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IPSEC 2017

06.05.2017 - 06.06.2017

IPSEC logoThe 2017 International Public Science Events Conference

Madison, Wisconsin, June 5-6

Thank you everyone for a fantastic meeting in Madison! We’ll be updating materials soon, but for an overview of the meeting highlights, see the conference program online, and check #IPSEC2017 for some first reactions to the meeting.



There is something special about live, in-person events. There is immediacy to live events, a unique don’t-miss-out buzz, and a compelling urgency. Events offer the chance to develop real human relationships: meeting in person is how people get to know each other. Events are rich with the potential for genuine dialogue and exchange. Events aren’t necessarily tied to one location or venue, and can be quickly adapted to be meaningful and energizing for very different audiences. Plus events work at any scale and level of professionalism, so anyone and any organization can get involved.

OK, so maybe there are lots of special things about live, in-person events. That must be why so many of us are having such great fun taking events very seriously. Join us at IPSEC!



Anyone with an interest in live, in-person public science events.

As of March, more than 2-dozen states and provinces are represented by attendees.



June 5 -6, 2017

Conference registration includes admission to the June 4 performance of Gastropod Live! at the Majestic Theater. Tickets for this performance are still on sale for the general public.

Conference registration also includes dinner on Monday, June 5. Contact SFA staff for the password to access a limited number of dinner-only tickets on sale for family members.



Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery Building

330 N. Orchard St., Madison, Wisconsin, USA



Registration is now closed. We will be announcing dates for IPSEC 2018 soon. Stay in touch by signing up for Science Festival Headlines on this site’s homepage, or following along: @ScienceFests



The preliminary conference schedule is now available.

Monday morning begins with a unique plenary that considers how the landscape of live events has changed over the past year. This is immediately followed by the energetic Science Events Expo, a networking session with just enough order to give everyone the chance to meet. Tuesday morning begins with a panel discussion about the role of events in political campaigns, allowing us to compare our work to analogous activity from another field. Afternoon concurrent sessions on both days will feature topics related to event production, research and evaluation of events, and critical reflection on what is possible with live events.


I’m on the fence:

How do I know if IPSEC is a good match for me?

You’re curious when you hear someone say, “in-person events are unique, especially in the way that they are centered on a social experience.” You may not run a whole festival, but now that you think about it you realize you’re actually really interested in events that create science experiences for the public. Then you notice that you’re free in early June, and that IPSEC is very affordable. Plus you’ve always wondered: “what’s up with cheese curds?” (a Wisconsin specialty).


What is the meeting like? Isn’t it just a normal professional conference?

Well, we’re not promising some disruptive revolution in the way people conference. There’s no keynote, but there are concurrent sessions where you will be recognized as a peer. It’s not an unconference, but the sessions are designed around the interests of the attendees that register. There are no big ceremonies, but there is an energetic conference dinner. It’s a busy couple of days, but meals are included and there are plenty of breaks in the schedule. With a little effort on your part you’re likely to meet all of the 150-or-so attendees.


Maybe I’ll just catch up with folks for a moment at some other bigger meeting…

It is common to hear IPSEC first-timers exclaim that they can’t believe this community exists, and that they’ve finally found others that share the things that fire them up most. The majority of people that attend once return again at some point, and those regulars are effusive about how the meeting reenergizes them. It seems there is something special about getting together live and in-person…wait…why does that sound familiar?


What are public science events anyway?

For more on this see the Science Live website.


Other than eat cheese,  what else should do while in Madison?

We’ve put together a completely random assortment of things to do in and around Madison.


Previous meetings of the International Public Science Events Conference:


Professional Announcements

Festivals Calendar