The daytime schedule of sessions for the 2017 International Public Science Events Conference (IPSEC).
Some post-conference notes and links have been added.
Monday, June 5
8:00 Doors open, breakfast served
9:00 – 10:00 The Evolving Public Science Events Landscape (Forum)
Since we met last June, world events have some in the US and UK claiming that we’ve undergone dramatic social, political, and cultural shifts. Is that reflected in public science events? Are audience behaviors and expectations different? Is scientist involvement altered? Is there a new emphasis on certain outcomes from science events? Consider our evolving landscape with the help of a panel format new enough to have only a working title: “Moderator Stage Right.”
Session Leaders: Julie Fooshee, Michelle Hall, Kishore Hari, Stephen Granade, Ivvet Modinou, Liz Neeley, Meisa Salaita, Ben Wiehe, and others TBA
10:15 – 11:45 Science Events Expo (Atrium)
Meet the whole conference as we all showcase our events and programs. Exhibitors switch at 11:00 to give everyone a chance to participate. Check conference handouts to make the most of this fast-paced session.
11:45 – 12:45 Lunch and Video Showcase (Forum)
Posted after conference: links to publicly available videos included in showcase
1:00 – 2:00
Potential Impacts of the March for Science (Forum)
The March for Science rallied large crowds, garnered widespread press, and sparked vigorous conversations about science communication. Join national and local March organizers, and social scientists that conducted research with audiences at the Washington DC March, for preliminary reflections on the potential impacts of this unique new form of science event.
Session Leaders: Adam Arcus, March for Science Chicago; Kishore Hari, March for Science; Michael Xenos, Department of Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison
One Brand to Rule Them All? (ERC Lobby)
One thing that keeps festivals from being just an assortment of disparate events is a unified—and funded—messaging and communications campaign. At the same time, festivals that embrace collaboration must give partners creative license and the chance to advance their own brands. Join an earnest exploration of how to strike the right balance, whether it is with individual programming partners or festival-to-festival alliances.
Session Leaders: Howard Rutherford, St. Petersburg Science Festival; Wes Marner, Wisconsin Science Festival
An Intro to Science Festivals (Orchard View)
For the first half of 2017, nine new science festival sites participated in the Science Festival Accelerator program. Meet up with all nine start-up festivals and the three established festivals that lead the Accelerator, to talk over the many different aspects of launching a festival or other large-scale event. Veterans and newcomers welcome!
Session Leaders: Kate Dickerson, Maine Science Festival; Bonnie Stevens, Flagstaff Festival of Science; Dave Wood, Indian River Lagoon Science Festival
2:15 – 3:15
Event Critique: Gastropod Live! (Forum)
Not only was Gastropod Live! gracious enough to shift their schedule around to perform in Madison on Sunday night, but they are courageous enough to expose themselves to an event critique on the day after here at IPSEC. Whether you made it to the show or not, enjoy seeing someone else in the hot seat while secretly wondering what your peers might say about your own events.
Session leaders: Hadley Andersen, Bishop Museum; Cynthia Graber, Gastropod; Robert “Mac” West, Informal Learning Experiences.
Scaling Up While Drilling Down (ERC Lobby)
Knowing who came is only the first step toward understanding the impact an event has. Learn how the Wisconsin Science Festival has partnered with social science researchers to take the next steps. Comparisons to statewide data are providing a picture of how representative attendees really are, survey work is beginning to illuminate what barriers there might be to attending, and events on controversial science topics are serving as a test bed for measuring the effects of engagement activity.
Session leaders: Laura Heisler, Wisconsin Science Festival; Emily Howell, University of Wisconsin; Anne Nardi, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Kate Rose, University of Wisconsin-Madison
The Other Sides of Sponsorship (Orchard View)
Events offer dynamic new ways for organizations to work with funders as collaborators. Hear directly from an involved corporate sponsor about the return on investment that they value from events, while considering how to leverage sponsorships into something more than a zero sum game for the institution hosting an event.
Session Leaders: Glenda La Rue, Charleston STEMFest; Jeffrey Stevenson, Google; Jo Withers, Morgridge Institute for Research
3:30 – 4:30
Artistic Collaboration and Participatory Experiences (Forum)
Art and science collaborations rely on the right components connecting in the right ways. Adding another layer of complexity, live event audiences are often looking for experiences they can also get involved in producing. Without being formulaic, how do you bring these pieces together into reliably successful moments for everyone involved?
Session Leaders: Claudia Bustos, Beakerhead; George Tzougros, Wisconsin Arts Board
Notes From the Institution (ERC Lobby)
Live events present an incredible degree of freedom for organizers: on any given day you can try out any wild idea on any topic for any audience. But there is a certain tension around fully exercising that freedom. Your organization might want to be edgy, but how far is it willing to go? It is common for an institution to value new audiences, but how do you reconcile that with the expectations of a public that already thinks it knows what you are?
Session Leaders: Gerri Trooskin, The Franklin Institute; Jenny Novotney, MIT Museum
When the Planets Align (Orchard View)
It’s already been a year of big science events, and there is more to come. For example, the total solar eclipse in August promises to be a memorable major event, especially for the 12 states and millions of people in its path. Local and national teams are preparing for the eclipse, and this session will explore both angles. Local teams will share their eclipse preparations with each other, while others discuss how to make the most out of nationally celebrated events.
Session leaders: Cyndi Hall, Charleston STEM Festival; Andrea Jones, NASA; Cass Runyon, South Carolina NASA Space Grant Consortium; Jobi Cook, North Carolina NASA Space Grant Consortium
4:45 – 5:30 Humanity Needs Dreamers: A Visit With Marie Curie (Forum)
What if you could meet Marie Curie? This groundbreaking living history film invites audiences inside the mind of one of the world’s most renowned scientists on her quest to isolate two new elements. Based on the acclaimed theatrical performance, Humanity Needs Dreamers captures the enduring allure of discovery while bringing science history to life. Grab a beverage from Steenbock’s and settle in for the 40-minute movie.
Session Leader: Jen Myronuk, STEM On Stage
6:00 – 10:00 Conference Dinner (Off site)
Tuesday, June 6
8:30 Doors open, breakfast served
9:30 – 10:30 Learning By Analogy: Live Events in Service to Politics (Forum)
Public events are an indispensable part of nearly every phase of politics, from direct voter engagement in small venues, to showcase events providing photo ops, to large campaign rallies. What kinds of outcomes are expected from events orchestrated for political purposes? What are the limits of those expectations? Where might the analogy to public science events be particularly apt?
Panelists: Kathy Cramer, Professor, Department of Political Science, Director of Morgridge Center for Public Service, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Aaron Huertas, Independent Consultant, Science Communication Media; Crystal Potts, Director of State Relations, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Dietram Scheufele, Professor of Science Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Moderator: John Durant, Director, MIT Museum
10:45 – 11:45
When Is Identity More Influential Than Knowledge? (Forum)
To work at all, live events must work as a social experience. To ensure that a social experience works requires an understanding of the kinds of people coming together. So public science events naturally sit at the nexus between identity and knowledge. Learn about the latest research into the interplay between social identity and scientific knowledge, drawing partly on the new National Academies report on “Communicating Science Effectively.”
Session leader: Dietram Scheufele, University of Wisconsin-Madison
We Aren’t For Everyone (Yet) (ERC Lobby)
There is nothing wrong with serving only one segment of the population, but generic science engagement often claims to be for everyone. Such messaging has the potential to be damaging when not really true, and can obscure the audiences that are not reached. Learn about processes currently being tested in the field in the UK to directly take on our assumptions about whom we serve with live events.
Session leader: Ivvet Modinou, British Science Association
Involving Policy Makers in Events (Orchard View)
Getting policymakers to stop by for a photo op is one thing. Getting them to actually hear your message is another. How do you leverage live events to engage with elected officials and staff? How do you find common ground with policymakers that do not appear to use scientific evidence in decision-making? Roll up your sleeves in this session and envision how you will go from scrambling for a politician’s appearance to a long-term strategy of building relationships and elevating your mission through advocacy.
Session Leader: Suzanne Ffolkes, Research!America
1:00 – 2:00
Evaluation in a Flash (Forum)
Evaluating public science events can be a challenge. This session will present a grab bag of evaluation tips, tricks, trials, tribulations, and results. Come learn what the field has to offer through a series of quick flash talks.
Session Leader: Katherine Nielsen, EvalFest
Stories, Pitches, and Gripes
The Discovery Building is filled with great spaces, and this conference is filled with great people with so much to say. Sounds like a match! Surrounding the Evaluation In a Flash session in the Forum will be three pop-up spaces, each dedicated to either stories from the field, pitches for new angles on science events, or good-natured, impassioned gripes. Every 20 minutes features a new speaker, so check conference handouts for specific listings. Check conference handouts for a map of locations.
1:00 Phyllis Newbill
1:20 Claudia Bustos
1:40 Bassam Shakhashiri
1:00 Marc Schulman
1:20 Rachel Bouton
1:40 Ben Lillie
1:00 Richard Gelderman
1:20 Tom Zinnen
1:40 Dane Comerford
2:15 – 3:15
Why bother? and What Happened? New Studies on Science Festivals (Forum)
This session will present the work from two new studies. The first explored the motivations that bring both event partners and attendees to science festivals. The second explored how families engage with Expo booths, with a particular focus on how young children engage with booth materials, scientists, and their families during these experiences. Results from each study will be presented, along with next steps for the field.
Session Leaders: Karen Peterman, EvalFest; Richard Toon, Arizona SciTech Festival; Alexis Ferguson and Theresa Burress, St Petersburg Science Festival
Something Old, Something New… (ERC Lobby)
…oh, it’s your audience. What happens when you have a core audience, but you kind of wish they were a little less dedicated? It’s nice to have your biggest fans in the room, but sometimes they make it uncomfortable for new voices to join the conversation. There is a tight rope that event organizers have to walk to keep those old voices happy while enticing new ones as well. How do you find out where that happy medium is: by rigorous evaluation or freewheeling gut instinct? Help two veteran event organizers out of this jam with a conversation about the struggle to bring balance to the force.
Session leaders: Stephen Granade, Dragon Con; Andrea Poet, Chicago Council on Science and Technology
Improv to Improve Science Communication (Orchard View)
Join this one-hour workshop to experience how improvisational theater techniques can help scientists communicate their work more effectively. Participants will play fun improv games designed to improve listening and communication skills. Group discussion will focus on how to apply the skills in various settings.
Session Leaders: Anne Lynn Gillian-Daniel, Interdisciplinary Education Group, University of Wisconsin-Madison
3:30 – 4:00 Conference Closing (Forum)
Reconvene with the entire conference to reflect quickly on the past two days, and celebrate announcements about the year ahead.