For my sins, I am the Chair of the Local Organising Committee for the PCST (Public Communication of Science and Technology) Conference, 2018. This is the largest and most significant international meeting of science communicators and it occurs every two years. From 3 – 6 April, it shall be held in New Zealand for the first time, attracting over 500 of the world’s science communicators – a mixture of both researchers and practitioners – to our wee part of the globe, or Middle Earth as Sir Peter Jackson likes to call it.
Science Communication is a relatively new field and these gatherings assume an importance not unlike the migrations of penguins, snow geese or albatross to the extreme corners of the world where they gather in dense colonies for breeding. For the birds, they congregate to ensure the perpetuation of their lineages. For the science communicators, the conferences become the fertile breeding grounds for the ideas that are helping propel science communication into becoming a discipline in its own right.
There is always a bit of tension between the practitioners and researchers, between the practice and theory of science communication. But that is healthy. It keeps everything relevant and honest. I am enormously proud to be a member of the fast-growing community of science communicators. There is one thing for sure: right now the world needs more science communicators and we need to become better at our jobs. PCST 2018 will help.
Come and join us at our “colony”.