Ivvet Modinou, British Science Association
At the BSA we’re committed to growing the number of people interested and engaged in science. From our experience, one of the best ways of doing this is through live events – which bring people together to discuss, discover and debate new ideas. Our ambition is to see more events taking place across the UK, especially events that are organised by members of the local community who best understand their audiences.
However, there are more than a few barriers to making this a reality. When we consulted local event organisers they told us that their biggest challenges were finding speakers, presenters and volunteers to participate and help run the events. We know that running events can be an uphill struggle, especially without an extensive black book of contacts and when you feel you’re working completely alone. Event organisers are not always given sufficient support, may lack confidence in tackling science subjects and are juggling the practicalities of event development alongside other work or study.
Science Live (www.sciencelive.net). It is new kind of event platform – a sharing economy model that facilitates links between each part of the science event equation: the public, the speakers, the volunteers and the organisers.
Some of you may remember the former version of Science Live, which was launched back in 2003 – long before Twitter, Instagram and emoticons were around. In the early days, the website was a simple directory of presenters, used primarily by established event organisers and teachers to find speakers. After evaluating the old site with some of our users, we realised it was not being used by people new to putting on events.
We identified the need for a platform that connects scientists, presenters and content providers, with those who want to organise and volunteer at events. With the support of the Wellcome Trust, who funded the project through their People Awards scheme, we were able to begin building a website that would serve all these audience needs.
Science Live will support event organisers by giving them access to speakers, connecting them with local volunteers and putting their events in front of the right audiences. We hope to create an online community of science event organisers, with the ambition that it will become a virtuous circle of engagement: volunteers can find an event, learn how to put it on through practice and become future event organisers; scientists throughout the UK will attend, be inspired, and perhaps return to speak or help organise a new event of their own.
In line with the BSA’s vision of a world where science is at the heart of our society and culture, Science Live will enable more live science events to happen around the country. Whether you’re a scientist, presenter, content provider, teacher, volunteer or general event organiser, we hope you join us to help achieve our mission.
Do have a look around the site – and sign up for free! www.sciencelive.net