Crying while presenting: An exercise in connection

This year has been a very interesting one. I have had the incredible privilege of travelling, camping, and attending a few conferences through work and vacations this year. I have met incredible people and have had the pleasure of being invited to speak.

In the past week, I attended the British Columbia Museum Association conference. It was excellent. We discussed change, repatriation, First Nations people, language and more. I was invited with my colleagues to talk about environmental education and inclusivity in volunteer programs. This thanksgiving weekend I feel totally thankful for the opportunity to share my thoughts.

But there was a bit of a cloud. During my presentation, my emotions broke through my skin. I cried. My colleagues jumped up to help me but I pushed through and explained what was happening. I got through but I haven’t yet unpacked what happened to me. Crying while giving a presentation to your peers is not easy.

My emotions have always sat directly under my skin. I have very little ability to stop an emotion from entering a situation. I have lived with depression and anxiety and it is tough. It is tough as a science minded lady to be scared of your own feelings. It is tough to know your irrational fears and misguided emotion can affect every part of you.

In this conference, we dealt with very real issues. I met wonderful people who resonate with me. I felt the feelings of many situations that I had the pleasure of hearing. So, when it was my turn to speak, it was hard to hide how frustrated I’ve been with feeling unsupported. I cried at thinking how people are dismissed because we don’t think they are competent enough to help us. I am devastated at the state of the world and how defeated we all feel.

I cried.

But it was worth it. Sometimes I forget that our emotions resonate with others. Two wonderful humans shared their equally emotional stories with me.

I still cry. I will always cry. I will always be willing to let my emotions push through my skin.

Though this does not fit into my usual science communication posts, I think it is important. Don’t filter your feelings. Emotion is what connects us. Even though I know that I feel emotions disproportionately to the situation, I still will enjoy that I feel. And I am happy to share, and to be shared with.


Just a few sleeps until MuseumCamp!

I had a very meaningful experience in the Royal Tyrell Museum as a child. I had the good fortune of getting to sleep in the exhibits, under the Pleisiosaur if I remember correctly. This solidified my love of museums, dead things, and being a full-on weirdo. I couldn’t find a photo of that experience, so please enjoy this photo of my and my cousins in a geological formation in Dinosaur Provincial Park (right near the Tyrell).

Well I am very excited to report that I have the good fortune to attend MuseumCamp in California starting on Wednesday. I am bracing for a challenging, exciting, friend-making, and inspiring few days of projects and sleeping on a museum floor (again!). For the past few years, I’ve been really inspired by Nina Simon, the powerhouse in charge of MuseumCamp and Santa Cruz MAH. Her writing has helped me think critically about what a museum can do for people, how I can better facilitate changes, and keep momentum pushing forward.

The theme this year’s camp is Changemakers. I’m going to spend some time thinking about what change means in a science context. Does this mean changing at our organization? How we run our museum? Inspiring others to make changes? Changing perceptions around what it means to be a scientist? Change is something I am extremely passionate about. I get antsy when things are the same for too long. I am a constant questioner. Just because we’ve done something forever isn’t a good enough reason to keep doing it.

I feel like this experience will give me more questions than answers, but I look forward to it.

How do you facilitate, make space for, or create change where you are?

Nerd Nite!

Hi all. I just want to say how proud I am of myself for having a super successful Nerd Nite talk on Tuesday. I am going to toot my own horn. It was great. People were engaged. People asked thoughtful questions. And, I got applause from answering those questions thoughtfully. I am so pleased.

As I wrote before, I really forced myself to go through a clear, detailed planning process. It paid off. I promise you that the work is worth it. Starting from scratch, even if you’ve done it before, is fully worth it.

I wanted to share my slide deck (pdf). It makes no sense without me talking over it, however, I would be happy to talk you through it. I’m also proud of how beautiful it is. Mega credits to my incomparable Beaty Museum team for the photos, which are available to all through a creative commons license.


If anyone knows how to embed a pdf or google slides directly in wordpress, it would be much appreciated.