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[Day3: Creating & Sustaining Spaces of Practice]
Q: Have you created or been part of initiatives for #Science #STEM #STEAM #SciComm practice? Are you considering creating one yourself?

Today we'll discuss "safe spaces to fail" and scaffolded experiences to build up your skills!
Why do I care?
As a former academic & now in my work to spread adaptable skills in #scicomm through #comedy, it strikes me how little prep we get to teach or give strategic talks as we make the shift from undergrad to grad levels

How many bad habits do we accumulate b/c of this?
What are some bad communication habits in #Science #STEM you've seen, experienced, or are still working to overcome?

Here's where I used to struggle:
- preparing talks the night before
- going over time
- imagining the audience wasn't even there
- bad PPTs
Another recognizable bad habit dynamic in peer #Science #STEM communications:

Moderator: We'll now take questions.
Q: This is more of a comment than a question...
Everyone: eyerolls, too polite to say anything
Next panel/speaker: starts 15m late

Bad habits affect all parties.
[HOW TO create safe #SciComm spaces of practice]

A few ways to get started:
[a] small group meetups w/ trusted friends
[b] institutionally-supported meetups
[c] joining external spaces of practice like @caveatnyc's #ScratchPaper #OpenMic w/c I co-run

What might work for you?
It might be easier to start if you have top-down resources to use.

For ex, @CUPostdocs wanted to start a #SciComm club. So they invited me & 2 other professionals to give 1-off masterclasses/#BestPractices talks. They then setup a purpose-driven meetups to practice their skills!
Sometimes you have to show the benefit before getting buy-in.

This yr, I guest-hosted @CSHL_WISE's 2nd annual #storytelling #OpenMic spotlighting #ScienceFails all researchers experience. To set the tone, senior researchers kicked it off + groundrules dealt w/ power imbalances.
Knowing your group's needs means you can also provide baby-steps to get them to their personal/professional goals.

Pre-#ScratchPaper & @AcademicStandUp, I'll host #SciComm writing sessions where we discuss goals, do writing exercises, & give each other ACTIONABLE notes.
Some commonalities that help make #SciComm Practice Groups successful:

- SMART Objectives for each meetup
- Clear WHAT&WHY for participants in the space
- Lowered barrier to entry (location, fees, time)
- Community groundrules to keep a balance of power
- Clear event structure
[HOW TO sustain a space of #SciComm practice]
Have you seen it work longterm?
We can agree that these consistent spaces & opportunities are needed. HOWEVER, typical barriers to making it work longterm are:

- lack of funds
- lack of community or top-down buy-in
- other priorities
If you have a specific question around sustaining a space of #SciComm practice, please add it to this thread!

#SciOut #SciEngage #SciArt #SciEd #outreach #publicengagement
Lessons from @AcademicStandUp, #ScratchPaper #OpenMic, & advice I received from @steve_x & @mwasowski for folks w/ little to no resources sustaining a #SciComm group:

GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO GROW. For ex, a few months to 2 yrs allows you to learn from fluctuations in participation
Treat your #SciComm practice group like a #scientificstudy. Strategize by mapping it onto a marketing funnel to:

- building awareness
- list barriers to entry
- who'd benefit & how
- how to spread the word
- why they should come back
- why would they invite someone to join
A consistent error I see in #STEM & not just in sustaining a #SciComm practice group is assuming your target participants know why they should be in this space w/ you.


How else to get #SciComm practice momentum going?

Issue little purpose-driven challenges. This is particularly popular in #bujo #creativewriting #art circles (e.g, #nanowrimo etc).

Here's a VERY SILLY imperfect, lightly NSFW thing I did for #PechaKucha.
For this challenge, I just wanted to test out getting over the #burdenofknowledge by having a slideshow play automatically over 4mins.

Academics HAVE to keep going or else we run out of time.
It also helps move #stagefright attention away from the self & into task-mode.
My bizzaro flash-slideshow about Scientific representation in the media will NOT work for everyone's #SciComm practice needs or the spaces they want to communicate in.

But if you have a goal & painpoint your community shares, why not make a fun, silly challenge to gain interest?
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