Travels of a Freelancer
Dear diary, welcome to my October.
My fellow freelance pal Dan Marrable who runs the social media training and consultancy company 448 Studio started writing little monthly summaries of what he’s been up to. They provide a great little insight into the world of the freelance consultant and I thought I’d jump on board with the concept.
So here it is, here is a whistle wind tour of last month.
Happy Freelance-a-versary to me
October marks two years since I boarded the good ship Freelance and set sail for uncharted waters. It’s been an extraordinary journey which has gone places and directions I never imagined but it’s been great for me and my work. Working with, but outside of, universities has strengthened my voice and offered me the opportunity to work across the public engagement sector.
I continue to have three main strands to what I do:
Science Communication: Writing or speaking about science
Researcher Development: Training researchers in engagement, evaluation and impact
Consultancy: Working with universities to construct their impact narratives
5 hours on stage
28 hours running workshops
45 hours on trains
75 hours consultancy
At the start of the month I got a little frustrated with stagnation in the engagement sector and the folk at Research Professional allowed me to share some of my thoughts which you can see here.
With the REF deadline looming just one year away, university pipelines are overflowing with impact case studies. This means a busy time for me as a consultant. I’ve been pouring over case studies for the past few months and writing prescriptions of how to gather the evidence required for that elusive four-star status. This is one of my favourite parts of my job, reviewing some of the most fantastic stories of change and helping researchers to evaluate and evidence their journey. Long live the REF!
Science on stage
It’s been a month of travel and I’ve had a great time getting up on stage and sharing some of my favourite science stories. My Sci Comm month kicked off with a sell out Chemistry late at Manchester’s Science and Industry Museum where I got to celebrate the Periodic Table. The rest of my Sci Comm month focussed on nanotech with shows in London, Leicester and Norwich.
It was a real honour to follow in the footsteps of Alice Roberts and Adam Rutherford by giving a keynote at Fisher Scientific’s Science World. I met a Selfie Robot and had a great time meeting some of the delegates.
Straight after Science World I zoomed straight over to New Scientist Live, a science festival on a truly industrial scale. The event takes over a huge hall in the ExCeL and packs it full of stalls and talks. Here I spoke on the most extraordinary stage that I’ve ever seen – The Space Shed
Still on the road my next stop was the fabulous Norwich Science Festival. It was my first time at this newer festival, but the festival packs a punch. Taking over a hub in the city centre with lots of drop in activities and talks spanning nine days.
A busy month spent on trains and in Premier Inns as I zoomed about helping researchers explore their talents. Some of the workshops I’ve run this month:
Short Talk, Lasting Impression at the University of Glasgow
Science on Screen, making sci comm videos at Sci Comm East
How to Finish your PhD on time (with Skillfluence) at the University of Strathclyde
Impact through Engagement (with Skillfluence) at King’s College London
Preparing Posters at the University of Glasgow
How to finish your PhD on time (with Skillfluence) at the University of Edinburgh
Presentations Skills at the University of Glasgow
I finished the month off in style at the Birmingham NEC for Destination Star Trek. No work for me here despite taking to the captain’s chair with my fabulous crew. One of the highlights was helping to organise a meeting of LGBTQ+ people to give Anthony Rapp a card on his birthday.
Well, that's a whole other story. Check out my events page for some of events you can see me at in November.