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Upcoming events

    • 13 Jan 2020
    • 9:45 AM - 4:30 PM
    • The Birmingham & Midland Institute, Birmingham
    • 37


    Monday 13th January, 2020 - 9.45am-4.30pm
    (coffee and registration from 9.15am)

    As part of BIG's role in promoting excellence in science communication we are pleased to announce our upcoming skills day.

    What will happen at this Skills Day? 

    An entire day of trawling through dull risk assessments, plus a didactic death-by-PowerPoint speculative update on post-Brexit health and safety legislation...

    ...Or we could do this BIG-style with Matthew Tosh and get stuck into real, tangible risk assessment processes to help you in your work.

    How do you even begin to evaluate a risk? Learn from Matthew's transformative approach which saw him move from a restrictive classroom environment to highly-explosive, fire-infused live shows and events.

    The day will be a mash-up of worked examples, collaborative discussions and individual working. Whilst the day will have processes as its core focus, including what to do if an incident occurs, we'll examine ways of documenting your risk assessment. More importantly, you will have an opportunity to focus on your own activities and give yourself a bit of a H&S health-check in a supportive, expert-led environment. This is more than a day dedicated to updating your risk assessment(s); it is about empowering you and moving you towards an even clearer, more positive relationship with H&S personnel, clients and event colleagues.

    Who is the day for?
    • Anyone who has to create or read risk assessments;
    • People who are new to risk assessments; or
    • People who are experienced, but want an update on current best practice in risk assessments. 
    Your Trainer

      Matthew Tosh, Freelance Pyrotechnician and Science Communicator

      Matthew has a solid track record for managing safety and risk for science communication events and stage show tours. Favoured for his meticulous detail and solutions-focused approach, Matthew is regularly engaged to compile risk assessments for individual presenters, one-off shows and tours. He also reviews risk assessments, primarily for the Cheltenham Science Festival and the Lablive Christmas lectures series 2014-2019. He has won repeated commissions for his proactive approach at bridging the gap between what a performer wants to do and the Festival’s legal H&S obligations.

      In May 2016, Matthew was engaged as Health and Safety Manager and Senior Pyrotechnician for Greg Foot’s national theatre tour Caution: Safety Goggles Required! The show featured pyrotechnics, ballistics, firearms, explosives, flamethrowers and audience volunteers on stage. He has since overseen location health and safety for a number of TV and film shoots where close-proximity fire and pyrotechnic effects have been in use.

      Elsewhere, Matthew conducts venue assessments for the professional fireworks and pyrotechnics industry, to help identify what is possible at a particular site. He subsequently compiles venue-specific risk assessments to inform the display design.

      For Matthew, it is all about finding solutions to make things happen safely.


      £45 for BIG members including lunch and coffee

      Non-members will need to join BIG first at an annual cost of £30 and then come back to register for the day as a member. 

      • 14 Jan 2020
      • 10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
      • The Birmingham & Midland Institute, Birmingham
      • 35

      The Little Event 

      Tuesday 14th January, 2020
      The Birmingham & Midland Institute, Birmingham

      The Little Event is BIG’s one-day training session for people who are new to STEM communication, whether you work in a science centre or museum, volunteer for a festival, are involved in university outreach, or do anything else to engage people with science, technology, engineering and maths. The day is crammed with introductory sessions focusing on developing the different skills that are useful in STEM communication; they are delivered by experienced science communicators following BIG's usual hands-on approach.

      But of course, it isn't just about the sessions, it’s the people you meet there, too. The Little Event also presents a great opportunity to meet people from across the UK working in similar roles and sharing similar experiences. The programme for the day includes sessions on Evaluation, Managing Projects, Presenting, Audience Analysis and Careers.

      2020 Programme:

      9:30-10am: registration and coffee
      10am-4:30pm: sessions, breaks and lunch
      5pm: Sci-Comm Social at a pub (optional)

      Setting the Scene Paolo Arru, BIG and Public Programmes Team
      Introducing everybody to everybody, plan for the day and a whistle-stop tour of STEM engagement.

      Managing Projects - Hana Ayoob, Freelance Events Curator
      From small events like 30-minute demo shows and table top interactives to workshops and science festivals, managing a project is just as important as creating its content.

      Presenting Science- Jon Wood, JonWoodScience
      You know the science but how can you make it accessible to others? A chance to develop your presenting skills.

      Evaluation - Jamie Gallagher, Engagement Consultant
      This session will explore the science behind the survey giving you the skills you need to plan the perfect evaluation without a social science degree in qualitative analysis.

      Who is the Audience? - Clio Heslop, Cultural Partnerships Manager, British Science Association
      What is an audience? How much can audiences differ? Why does your audience even matter?

      Careers - Paolo Arru, Hana Ayoob, Jamie Gallagher, Clio Heslop, Jon Wood and others
      Some career options, where to look for jobs, and what qualifications are desirable. Hear from the panel and ask your questions, too.

      BIG members: cost £45 login as a member first to be able to register for the member rate. To login as a member, use the email address you used to join BIG. If you can't remember what this is, please email

      Non-members: you first need to join BIG costing £30 for the year and then come back and register for the Little Event at the £45 member rate.

    Past events

    18 Nov 2019 The Little Event Bursary Application - 2020
    01 Oct 2019 Exhibit Prototyping Skills Days - beginner level, 2 days
    21 Jul 2019 Talking Maths in Public 2019 - BIG Partnership Bursary
    17 Jul 2019 BIG Event 2019 (Non-Speakers)
    17 Jul 2019 BIG Event 2019 (Speakers)
    17 Jul 2019 What can we do to be better equality, diversity and inclusion allies?
    15 Jul 2019 Exhibit Prototyping Skills Day - intermediate level, 2 days
    24 Apr 2019 Bursary Application - BIG Event 2019
    12 Feb 2019 Training Researchers in Public Engagement
    24 Jan 2019 The Little Event 2019
    03 Jan 2019 Training Researchers in Public Engagement Bursary Application - 2019
    21 Nov 2018 The Little Event Bursary Application - 2019
    17 Oct 2018 How to Develop a Training Session: a BIG Skills Day
    18 Jul 2018 BIG Event 2018 (Non-Speakers)
    18 Jul 2018 BIG Event 2018 (Speakers)
    01 Jun 2018 Diversity in STEM Skills Day - SOLD OUT
    17 Jan 2018 The Little Event 2018
    13 Oct 2017 Digital Making
    01 Sep 2017 BIG's 21st Birthday Party
    19 Jul 2017 BIG Event 2017 (Speakers)
    19 Jul 2017 BIG Event 2017 (Non-Speakers)
    04 May 2017 The Power of Cryogenic Science to Inspire
    18 Apr 2017 Bursary Application - BIG Event 2017
    11 Jan 2017 The Little Event 2017
    02 Dec 2016 Using Social Media to Communicate Science
    20 Jul 2016 BIG Event 2016 (Non-Speakers)
    20 Jul 2016 BIG Event 2016 (Speakers)
    19 Apr 2016 Bursary Application - BIG Event 2016
    13 Jan 2016 The Little Event 2016
    24 Nov 2015 Working in University Outreach: How to Train Researchers
    22 Jul 2015 BIG Event 2015 (Speakers)
    22 Jul 2015 UKSFN Meeting
    22 Jul 2015 BIG Event 2015 (Non-Speakers)
    20 Apr 2015 Working in University Outreach: Skills for STEM Engagement
    26 Jan 2015 Edinburgh Sci-comm Social
    26 Jul 2014 SciComm Summer Picnic
    23 Jul 2014 UK Science Festivals Network meeting
    23 Jul 2014 BIG Event 2014 (Speakers)
    23 Jul 2014 BIG Event 2014 (Non-Speakers)
    11 Jul 2014 What’s so Special about STEM?
    11 Jun 2014 Manchester Sci-comm Burrito
    19 May 2014 BIG Ideas for Little People: Skills-Sharing for Early Years
    07 May 2014 Manchester Sci-comm Burrito
    08 Jan 2014 The Little Event 2014
    22 Feb 2013 Sci Com-edy: Making Science Communication funny
    07 Jan 2013 The Little Event 2013
    25 Jul 2012 BIG Event 2012
    08 May 2012 Maths Communication: Putting the M into STEM
    02 Apr 2012 People Power: Engaging Audiences
    17 Oct 2011 Advanced Audience Skills - Creating Astonishment
    05 Sep 2011 The Little Event 2011
    20 Jul 2011 BIG Event 2011
    21 Feb 2011 Improvisation Skills Day
    07 Sep 2010 The Little Event
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    BIG: the skills sharing network for STEM

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