The contents of this toolkit are for use by Science Festival Alliance (SFA) member festivals. For more on becoming a member, see the about section. For list of current SFA member festivals, see the interactive map or calendar.
SFA logos Logos and graphic elements for the Science Festival Alliance are provided in the resources below for the use of Science Festival Alliance members. Tout your festival’s membership by adding the logo with a link to www.sciencefestivals.org on your festival’s website, social media, and printed publications. However, please avoid the appearance that a member’s individual statements, events, or programs are a direct product of the Science Festival Alliance. “A member of:” followed by the logo is acceptable text to include. Additionally, a suggested tagline for the logo is “dedicated to more and better science festivals everywhere.”
Representing your festival in SFA materials The SFA prioritizes members in communications, but relies on you to tell us when you have news or updates that you’d like to share with the world. Once a year the SFA requests information and photos in our annual member application, but please share breaking news and striking imagery with us as it happens. SFA communication tools are designed to reach other professionals interested in public science communication. As an SFA member your festival will automatically be included in the SFA’s Annual Reports (see the resources below), and this website’s interactive map and calendar.
Representing your festival with national collaborators The SFA is frequently in touch with organizations that have an interest in working with multiple festivals, and prioritizes members in such conversations. The SFA always states up front that all members are independently organized and make all programming decisions locally. Contact SFA staff to discuss how to get collaborators you work with involved with other festivals.
SFA affiliation with MIT The MIT Museum is pleased to employ the SFA’s only full-time staff. However, member festival materials should avoid any appearance that MIT endorses or otherwise supports independent festival activity.
Using this website The SFA’s website serves as a clearinghouse of information for professionals looking to partner with or start new science festivals. The site also serves as a resource for professionals interested in learning about the history, impact, and unique contributions of the growing science festival sector. Members of the public visiting the site are quickly directed to the websites of festivals in their region. News and imagery from member festivals are among the most popular content on the site, so please contact SFA staff to highlight your festival on the site.
Personal and festival profiles on this website: All SFA member festivals have a profile page listed on this website’s interactive map and calendar. Each of those festival profiles is linked to personal profiles for the festival’s main organizers. For specific instructions on updating personal or festival profiles, see the instructions in the resources below.
Science Festival Headlines newsletter: Encourage everyone on your festival team, and any interested collaborators, to sign up for the SFA’s newsletter. Please contact SFA staff if you have news you’d like to include in this newsletter.
Professional announcements: Members and collaborators are welcome to add events using the form available on this site’s professional announcements calendar. Events should be of broad interest to professionals from any region.
The SFA on Twitter: The twitter account @sciencefests is a public account viewable to everyone. The SFA strives to retweet member festival posts whenever they are of relevance to many festivals, and maintains a SFA Member Twitter List you can subscribe to for tweets from all SFA members.
The SFA on Facebook: The SFA hosts a private Facebook group for members-only conversation. For an email invitation to this Facebook group, simply contact SFA staff, and remind them of your affiliation with a member festival.
SFA Members Bulletin: This email is sent to all designated representatives of member festivals whenever there is enough festival-specific news to share. Please contact SFA staff if you have specific news or opportunities that you would like to share only with SFA members.
The International Public Science Events Conference: All members and their collaborators are encouraged to attend IPSEC. This conference also draws professionals with an interest in other public science event forms. Past conferences have ranged between 100 and 200 attendees, and the programs for each is included in the resources below.
Members meetings: These meetings are announced via the Members Bulletin. Anyone affiliated with a member festival is welcome to join these one-hour conference calls. An in-person meeting is held at IPSEC each year. Contact SFA staff to suggest items to include in upcoming meetings.
Other conference presentations and networking events: Members are encouraged to represent the SFA in professional conferences by including SFA information in presentations, and/or distributing SFA materials. Please contact SFA staff to coordinate this activity, and we will provide SFA talking points, slides, and other materials. An SFA PowerPoint slide template is provided in the resources below. Similarly, the SFA holds networking events in conjunction with professional conferences. These events (usually informal happy hours held near the conference venue) bring together anyone with an interest in festivals. Please contact SFA staff to organize a networking event at a conference you are attending.
Hosting and visiting other festivals: Visiting another festival in session is one of the most valuable professional development experiences for a festival organizer. The SFA coordinates many such site visits every year, and it helps to know about any planned visits ahead of time. Please contact SFA staff before planning a visit to another festival or if you are contacted by someone interested in visiting your festival. SFA staff will make sure that all interested professionals have the chance to meet up and make the most of their visits.
Cohorts and Partner Pods: Many SFA members—especially festivals just getting started—enjoy regularly scheduled conference calls with 2 – 3 other members facing similar issues. These calls are focused on the immediate needs of the participants, though it is often best to set a loose agenda before each call. Contact SFA staff if you would like to benefit from the collegial support of your peers in this way.
SFA Working Groups: Working groups take on issues deemed of importance to the greater festival community, and make non-binding recommendations to SFA management and membership. A working group can be formed at any time with a quorum of at least four SFA members that agree to work together to investigate a specific issue (and preferably with a defined product that, once delivered, marks the completion of the working group). SFA staff provides support for working groups (a conference call line, for example), but each working group must have a chair that serves as the point person for keeping the group on track. Working groups are expected to work with SFA staff to ensure that their formation, progress, and results are communicated to and inclusive for SFA membership. Working group topics range from investigations into opportunities that directly benefit many festivals (such as the mobile platform working group, formed in late 2012 to investigate the potential of a shared platform for a mobile festival calendar interface), to groups steering SFA activity (such as the IPSEC 2014 organizing committees).
You are the SFA As a distributed network, the SFA is only as strong as the connections between its members. Therefore, instead of annual financial dues the “to-dos” system asks each SFA member to be active participants in the SFA network, and to report that activity to SFA staff.
Annual reporting and membership renewal: Once a year each member festival must complete a membership renewal application. This application will ask for details about festival activity that are compiled to generate the SFA’s publicly available annual reports. Other membership renewal questions ask for details about participation in SFA activity, and will be reviewed by the SFA Membership Committee. SFA membership is based on the level of participation of a member in activity that involves and benefits many festivals: it is not a judgment of the overall quality of a festival initiative. The Membership Committee will evaluate the activity reflected in renewal forms based on comparisons to the activity of other members. Members that fail to pass this review for two years in a row will no longer be considered SFA members in good standing.
Other SFA surveys and information requests: The SFA has several projects underway that depend on pooling the collective wisdom of the science festival sector. This work will involve 2 – 4 surveys a year of SFA members. Survey results will guide the creation of resources that benefit all festivals: please participate!
The SFA Swag Swap: The Swag Swap is a way to share festival program guides and other ‘swag’ among all members. Every year SFA staff will initiate the Swag Swap with a request to send us hard copies of items produced for your festival. We will then compile everything we get, and send you back one of each item that other members have sent in, with leftover items added to the growing SFA library. Participation is key to the success of this swap, so only members that contribute to it will receive a package in return. Enjoy this post with photos of 2014 Swag Swap items.
Updating points of contact: Your festival team may include several people that would benefit from access to SFA resources. Please contact SFA staff with any changes to this team as they occur so that we can ensure that the right people have access to members-only resources.