It seems that conferences always push me to write a post. I’m curious how to bottle that inspiration for the future.
I’ve had the pleasure of volunteering on a conference planning committee for local museum educators. I love it, but it is a lot of work.
Emotional work. As a very empathetic person a conference can be very challenging, and as an organizer I feel that each attendee is a friend I want to make sure enjoys themselves.
This year our theme centred around change and space making. It’s one of my favourite topics and naively, I thought making space for this conference to happen was enough.
It wasn’t. I wasn’t prepared to also engage in the change making the whole day. I did a disservice to myself and my community. This doesn’t negate the things that went amazingly well, but I know I can do better.
I didn’t introduce myself to new people nearly enough. I was focused too inwardly.
I only snuck into one session, one on diversity. I sunk back. I didn’t speak up when white voices were centred. The silence of a room weighed heavy and pushed work onto POC. I didn’t even notice a slur was used. The immediacy of my response was missing and I am frustrated with myself.
I will do better because I expect it. I am capable of it. I am responsible enough to speak up.
Why is this relevant on a science communication blog? We need to do more work. I was not alone in that room. How many people just won’t come back? How many go home feeling betrayed? How many continue bad behaviour? Where will those ripples end?
Don’t worry, this will be a big conversation, and a wave is coming.