsey Gooding, Chipping Campden School
David Williams, Badminton School

Storytelling for Researchers

Summary:
Heard about this storytelling thing? Fancy learning more about how it can help your communications, presentations and engagement?

Come along to this interactive workshop where Duncan will take you through the why's and how's of using various ideas from storytelling to supercharge your research talks. Perfect for folk new to engagement or looking to up their research presentation skills.

There will be big ideas, focused tips and have a go moments as well as an award winning impression of an albatross*.

*the award may or may not be totally made up

Date and time of session:
Thursday 15 July, 3:00pm-4:00pm

This session is being recorded and will be available on BIG’s private YouTube channel for BIG Members.

Speakers:
Duncan Yellowlees, DY Training

SOCIAL: Crafting Social

Summary:
Do you craft, tinker or create things? Do you have a Work In Progress that you have been meaning to finish? Join us for a relaxed crafting session; all types of crafting and making are welcome, and at any level!

Date and time of session:
Thursday 15 July, 4:30pm-5:30pm

This session is NOT being recorded.

Friday, 16 July

'Hands-off' Community Engagement with STEM

Summary:
Explore Your Universe, a partnership between ASDC and STFC, seeks to identify the practices that successfully build sustainable partnerships between science centres and community-based organisations, in order to truly involve families in areas of socio-economic deprivation and encourage equitable participation with communities who may not currently engage with our science centres.

In March 2020, along with schools, businesses and organisations across the UK, our hands-on network of centres had to close their doors. This didn't stop their work on Explore Your Universe though. Join us to hear how science centres across the UK continue to work in partnership with community groups in this new “hands-off” era of STEM engagement.

Date and time of session:
Friday 16 July, 10:00am-11:00am

This session is being recorded and will be available on BIG’s private YouTube channel for BIG Members.

Speakers:
Abi Ashton, ASDC/STFC
Craig Smith, Dynamic Earth
Laura Gordon, Dynamic Earth
Andrew Farrer, Cambridge Science Centre
Dawn Pavey, Xplore!

SOCIAL: Networking and general chat

Summary:
This session does what it says on the tin: networking and general chat.

Join other BIG Event attendees in an informal networking session. Feel free to chat about sessions you have attended (or are going to attend!), science communication or life in general. The point here is to meet some new people, catch up with old friends and make some useful connections.

We'll use breakout rooms to put you into smaller groups and we'll swap the groups up a bit so you get to meet as many different people as possible.

Feel free to bring food if it's that time of day for you.

Date and time of session:
Friday 16 July, 11:15am-12:15pm

This session is NOT being recorded.

Celebrating the M in STEM

Summary:
There’s always mathematics behind science. We (mathematicians) think you should highlight this and share it with your audiences, promote mathematical thinking and show that maths is more than just arithmetic.

Whether it's something you haven't thought about - or you're not sure how - we're providing a safe space to discuss ways to incorporate mathematical ideas into your content in a meaningful way. In discussion groups, we’ll chat with some friendly mathematicians about ideas for specific examples shared by participants, and more generally about maths in STEM.

Topics (provisional): mathematical modelling, physics/engineering, problem solving, statistics/data, computer science, and primary science.

Date and time of session:
Friday 16 July, 1:00pm-2:00pm

This session is NOT being recorded.

Speakers:
Katie Steckles, Freelance
Samantha Durbin, Royal Institution

By whose measure? Determining what counts as “success” in co-development projects

Summary:
Co-development projects are becoming increasingly utilised as a way of engaging individuals and groups who have traditionally been less likely to connect with us. When science centres and other informal STEM organisations work with community organisations to create activities and projects for their communities, how do we navigate all the challenges involved in getting these projects up and running? What does a successful project look like? Who decides? And how on earth do we evaluate it? Join us to grapple with these issues through interactive discussion and role play to develop and share creative and practical ideas together.

Date and time of session:
Friday 16 July, 3:30pm-5:00pm

This session is being recorded and will be available on BIG’s private YouTube channel for BIG Members.

Speakers:
Jen DeWitt, UCL Institute of Education/Independent
Lewis Hou; Community & Public Engagement Consultant; Director; Science Ceilidh
Sharon Leverment, UK Association of Science and Discovery Centres
Dom McDonald, 'Freelance do-gooder'; Navigator Consulting


Monday, 19 July

Home, Away and Hybrid Engagement: Joys and Challenges

Summary:
During the past year the engagement community faced the challenge of restructuring in-person activities to make them suitable to run remotely. This, on the other hand, opened a range of possibilities for audiences who find it difficult to attend physical events. What did we learn as a community about this exciting (though at times tricky) process? Will we keep running online activities when we are back to "normal"? Can we keep the best of both worlds and provide additional avenues for accessibility? Or, as the world opens back up, will such audiences be marginalised once again? We will share our experience and plans, and we would like to hear from you.

Date and time of session:
Monday 19 July, 09:30am-10:30am

This session is being recorded and will be available on BIG’s private YouTube channel for BIG Members.

SOCIAL: Techniquest virtual tour

Summary:
Techniquest in Cardiff Bay has changed. Thanks to their £5.3m Science Capital project, the centre has expanded to house 6 new zones and over 50 new exhibits. Join James Summers, Head of Projects, as he takes you on a tour of the new building and explains how they have integrated the new with the old. Following on from the tour, there will be a live Q&A where James will be answering your questions.

Date and time of session:
Monday 19 July, 11:00am-11:30am

Session Leader:
James Summers, Techniquest Head of Projects

This session is NOT being recorded.

SOCIAL: puzzles and speed networking

Summary:
One of the best things about the BIG Event is meeting new people and catching up with old friends. So join us over lunch to meet some new people, play some games and enjoy other people's company. We'll be using a platform called Gather.town which makes this networking session feel as in-person as possible, without the need for social distancing or wearing a mask.

Gather.town FAQ: https://www.solipsys.co.uk/GatherTown/FAQ/FAQ.html

Date and time of session:
Monday 19 July, 12:00pm-1:00pm

This session is NOT being recorded.

Queering Science Communication

Summary:
Despite the growing awareness and research on LGBTQIA+ scientists and the importance of queer visibility in STEM, there has been little formal research into LGBTQIA+ science communication practice and people.

In this session, a panel will discuss the importance of queering science communication, the power of building community, and what inclusive practice, events and spaces look like. Through discussion between panellists and the audience, attendees will leave with new perspectives, ideas and actions to employ in their own practice.

We would also like you to share your experiences of LGBTQIA+ inclusion in your work whether that has been success stories or any barriers you have encountered as well as any useful resources. You can share this either during the session or in advance on this padlet: https://padlet.com/sarahcosgriff1/sxy0264jyncfpq0

Date and time of session:
Monday 19 July, 1:00pm-2:00pm

This session is NOT being recorded.

Speakers:
Sarah Cosgriff, Institute of Physics
Sam Langford, Science is a Drag Co-Founder
Em Dixon, Wellcome Connecting Science
Matthew Sinton, The STEM Village

Overcoming the engagement barrier

Summary:
How can we lower the barriers that engage TEACHERS?

We’ve noticed that teachers love interactive stuff, but don’t always carry on with "multitouch" activities provided after interventions. Why is this, and what can we do to change it? From understanding the barriers that teachers and students face to redesigning our resources, learning from the pandemic and blended environments/access, we'll be sharing our adventures and discussing your ideas.

Jeremy Thomas, a teacher and engagement lead for the Abingdon Schools Partnership will be sharing his experiences, including working with other teachers at primary schools on the "SCAMPA" clean air project.

Rowena Fletcher-Wood will compare experiences as a workshop deliverer, science tutor, and RSC outreach lead.

Date and time of session:
Monday 19 July, 2:30pm-3:30pm

This session is being recorded and will be available on BIG’s private YouTube channel for BIG Members.

Speakers:
Dr Rowena Fletcher-Wood, Freelance
Jeremy Thomas, Abingdon School

The what, why, how of facilitation

Summary:
If you're running activities where you want people to join in, or express an opinion, you are probably doing facilitation. This is a key skill for sci com and public engagement, but many of us have learned how to do  it through intuition, watching others, and a bit of trial and error.

Come to this session to explore what we mean by facilitation, when to use it, and why it's important for creating inclusive environments.

Date and time of session:
Monday 19 July, 4:00pm-5:30pm

This session is NOT being recorded.

Speakers:
Helen Featherstone, University of Bath
Hana Ayoob
Kirsty Hayward

SOCIAL: The BIG Music Session

Summary:
The Big BIG Music Session.

Join MC, exhibit builder and singer Richard Ellam for an evening of musical fun and relaxation.

For many of us making music and singing over Zoom has been a life-line through the Lockdowns. We can’t meet up in person this year, but we can entertain each other (and, I hope an audience) over Zoom.

The Big BIG Music Session is an open mic night/ singaround where anyone is welcome to sing or play for the group. The format is simple: Zoom won’t let us jam together, so each person gets their turn in the spotlight to strut their stuff. How many spots you get depends on how many turn up, but everyone who wants will get at least one turn.

This isn’t just for performers - we all love an audience, so if you don’t want to perform feel free to just drop by to listen, and maybe join in the craic.

The Big BIG Music Session is open to everyone - play/sing whatever you want (within the limitations of Zoom and your tech.), whether it's your first time or you’re a seasoned performer. If you use music in your work this is a chance to showcase that, but equally just come and do the stuff that makes you happy and helps you relax. Everyone is welcome!

Date and time of session:
Monday 19 July, 6:00pm-7:00pm

This session is NOT being recorded.

Speakers:
Richard Ellam, L M Interactive

Tuesday 20 July

Integrating Science Communication into the University curriculum

Summary:
University students are typically very passionate about the subject they study and love sharing their passion with the public. We believe there are huge benefits for university students to be involved in science communication and outreach, and that this can contribute to a strong culture change in academia. How can we make sure we involve students, while supporting their academic and personal development?

We will provide examples of how to integrate science communication formally in the curriculum, through courses or projects, and also informally. Touching on our experience, we will discuss tips, advice, challenges, to ensure that you can successfully involve your students in science communication.

Date and time of session:
Tuesday 20 July, 09:30am-10:30am

This session is being recorded and will be available on BIG’s private YouTube channel for BIG Members.

Speakers:
Jean-Christophe Denis, University of Edinburgh / Ogden Trust
Francesca Iezzi, School of Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh
Andy Cross, School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh
Aimilia Smyrli, University of Central Lancashire

Science Engagement Training - A UK Landscape

Summary:
I spent 3 months in 2020-21 interviewing science communication and engagement trainers about their approaches, who comes to their training, what they cover, the challenges they face, and what motivates them. I also worked with a research group and training network in the USA to compare across countries. Come along to discuss all things training, contribute your experiences, and share ideas for how training can be improved. 

Please drop me a line if you're a trainer, have an interest in training, and/or would like to co-present or contribute to this session!

Date and time of session:
Tuesday 20 July, 11:30am-12:30pm

This session is being recorded and will be available on BIG’s private YouTube channel for BIG Members.

Speakers:
Clio Heslop, British Science Association

SOCIAL: Bara Brith Bake-a-long (and eating) session

Summary:
To give the BIG Event a flavour of Cardiff and Wales, the BIG Executive Committee asked Helen Obee-Reardon to recommend a classic Welsh recipe we could bake and eat together. We’re pleased to say Helen has come though with flying colours (and flavours!) and has even written a blog with easy to follow directions and pictures of how to make delicious Bara brith.

Feel free to bake ahead and join us to eat and chat. Or, join us to chat as you make and bake your Bara brith. Regardless what you choose, check out Helen’s recipee here: https://theobeereardon.com/2021/07/09/bake-along-a-bara-brith-a-taste-of-wales/

This is guaranteed to be the most tasteful session of the Event!

Date and time of session:
Tuesday 20 July, 1:00pm-2:00pm

This session is NOT being recorded.

Resilience Workshop - a special BIG Event workshop

Summary:
REGISTRATION REQUIRED - https://www.big.uk.com/event-3770325

£5 for BIG Members
Non-Members must purchase membership first (at a cost of £35 for the year), and then come back and book this workshop for £5

As mental health continues to gain attention across the media, and funding to the arts, education and social sectors remains uncertain, resilience is one of the buzz words often heard in work-based conversations at the moment. Georgina first began exploring resilience as part of the development of a digital game, commissioned by the BBC/Somethin’ Else in 2011. More recently, Georgina has become passionate about the sustainability of individuals as a way to help sustain healthy organisations especially for those working across “passion sectors”. This work asks how –  as producers, funders, artists and administrators – we value ourselves alongside the work we are delivering. What causes us to reach our limits and how can we create more sustainable working approaches?

Inspired by the work of Sophy Banks, Joanna Macey and the her lived experience, Georgina has created a group-based workshop that is creative, interactive and practical. Over the course of two / three hour workshop, we will:

·        Begin to define resilience;

·        Start to recognise what pushes us beyond our limits, and

·        Begin to identify what can help us stay resilient for re-addressing our own, personal balance.

Your Trainer is Georgina Bednar, No Ordinary Experience

Georgina is the founder of No Ordinary Experience, a small arts led company working across social, education, place-making and charity sectors. Georgina began her career facilitating with young people and communities outside of the mainstream arts venues. As a facilitator, she has worked extensively within youth contexts, faith communities and professionals across arts organizations to drive collaborative conversations creating change. She is a consultant with Tonic Theatre imbedding change, diversity and staff wellbeing within organisations such as the Royal Opera House, Sadlers’ Wells and The British Science Association. Georgina has created personal development programmes with The Children Society & Southbank Centre and convened programmes for The British Council. She has coached MA students at Central School of Speech and Goldsmith University and works 1:1 with senior leaders across the Arts. She has trained in Relational Dynamics, Open Spaces, Forum Theatre & other arts based practices, and recently trained with Jenny McKewan in Systematic Coaching (e.g. Constellations).

Date and time of session:
Tuesday 20 July, 2:30pm-5:00pm

This session is NOT being recorded.

Session Leader:
Georgina Bednar, No Ordinary Experience

SOCIAL: (lightly) structured networking

Summary:
Want to meet people, but the idea of being put into a virtual room and "left to it" leaves you feeling sick? This social networking session will consist of small groups with 15-20 minutes of time to chat and get to know each other before swapping to meet some different folks. We'll also have a "starter for 10" question to use as an icebreaker to get you started and to give a bit of structure to your conversations.

Date and time of session:
Tuesday 20 July, 6:00pm-7:00pm

This session is NOT being recorded.

Wednesday, 21 July

The RECOVERY trial: a case study in communicating life-saving research during COVID-19

Summary:
When your department launches the world’s biggest clinical trial investigating potential COVID-19 treatments, where should science communication come into the picture? Your results will have huge global relevance -so what should your strategy be? Who do you partner with and what channels do you use? Join us for a case study of the Randomised Evaluation of COVid-19 thERapY (RECOVERY) trial, whose findings on an effective treatment for people hospitalised with COVID-19 have saved an estimated million lives worldwide so far. We look back over a rollercoaster year of health communication and share the challenges encountered and the lessons learnt along the way, including:

·        How to manage diverse stakeholders and their expectations - from funders to policy makers, journalists to hospitals, and most important of all, the patients whose lives may depend on delivery of success.

·        When you have hundreds of requests for media interviews, how do you prioritise?

·        The power of assets that tell the story on the frontline – how we partnered with the NHS to give a voice to doctors, nurses and trial participants.

·        The need for transparency and trust: how do you establish yourself as credible against a sea of COVID-misinformation?

You’ll also have the chance to share your own experiences of communicating important health messages during the pandemic.

Date and time of session:
Wednesday 21 July, 10:00am-11:30am

This session is being recorded and will be available on BIG’s private YouTube channel for BIG Members.

Speakers:
Caroline Wood, Nuffield Department of Population Health
Sarah Vincent, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Anne Whitehouse, Nuffield Department of Population Health

SOCIAL: puzzles and speed networking

Summary:
One of the best things about the BIG Event is meeting new people and catching up with old friends. So join us over lunch to meet some new people, play some games and enjoy other people's company. We'll be using a platform called Gather.town which makes this networking session feel as in-person as possible, without the need for social distancing or wearing a mask.

Gather.town FAQ: https://www.solipsys.co.uk/GatherTown/FAQ/FAQ.html

Date and time of session:
Wednesday 21 July, 12:00pm-1:00pm

This session is NOT being recorded.

REF Recovery Session

Summary:
What did we learn from the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF)? What made it so hard? What have engagement and outreach practitioners learned from this? Is it the same or different to impact practitioners? What notes do we want to write for future selves so we don’t have the same challenges? How do we grow and embed impact? It isn’t going away, it’ll still be important for research funding applications, not just REF2028. Would an impact network or support system be useful? Anyone with anything to do with REF welcome, we’ll discuss the issues and come up with more questions?

Date and time of session:
Wednesday 21 July, 1:00pm-2:30pm

This session is NOT being recorded.

Speakers:
Helen Obee Reardon, Cardiff University
Lucy Moorcraft, Northumbria University
Carol Davenport, NUSTEM, Northumbria University

Mental health and SciComm: looking after (ourselves and) our audiences

Summary:
As we think about face-to-face and hybrid events, how can we best look after our audiences’ mental health and ourselves? How do our audiences feel about events and what can we do to support them? We have event plans and health and safety assessment, how can we include mental health? This session is relevant to our whole community, from presenters to event managers, festival directors to riggers, line managers to freelancers and everyone else. Together we’ll discuss the issues and come up with some steps to ensure we embed mental health awareness, accessibility and inclusion into our work.

Date and time of session:
Wednesday 21 July, 3:00pm-4:30pm

This session is being recorded and will be available on BIG’s private YouTube channel for BIG Members.

Speakers:
Helen Obee Reardon, Cardiff University
Matthew Tosh, Freelance Presenter and Pyrotechnician
Claudia Antolini
Lorraine Coghill, Durham University

SOCIAL: The Best Demo Competition

Summary:
The best demo competition, but not as we know it.

BIG members line up to compete for one of the least valuable and yet most highly prized honours in UK science communication.

The Best Demo Competition presents a light-hearted look at some of the demos you think are worth sharing with your peers. There’s no money to win, it’s not an Oscar, it’s not a Nobel Prize. But within BIG we think it’s worth winning.

Each competitor has no more than a three-one-take video to demonstrate the maths, science, engineering and so on that really lights their fire and they just can’t help showing off to their peers. The audience decides. If you’re in the audience, don’t take it too seriously. If you’re competing, take it seriously, but not too seriously.

Previous Best Demo winners:

1997      Wendy Sadler
1998      Derek Fish
1999      Chris Norton
2000      Gillian Pearson
2001      Gillian Pearson
2002      James Piercy
2003      Suse Brumpton
2004      Rob Copeland & Izi Mohammed
2005      Ben Craven
2006      Marcus Weber
2007      Ben Craven
2008      Diane Gray
2009      Ian Simmons
2010      Farrah Nazir
2011      Brian Macken
2012      Karl Byrne
2013      Marcin Chydziński & Błażej Dawidson
2014      Stephen Williams
2015      Matt Pritchard
2016      Tobias Happe
2017      Brian Mackenwells
2018      Matthias Salewski
2019      Jemma Nauman
2020      Covid-19

Date and time of session:
Wednesday 21 July, 6:00pm-7:30pm

This session is being recorded and will be available on BIG’s private YouTube channel for BIG Members.

Speakers:
Sam Langford, BIG

Thursday, 22 July

The power of gesture in science communication

Summary:
Have you ever noticed HOW children move when interacting with exhibits and wondered what this means for learning? 

Move2Learn is an international collaboration of science communicators and learning science researchers who are exploring the role of movement and gesture in young children's learning about science. The project draws upon an emerging research area of Embodied Cognition which claims that the way we think and learn is inseparably linked to our sensory and action experiences in the world. 

After a brief introduction to key concepts and our research questions, you will test out the observation tool we have developed to analyse how users interact and learn.

We will share our own experiences of the highs and lows of pushing the boundary between science communication and academic research as we discuss:

·        the science centre as a complex environment to conduct research

·        the skills needed to engage young children AND conduct rigorous research

·        how explainers could use movement to improve interactions with learners

You will never look at exhibit interactions the same way again!

Date and time of session:
Thursday 22 July, 09:30am-10:30am

This session is being recorded and will be available on BIG’s private YouTube channel for BIG Members.

Speakers:
Susan Meikleham, Glasgow Science Centre
Alexia Revueltas Roux, Centre for Research in Digital Education


The BIG AGM

Summary:
Online session. 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, Professor Frances Balkwill OBE.

All BIG Members are welcome.

The BIG Executive Committee 2020-2021

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

This session is being recorded and will be available on BIG’s private YouTube channel for BIG Members.

BIG Executive Committee:
Helen Featherstone, BIG Chairperson
Hana Ayoob, BIG Vice Chair
Sam Langford, BIG Secretary
Ian Snell, BIG Treasurer
Sarah Cosgriff, BIG General Officer
Kirsty Hayward, BIG General Officer
Lucy Heard, BIG Membership Services Manager
Ashley Kent, BIG Event Coordinator

Beetlestone Award

Summary:
Professor John Beetlestone (1932-2017) was the founding director of Techniquest, the UK’s first purpose-built science discovery centre. Set up in his honour, the Beetlestone Award* recognises leadership and legacy in the field of informal science learning and carries a personal cash prize of £500; an additional bursary to facilitate dissemination of the holder’s vision and legacy and free registration for the next BIG conference.

The 2021 winner of this prestigious award is Professor Frances Balkwill OBE, Professor of Cancer Biology at Queen Mary University of London.

*This Award has been made possible through the generosity of Professor Beetlestone's family and friends. Keep an eye on the BIG website and your inboxes to find out how to apply in 2022.

Date and time of session:
Thursday 22 July,

This session is NOT being recorded.

Meeting for the Incoming and Outgoing Executive Committee

Summary:
All the newly elected Committee Members as well as the outgoing Committee get together to discuss handover and forward planning. Congrats for getting elected!

Date and time of session:
Thursday 22 July, 12:30pm-1:30pm

This session is NOT being recorded.

Entertaining Oligarchs (Some uses and abuses of improv)

Summary:
Join self confessed science busking fanatic David Price from Science Made Simple as he shares a real life science busking experience with  you, looking at:

How a very particular set of circumstance with some very particular clients, forced David to improvise like crazy (or did it?).

Why he see the benefits of improv, but runs a mile from it whenever he gets a chance.

The fascinating relationship between street performers and their improvisation skills and how this works out in terms of everyday sci com situations.

Date and time of session:
Thursday 22 July, 2:30pm-3:00pm

This session is being recorded and will be available on BIG’s private YouTube channel for BIG Members.

Session Leader:
David Price, Science Made Simple

SOCIAL: (lightly) structured networking

Summary:
Want to meet people, but the idea of being put into a virtual room and "left to it" leaves you feeling sick? This social networking session will consist of small groups with 15-20 minutes of time to chat and get to know each other before swapping to meet some different folks. We'll also have a "starter for 10" question to use as an icebreaker to get you started and to give a bit of structure to your conversations.

Date and time of session:
Thursday 22 July, 5:00pm-6:00pm

This session is NOT being recorded.

Friday, 23 July

Mental health and SciComm: Giving yourself a chance

Summary:
In this session we will share ways to look after our emotional wellbeing. What are the chemicals that make us feel happy? What can I do to make myself feel better, and what can my institution/workplace do? How do I establish healthy boundaries? How do I build mental wellbeing as a freelancer? How to be an ally and support people around us who might be struggling? The outcome of the session will be a set of tips to use in our daily life and suggestions for building a more inclusive and accepting working environment.

Please note that we are not qualified mental health professionals. The information we will share in this session comes from our personal experience. It will not be all encompassing and should not be taken as medical advice. You can join the session anonymously by making sure you amend your Zoom settings by removing your name and profile picture  and we will not be able to identify you. Everything that will be shared during the session and personal details of the people that share information will stay confidential and we ask all participants to respect this rule. We suggest that if you wish to mention anything related to the session you refrain from mentioning the name of the individual, their demographic characteristics, or the institution they work for (i.e. talk about a general situation, not the individual) and pay special attention not o disclose details that could make the individual identifiable. For further support, please visit https://www.mind.org.uk/ and https://www.samaritans.org.

Date and time of session:
Friday 23 July, 10:00am-11:30am

This session is NOT being recorded.

Speakers:
Claudia Antolini, Royal Holloway University of London
Helen Obee Reardon
Matthew Tosh
Ginny Smith
Lucy Heard

SOCIAL: Book Club - Anna Ploszajski's Handmade

Summary:
Join Science on a Postcard's Heidi Gardner and BIG for a lunchtime book club where we'll be chatting about Anna Ploszajski's new book 'Handmade: A Scientist's Search for Meaning through Making'. Read the book and join us for an informal discussion on the last day of the BIG Event. Please don't put pressure on yourself to finish the whole book before the session, you're very welcome to join us wherever you are in the book.

Heidi runs these sessions regularly, so if you are interested in attending more, you can get signed up on her website: https://scienceonapostcard.com/bookclub/

Date and time of session:
Friday 23 July, 12:00pm-1:00pm

This session is NOT being recorded.

Speakers:
Hana Ayoob, BIG
Heidi Gardner, Science on a Postcard

Inclusive Science Engagement Swapshop

Summary:
BIG is one of nine members of the Inclusive Science Engagement network, run by the British Science Association. Come along to this session to find out what members of the network have been doing to build more inclusive science communication and engagement: from small interventions to whole organisation strategic work – there’s something for you! Why not share your own experiences and take away a host of top tips in a handy resource guide.

We’ll also be opening a bursary scheme for members to use to develop their own inclusive science engagement practice.

Date and time of session:
Friday 23 July, 2:00pm-3:30pm

This session is being recorded and will be available on BIG’s private YouTube channel for BIG Members.

Session Leader:
Helen Featherstone, BIG

 

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