Branches Forum – 7th September Guilford Attendees Joanna Rooke Manager of Regional Programmes Natalie Broadhurst Regional Programmes Officer Dan Richards Regional Officer for the South of England Jo Harris Regional Officer for Wales and Northern Ireland Natalie Lane Regional Officer for the North of England Sandy Smith Regional Officer for Scotland Phil Brown Regional Officer for the East Midlands Audrey Matthews Leicestershire and Rutland Huw James South Wales Jim Brightwell Hampstead Scientific society Neasan O'Neill Central London John Brown Oxfordshire Roy Goldsmith Bedfordshire Elizabeth Scanlon Northumbria Brian Ratcliffe Aberdeen Lucy Chappell Thames Valley Eric Albone Bristol and Bath Colin Wilkinson Northumbria Geoff Parsons Nottinghamshire Audrey Matthews Leicestershire News and updates Welcome and news and updates were given by Joanna Rooke (JR) There have been a few changes to the regions and branches, we have implemented minimum requirements, quarterly reports to inform council reports and stopped issuing supporter lists. HQ will issue supporter newsletters from now on. New supporter newsletter format is almost ready and should be in use, hopefully, by the end of the month. Will be able to see who reads the articles, who delete straight away, what they read etc – should be able to provide some really useful information. Update: The new newsletter format has been delayed slightly; we are hoping to have them ready by November. So far, everyone seems to be fairly happy with these changes and we haven’t had any major problems. Natalie Broadhurst (NB) is putting together the schedule for quarterly reports in line with the Council meetings and will let Branches know ASAP. Update: Dates have been set and can be seen in the Branch members area of the website Feedback from council over the last meetings has been very positive and they are really happy to see the breadth of activity going on and the new people coming in. They understand that the summer is traditionally a quiet time and are looking forward to hearing about all of the events happening over the autumn period. NSEW Dates are 12 – 21 March and the theme is Earth. We’re currently in planning stages but are looking at developing a number of biodiversity related projects, competitions and features around biodiversity – in line with the International Year of Biodiversity. Would be great to see branches running events during the week along this theme to add weight and breadth to the programme – or if anyone has any good ideas for projects, please let me know. Information session – on Tuesday in Lecture Theatre A at 3pm. Will give a bit more information about the Week and it will be a chance to chat with other organisers. There is a full schedule of sessions across the country – if you are interested in attending a session in your area, please speak to your RO who will let you know where/when it will be. NSEW officer, Jenny Beard, has now unfortunately left us and we will making an announcement about her replacement shortly once the details have been finalised. Update: Dan Richards has now been appointed as the National Science and Engineering Week Officer and is now in post. Dan was previously the RO for the south of England, a new RO will be appointed in December. Scottish Government Money We have been successful in a grant application from the Scottish Government for running a Scottish Branches Forum, a series of Sci-Screen events and a series of remote and rural events – being run by Scottish Branches. They only provide 75% of costs so trying to fundraise for the remaining 25%. We will have to look more closely at evaluation for the future to be able to support these applications. Or Branches will have to support these costs. Changes in Strategic Grant Schedule There used to be a strategic grant round in Feb and August and an NSEW grant in January. The schedule has now been moved to: Strategic grants – April and August. NSEW grants – December. (14th December) We will have to look at the strategic grants and also at local fundraising a bit more closely as there is much more competition for a very small pot of money – not really sustainable. Sciencelive We are trying to promote Sciencelive in advance of NSEW – please encourage your speakers or experts to register online at www.sciencelive.net Branch budgets – October 12th 2009 The Finance team have asked to receive outline budgets from the branches by the 12th October – just need a general outline – how will your activity compare to last year? Do you anticipate any new sources of funding? Film information After the last branches forum – the regional team said they would put together some information for branches on the use of film in their events. We’ve nearly done this but still need to add some information – will pass this on once it is completed. Institute of Physics' Public Engagement Grant Scheme 2010 Deadline 6th November – Central London Branch were successful in securing this in the last round if you need any advice. Thames Valley: “we-create” events Lucy Chappell (LC) the chair of the Thames Valley Branch gave a talk on a series of “we- create” events that the branch will soon be running. The aim of we create is to bring local people and communities closer to science. The branch are working with RISC (Reading International Solidarity Centre) on these events. RISC works with schools, community organisations and the public; raising the profile of international issues and promoting action for sustainable development, equality and social justice www.risc.org.uk. They chose to work with RISC for a number of reasons; they are a community-involved organisation, engaged with fuller spectrum of community than the branch have easy access to, they are trusted, established, have funding – willing to support activities and are really nice people. The branch have also previously worked with RISC on joint events: sciSCREEN in the Global Café and Bee Adventures family fun day on the Roof Garden. Due to the success of previous events RISC felt potential of working together. They were also interested in the art-science mix and interested in longer-term projects rather than one-off events. The branch wanted to access areas of the community which they would not normally attract – “the not yet interested”, to share science in a non-exclusive and not traditional and unconventional way. They were also intrigued by the potential of a cross over between science and art and also didn’t want to put people off by labeling it as a science event. Each event is designed for a targeted group within the community – this enables them to design events for groups which they would normally not be able to access (e.g. older Asian community). Different media will be used for each event, making sure it is appropriate for each group. The events will be in familiar non-threatening places and free. Event example: we create: DIY futures If you were to design a town from scratch what would it look like? Groups of people will work together with a facilitator. Brief - town needs to be sustainable and a pleasant place to live; giving particular thought to innovative energy, housing and transport. Facilitator introduces these topics and helps group to start thinking about the issues behind them (e.g. wind turbine pros and cons – how might we design them better in the future?). Group creates their town using a range of artistic materials to represent it. Part of the Reading International Festival. RISC want to use DIY Futures to rollout as part of an activity for schools we create: Reflections A group of older adults (in this instance from the Asian community) thinking about how innovation and new knowledge has changed their lives and the way they live over a lifetime, reflecting back on ‘then’ and considering ‘now’. Younger volunteers will also work with the participants to help to draw and paint (to represent) these reflections. Action: Regional team to put together information on event evaluation for branches to be posted on website. Structured Networking Branch members working in groups discussed the following: • Future event across the branches – brainstorm and plan • Branch Communications – How does your branch communicate outside of meetings? Is there a need for your branch to talk to other branches to exchange ideas and advice? If so, which methods of communication would you use? Ning, Google Group, Email list, Facebook etc... • Health and Safety – Risk Assessments. As part of the new minimum requirements for branches, branches are required to adhere to all health and safety guidelines and undertake risk assessments of their events. Discuss your current processes for dealing with health and safety... Feedback: Future event across the branches: To do a biodiversity jigsaw with each branch contributing part of the jigsaw. The jigsaw would be made up by different branches holding events and the idea would be that that they all come together for a large event during NSEW. Other ideas were to use more unusual venues and to do outside activities. Branch Communications: Most branches communicate with each other via email. The ning site is not really working and branch members are not really keen to use it. Members from different branches do want to communicate with each other. An email distribution list was suggested as the best solution. Action: The regional team will create an email distribution list for all branch members. Health and Safety – Risk Assessments: Branches are confused about risk assessment, some do it and others don’t. They would like more information on how to carry out a risk assessment and some examples. Action: The regional team will put more information on risk assessment on the website including some examples and guidelines. Training Session – Evaluation Emily Dawson (ED) from Kings College gave a talk on evaluation and the different ways which this can be done. She started by having a discussion with the group about the types of evaluation they used at their events. ED then talked through the different ways of collecting data and ways that you can improve the process. As most people use questionnaire style evaluation forms ED focussed on these, she talked about who is filling in these forms and the best time to get people to fill them in. ED also spoke about what the questions used in questionnaires and ethics involved in this, thinking about what people will actually fill in. It can be useful to use a combination of the different evaluation tools available at your events. Branch members were then divided into groups and given different types of evaluation form to look at and discuss. Action: The regional team will put more information on the website about evaluation and the different methods of carrying it out including some examples and guidelines.
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