Travels of a Freelancer

Updated: Dec 1, 2019

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.

An October filled with travel

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

The stats

5 hours on stage

11 locations

28 hours running workshops

45 hours on trains

75 hours consultancy


ICYMI

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.

Refereeing REF

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!


@PenguinKate91 caught this photo of me on stage at Chemistry Lates

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.


Giving a keynote on nanotechnology at Science World

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.







The Science Shed at New Scientist Live

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.


What makes a perfect poster? University of Glasgow students decide.

Training

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


Trekking

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.

Me and my crew: @PeterGray117 @martin_costello @Chris_Ince @DrCarpineti @timleng

What's next?

Well, that's a whole other story. Check out my events page for some of events you can see me at in November.

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