The ABSW Annual General Meeting and social will take place on Thursday 7 April 18:30 for 19:00 start upstairs at The Lamb, 94 Lamb's Conduit St, London, WC1N 3LZ. In accordance with the ABSW Standing Orders the Agenda is published here three weeks in advance of the meeting.
ABSW AGM AGENDA
Date and time: Thu 7 April 2016 18:30 for 19:00 start
Venue: The Lamb, 94 Lamb's Conduit St, London, WC1N 3LZ (upstairs room and bar)
Drinks and buffet provided
Invited: All ABSW members
NB: Only full and life members may vote. Quorum for the meeting is 10 voting members
1 Apologies for Absence
2 Minutes of the Last ABSW AGM held on 26 March 2015
3 Matters Arising
4 President’s Report
5 Treasurer’s Report
6 Auditors’ Report
Pete Wrobel/Michael Kenward
7 Proposed Amendments to the ABSW Standing Orders
After consultation with ABSW members the Executive Board is proposing the following changes to the ABSW Standing Orders to simplify disciplinary procedures and remove the role of honorary president.
Delete all existing text in Standing Order 16 and replace with:
16 Disciplinary Procedure
At its sole discretion, the board may, by a simple majority vote, expel any member whose behaviour has in its opinion brought the ABSW into serious disrepute; it will account to the next AGM for its action. The decision will be duly recorded in the Executive Board and AGM Minutes. Any member so expelled will have the right to appeal the decision at the next AGM.
Amendments to remove post of honorary president
Amend standing order 2:
2. ABSW members entitled to vote are Life Members, and Full Members who have paid the correct subscription within the previous 18 months, and the Honorary President. Student, Associate and Corporate members may not vote.
Amend standing order 9:
9. The ABSW will have the following categories of member. All new members must be approved by the Executive Board.
The AGM shall appoint a President of the Association, who will hold office for a period of three years. The Honorary President can be re-appointed for further terms of three years.
The rest of this standing order remains
Amend standing order 10:
10. The subscription for each category of membership shall be determined annually by the Executive Board. The Board has the power to waive subscriptions. The Honorary President and Life Members will not pay a subscription.
Action: The AGM are asked to approve these amendments to the standing orders.
8 Election of Executive Board
All posts on the Executive Board are elected annually at the AGM. This is the third year in which the Board has run its election process on line. In accordance with the Standing Orders nominations opened on 25 January 2016 and closed on 22 February 2016. The following individuals stood for election:
Martin Ince – President
Mico Tatalovic – Vice President
Connie St Louis – European Representative
Aisling Irwin - Secretary
Wendy Grossman/Katharine Sanderson/Victoria Parsons/Jack Serle/Lou del Bello/Cristina Gallardo/Emma Stoye – general post on the Board (7 maximum available)
There are therefore no contested posts and no candidates for Treasurer. There is no specific guidance in the Standing Orders on procedure where posts are not contested or no nominations received. The Executive Board agreed the following procedure and this was approved by the appointed election tellers (Andy Coughlan/John Bonner)
Details of the nominations were placed on the ABSW website in mid-March and the AGM is now asked to ratify these individuals to comprise the new Executive Board. At the first meeting of the new Executive Board after this AGM the Board will consider co-opting individuals to cover vacant posts
The ABSW would like to express its thanks to Victoria Parsons for her previous work as Treasurer and to retiring Executive Board members Beki Hill – particularly for her role in organizing ABSW Events, and Joshua Howgego – particularly for his liaison work with the Ugandan Science Journalists’ Association with whom the ABSW is twinned.
9 Election of Auditors
The AGM are asked to elect two auditors for 2016 (auditors may not be members of the Executive Board). Pete Wrobel and Michael Kenward acted as auditors in 2015 and have both indicated they can act in this role for a further year, however the posts are open to any full member of the ABSW.
Action: Ask if any members wish to stand as auditor for 2016, take a vote to decide who should be appointed to this role
10 Appointment of Life Members
The ABSW Board has no nominations for Life Members in 2016
11 Date of Next AGM
12 Any Other Business
The following nominations have been received for the ABSW Executive Board Elections 2016. None of the posts are contested so the nominations will all be taken to the AGM (Thursday 7 April ) for approval. Full details of the ABSW's annual election process can be found on our website.
Martin Ince (currently ABSW President - seeking re-election)
I would very much like your support to take on my third and last full year as President. The ABSW has just completed the most extraordinary year of its existence, and has been subject to pressures far beyond those it is reasonable to place on a small organisation of this kind. I shall report fully on this sequence of events to the AGM. But despite these issues, we have succeeded in growing the association and in developing new activities such as Summer School, held for the first time during 2015. We have launched the European Science Journalist of the Year award, and will run it again as part of a steady process of enhancing our awards as a way of recognising great science writing. In addition, we have continued our joint working with the Ugandan Science Journalists' Association in ways that have benefited both organisations. In the coming year our European commitments will come to the fore with the arrival of ESOF in Manchester in July. Alongside this event, we are running the European Conference of Science Journalists, a joint venture with the European Union of Science Journalists' Associations. It's on July 23. As well as being an important meeting on the European stage, it will be the first major ABSW event to be held outside London. The message, I think, is that the current ABSW board is an effective, innovative and successful one. I'd very much like to continue to serve you all as president, in the hope that this record of shared achievement can be developed yet further. * In my working life as a writer and commentator on science and higher education, I am just starting work on Drift, a book on Earth history. So consider your Christmas present problems solved for 2017.
Nominated by Wendy Barnaby & Aisling Irwin
Mico Tatalovic (currently ABSW Vice-President - seeking re-election)
I have been on the ABSW committee for a few years now, most recently as vice-president, a role I would like to stay in for another year. It’s an exciting time. We are organising a growing number of events and awards, and our international standing is also on the rise. We’ve started a very popular summer school which we hope to continue as a regular event. I played a key role in initiating and organising that school, and pushing for it to become a regular event. I have also helped set up an online mentorship programme for our student/early career members. Our next UKCSJ is going to be in Manchester to coincide with ESOF, a major European science event. As such the UKCSJ is extending its reach to become a European Conference for Science Journalists, where we hope to exchange experiences and skills with our colleagues from across Europe. I am now busy working with the programme committee to make the sessions as relevant and exciting as possible. It promises to be the best ECSJ so far. We have also launched a new award for the Best European Science Writer of the Year, which we hope to continue. Both of these show our growing role on the international stage and as EUSJA is going through reforms and a new body EFSJ starts to take shape, we will no doubt be in a position to influence and improve the state of science writing not just in the UK, but also in Europe. I hope to enable ABSW to get the most out of such involvement, and out of its twinned association in Uganda. Indeed, I have helped keep on the agenda our role in twinning with USJA and how we can ensure that twinning benefits all parties. Another thing to do in the coming year will be to finally redesign our controversial logo, which seems to be disliked by many. So, if I get reelected, I hope to help organise the best UKSCJ so far; work towards an even better summer school for next year; push for the best possible deal with our membership in the two Europe-wide science journalism bodies; help keep improving our regular events – along the lines of the one we held in September on ‘New science journalism – reporting beyond the traditional media’; and get more support for investigative science journalism.
Nominated by Martin Ince & Wendy Grossman
As stated in our previous post we have accepted with regret Sir Colin Blakemore’s resignation as honorary president of the ABSW, with thanks for his support and assistance over the years.
A statement from the honorary president was requested by the ABSW board.
In the light of the Observer article of October 11, the board of the ABSW wishes to point out that the Association’s Standing Order 16 (published on this web site under About Us, Memorandum, Articles and Standing Orders) sets out the procedure for making a complaint about a member of the ABSW. It has not received the notification needed to start a case under this process, which involves a formal complaint in writing, but will of course act upon any such complaint it may receive.
The Dr Katharine Giles Fund aims to improve scientists’ media skills, encouraging scientists to speak to journalists and in so doing improve science reporting within the UK.
Dr Katharine Giles
Dr Katharine Giles was a NERC Research Fellow and Lecturer working at the Centre for Polar Observation and Measurement (CPOM) at UCL. Her research, until her death in an accident in 2013, led to a greater understanding of the complex interactions between sea ice cover, wind patterns and ocean circulation.
Katharine was passionate about her research and about communicating science to the public, particularly to young people. She was a co-author and presenter of the 2006 IEE Faraday Lecture “Emission Impossible – Can Technology Save the Planet” and she had the benefit of media training early in her research career as part of the Faraday Lecture preparation. It is appropriate that the fund set up in her name should help other scientists communicate their science to the public by improving their skills through good quality training.
How this Works
The ABSW Awards run annually with a number of different categories. Mostly the applicants and winners of awards are journalists; however, two particular categories do attract scientists as entrants and potential winners:
•The Dr Katharine Giles Science blog award also supported by the Dr Katharine Giles Fund
•Best student science journalist
The Dr Katharine Giles Fund will enable the winners of these awards to undertake a one day media skills training course run by the Royal Society. The fund will only be available for scientists who are not professional journalists, if the winner of either category is a professional journalist or writer then the fund will be offered to runners-up who meet the criteria.
Winners of the awards will be contacted in order to make arrangements for them to undertake the media skills course run by the Royal Society. There is no obligation for winners to undertake the course.
Of the media training 2018 winner, Katie Ember says:
I've been to numerous communication workshops and thought this would be similar but the Royal Society Media Skills Day was outstanding and exceptionally well run. The organisers managed to pack a lot into the day, including giving everyone the chance to have hands-on experience with presenting in a TV and radio setting. All of the sessions, including talks by Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock and Victoria Pritchard, were inspiring, motivational and thought-provoking. I wish all scientists were able to have this experience, especially these days when public engagement is becoming ever more critical. It has has given me much more confidence about communicating my research to all audiences: not just to the general public, but to my supervisors and co-workers in lab meetings. I am extremely grateful to the Katherine Giles Fund for making this possible - I wouldn't have been able to go otherwise and all my future presentations will benefit from what I've learned at the RS!
Former winner Matthew Warren says:
It was great to hear first-hand from a scientist (Maggie Aderin-Pocock) about how she became involved in the media and the strategies she uses. We performed a task in small groups where we had to explain our research to each other and write a press release about it - a great way to get thinking about how to clearly and succinctly explain scientific research.
After this we had a session run by the actress Victoria Pritchard, on voice and presentation skills. This is an element of communication you don't often learn about as a scientist, and in a short session I was definitely aware of having learned a lot about how to present myself in media interviews.
In the afternoon we practiced interviews in front of the camera and on the radio. This was the part that I was a little nervous about, but in the end I gained a lot from it - and actually quite enjoyed it! Maggie and Victoria stayed right through to the end - you don't often have the opportunity to get feedback on your performance from prominent media personalities.
So all in all, it was a great day and I gained a lot out of it. I wouldn't have been there without the Dr Katharine Giles Fund and the ABSW, so thank you all very much for the support. It is fantastic that there are these opportunities for science communicators - and I think it is especially encouraging for students, who (and I'm speaking from experience) can gain a lot from the awards and events that you put on when just starting off in their careers!
We have accepted with regret Sir Colin Blakemore’s resignation as honorary president of the ABSW, with thanks for his support and assistance over the years. He has made it clear that he disagrees irreconcilably with the statement we issued in June about media attacks on our former president, Connie St Louis.
As anyone looking at this web site knows already, this relates to her reporting of remarks to the Korea Federation of Women’s Science and Technology Associations by Sir Tim Hunt at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Seoul on June 8. Sir Tim has not disputed the accuracy of St Louis’s reporting and has apologised to the Federation for his comments. Sir Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society, is on record as saying that Sir Tim’s comments were unacceptable.
The World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ) of which the ABSW is a member has published their September Newsletter.
The WFSJ website has recently undergone a complete re-vamp so drop by to see all the resources and news available.