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2015 IPSEC Program

Contributors: Science Festival Alliance

The 2015 International Public Science Events Conference (IPSEC)

IPSEC 2015 meets June 1 – 2 at the MIT Media Lab.

Over 135 attendees have registered as of mid-May, with more signing on every day. So far, attendees from across the US and UK include representatives from some of the largest science events, longest running science event series, and most esteemed institutions in the world. But attendees also include passionate volunteers, dedicated entrepreneurs, the organizers of carefully crafted small scale events, and the new event forms that are only just now being tried for the first time.

A schedule of conference events and sessions is posted below (final details, including session rooms and times are subject to change).

 

Sunday, May 31

8:00pm You’re the Expert (Improv Boston, 40 Prospect St, Cambridge, MA) Arrive early to make sure you have a drink and a seat to enjoy a special edition of this unique comedy show. Admission open only to IPSEC 2015 attendees. Seating may be limited on a first-come first-served basis.

 

Monday, June 1

8:00: Media Lab doors open for IPSEC 2015. Light continental breakfast served.

9:00 – 10:00: The State of Science Events: Critical Reflections From Across the Sector (Multipurpose Room) We’re not sure whether to call it a “rolling panel” or “cascading conversation,” but we think we’ve found a way to get 10 panelists and 8 fast-paced conversations into a single one-hour session covering some of the most important current issues for science events. Panelists include: Julie Fooshee, Coordinator, Science Festival Alliance; Ann Grand, Research Fellow, University of the West of England; Ivvet Modinou, UK Science Festivals Network & Head of Engagement, British Science Association; Annette Smith, Consultant, science:education:governance; Monae Verbeke, Research Associate, University of Warwick; Jessica Sickler, Managing Director, Lifelong Learning Group; Cat Aboudara and Innovation Project Manager, for Smithsonian and Co-Boss of Nerd Nite DC; Rabiah Mayas, Director, Science and Integrated Strategies, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago; Ben Lillie, Director, The Story Collider; Jamie Bell, Director, CAISE; Moderator: Ben Wiehe, Manager, Science Festival Alliance

10:15 – 11:45: Science Events Expo (Winter Garden) Meet the whole conference as we all showcase our events and programs. Exhibitors will switch halfway through this session to give everyone a chance to present.

11:45: Lunch! Take in grand views of Boston and the Charles River in late spring bloom from the top floor of the Media Lab while enjoying a catered lunch.

1:00 – 2:00: Concurrent Sessions

  • Edutainment and Science Events (Multipurpose Room) Entertainment gimmicks or the best classroom they never had? Explore the balance between entertainment and education in this debate-style session. Session Leaders: Darcy J. Gentleman, Director of Speaker Preparation, thirst. LLC; Kishore Hari, Director, Bay Area Science Festival, UC San Francisco
  • The Art and Science of Training Scientists (Lecture Hall) This session will impart some of the lessons learned through years of training scientists to communicate and engage with public audiences that can be applied to festival’s outreach to and training of scientists. AAAS will share research about scientists’ motivations for participation in these activities and the ways in which AAAS has translated this to practical activities and structures for scientist training.  Session Leader: Jeanne Braha, Public Engagement Manager, AAAS
  • The Science of Marketing (Silverman Skyline Room) Once you have the idea for your science event, you need to get the idea to your community. We’ll get you on your way to proper branding, promotion and a marketing plan. Session Leaders: Kacie Baum, ‎Science Outreach Programs Coordinator, University of Nebraska Medical Center; Meisa Salaita, Co-founder and Co-director, Atlanta Science Festival

2:15 – 3:15: Concurrent Sessions

  • Metrics for Success: Evaluation of Science Events (Multipurpose Room) Join us for a lively discussion about data and methods. We will share data from recent science festivals and discuss novel methods we use to assess our events’ impacts. Session Leaders: Denise Young, Director of Education and Planning, Morehead Planetarium and Science Center; Savita Custead, Director, Festival of Nature; Katherine Nielsen, Co-Director, UCSF Science & Health Education Partnership 
  • Using Events to Transcend Cultural Barriers (Lecture Hall) How do you turn over the keys to your event to the community you serve? What do you have to give up when you do this? It may turn out that the product is not as important as the process. Session Leader: Holly Truitt, Director, spectrUM, University of Montana
  • Communicating Science Workshop (Silverman Skyline Room) Scientists and engineers often find that they need to discuss complicated scientific findings in a clear, concise manner with members of the public. In this 2 hour workshop, the Center for Public Engagement at AAAS will teach you how to design and implement trainings specifically for in-person events. Limited to 20 participants. Session Leader: Linda Hosler, Public Engagement Program Associate, AAAS

3:30 – 4:30: Concurrent Sessions

  • Connecting your event DNA to your audience (Multipurpose Room) You’ve held the inaugural event, now you are into years two and three. What now? What are your questions on taking your marketing and branding to the next level? Hear from PR and Marketing experts from the science event world about fresh ideas, what works, what fails, and so much more. Session Leader: Gerri Trooskin, Director of Strategic Partnerships, The Franklin Institute; and invited guests
  • Fresh Thinking: new ideas in sponsorship (Lecture Hall) Fundraising is a contact sport and new ideas are key to staying ahead. We’ll focus on specific examples, creative ideas, actionable concepts, and trends across events that keep donors coming back year after year. Session Leader: P.A. d’Arbeloff, Director, Cambridge Science Festival (US); and invited guests
  • Communicating Science Workshop (continued in Silverman Skyline Room)

6:00 – 10:00: The first-night dinner has become an IPSEC tradition. Join the entire conference for free food, a cash bar, and no speeches!

 

Tuesday, June 2

9:30 – 10:30 Enduring Events (Multipurpose Room) What does it mean for something as seemingly fleeting as an event to have an enduring legacy?

Panelists: Amanda Tyndall, Deputy Festival Director, Edinburgh International Science Festival; Bonnie Stevens, Coordinator, Flagstaff Festival of Science; Russ Campbell, Communications Officer, Burroughs Wellcome Fund; Meri Jenkins, Program Manager, Adams Arts Program, Massachusetts Cultural Council; Moderator: John Durant, Director, MIT Museum

10:45 – 11:45: Concurrent Sessions

  • Is this thing on? (Multipurpose Room) There is an emerging trend of events mixing science and culture in ways that create multiple routes into engagement for audiences and scientists. In this session we’ll explore successful methods to earn that engagement from mixing science with comedy or storytelling to integrating real-time feedback, and ask questions about what’s missing and how to develop these ideas further. Session Leaders: Chris Duffy, Producer/Host, You’re the Expert; Ben Lillie, Director, The Story Collider
  • International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN) (Lecture Hall) InOMN is an annual, international celebration of lunar and planetary science and exploration. One day each year, we invite the entire world to unite by looking up at, and learning about, Earth¹s nearest neighbor. Come learn more about InOMN, meet fellow InOMN hosts, share stories about your InOMN events, or come to learn how you can host a future event, feature InOMN in a science festival, or otherwise share InOMN with your community. Session Leader: Andy Shaner, Education and Public Outreach Specialist, Lunar and Planetary Institute 
  • Getting to Launch: Event Timelines and Planning (Silverman Skyline Room) A successful science event requires careful organization, attention to detail, and rigorous commitment to timelines. From initial site selection to day- of execution, explore different models for planning and organizing your event. Session Leaders: Laura Heisler, Director of Programming, WARF; Laura Diedrick, Public Programs Specialist, Smithsonian Marine Station

11:45: Lunch! Take in grand views of Boston and the Charles River in late spring bloom from the top floor of the Media Lab while enjoying a catered lunch.

1:00 – 2:00: Concurrent Sessions

  • Theater of the Unexpected: A Collective Brainstorming Session (Multipurpose Room) Join us for a free-wheeling group discussion about the core components of public science events and how they can be applied in unconventional ways. Are there ideas that you’ve always wanted to try in a public setting? Any that you’ve heard about and want to adapt? What are other non-sciences style of programs that we can learn from? There will be lots of spitballing in this hour (spitballs not included). Session Leaders: Jonathan Frederick, Director, North Carolina Science Festival; Sung Kim, Coordinator, Cambridge Science Festival (US)
  • Embracing the Message That Matters (Lecture Hall) Many science events are fantastic celebrations of science and technology, but that celebration presupposes an audience ready to celebrate. So how does our messaging need to change when we reach out to those who don’t self-select for science, and to what extent is that messaging pre-determined by where we show up and who we partner with? Session leader: Cynthia Kramer, Executive Director, SCOPE
  • Unleashing Volunteers (Silverman Skyline Room) Volunteers are the lifeblood of events, from managing logistics to driving attendance. This is a discussion around innovative volunteer programs, volunteer professional development, and how to provide supportive management that unleashes volunteers’ energy and creativity. Session Leaders: Cody Kangas, Director, MindTrekkers, Michigan Technological University; Kathleen Szczepaniak, Lead Street Team Member, Arizona SciTech Festival

2:15 – 3:15: Concurrent Sessions

  • Getting Back to the Roots of Science Cafes: Creating Value and Impact (Multipurpose Room) Science cafes have been on the scene for almost two decades, spreading like wildfire across the world. In recent years, many cafes have turned away from the original dialogue-driven model to a casual lecture format. We’ll discuss the shift, highlight innovations from the field, and ask what it will take for the movement to persist. Session Leaders: Michelle Hall, President. Science Education Solutions; Ann Grand, Research Fellow, University of the West of England
  •  A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats: A Conversation on Regional Collaboration (Lecture Hall) Multiple regional public science events have been the catalysts for creating festivals to accomplish similar goals. Yet, there is still more we can do to build and strengthen regional collaborations. Join a conversation about strategies that help to build trust and to ensure that all partners share in a collaboration’s successes. Session Leaders: Chris McCreery, Director, Northern Ireland Science Festival; E. Howard Rutherford, Co-Founder, St. Petersburg Science Festival
  •  Science not included….until now! (Silverman Skyline Room) Do you run programs that engage the public with science at non-science events? Do you show up to sporting events, art installations, fairgrounds, or grocery stores and explain the science behind football, dancing, tractor pulls, or the world’s best guacamole? Are you interested in starting a program that engages people where they already are? Join a discussion about current programs and explore ways to start your own science intervention. Session Leaders: Ellen Trappey, Community Programming Specialist, The Franklin Institute; Jesse Billingham, Science on the Street Coordinator, MIT Museum

3:20 – 4:00 The Future of the Science Events Sector (Multipurpose Room) Public science events are not new, but the awareness that they comprise a distinct sector of science communication is. Now that we’ve shown sufficient critical mass to pull off our own conference, where might we go from here? Session Leader: Kishore Hari, Chair, IPSEC 2015 Program Committee

2015 IPSEC Program
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