The Science Communication Conference is the largest in the UK, addressing the key issues facing science communicators and bringing together people involved in public engagement. This tends to be a diverse group of people from a wide range of backgrounds, including science centres, charities, universities, press offices and policy-makers.
This year’s theme is online engagement: exploring innovative uses of online media to engage the public with science, including discussions about podcasting, gaming, virtual worlds and citizen science, as well as an interactive social media workshop. Some of the speakers include Simon Singh discussing libel reform, Tim Radform on his career and experience as former science editor of The Guardian, as well as a panel session with Robert Winston and Kathy Sykes discussing their perspectives on the future of public engagement.
I am looking forward to meeting (in real life!) a number of science communicators who I regularly interact with on Twitter, as well as blogging throughout the conference. As an academic, I’ve found social media an immensely valuable resource for my research, though especially in supporting my science communication and public engagement activities. The relevance of this year’s theme is clear, highlighting how pervasive and powerful online media can be; I’m also very keen to hear Simon Singh discuss the latest proposed reforms to the libel laws in the UK.