Climate scientists are often turned to for ‘The Answers’ where, in fairness, their expertise is more likely to have been in identifying ‘The Questions’. Solutions to complex environmental issues can only come about through genuine engagement between scientists and a wide range of people across society: with educators, artists, writers, thinkers of all disciplines, political advisers, business leaders, and all global citizens. I enjoy using my experience in both science and communication, and skills in facilitation and coordination, to help bridge the perceived divide between science and society and to kick-start some critical conversations.
After completing a PhD at the Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry, York University, Canada (1997 -2002), I spent seven years working for the British Antarctic Survey. The first four of these were spent as a research scientist, including three summers and an over-winter at Halley Research Station, Antarctica. Stories from that time can be found here.
In 2006 I changed career direction, working in the International Programme Office of the International Polar Year 2007-8 as Education & Outreach Coordinator. This involved development of programmes with teachers, museums, artists, musicians, policy makers, indigenous communities and many more … from over 60 countries. I also worked very closely with international scientists from disciplines ranging from linguistics and anthropology to space physics and geology. The job required considerable travel and public speaking in order to raise awareness and engage volunteers and professional networks worldwide.
Since arriving in New Zealand in 2010, I have been engaged in a range of polar outreach and science communication projects with Victoria University of Wellington, Antarctica New Zealand, Our Far South, and New Zealand IceFest as well as working as a scientific editor for Cambridge Language Consultants. I now have a permanent position as a senior lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington, where I work as part of the Science in Context group, and Climate Change Research Institute. I teach a range of (predominantly on-line) courses that explore the connection between science and society, and have developed a research programme in scientist-centred outreach.
I am interested in facilitating direct connections between science/scientists and the public, with the suspicion that information and passion is lost with every degree of separation.
Selected Examples of Public Outreach
Online Media: Blogs, videos, educational resources, & community building for the Our Far South Antarctic expedition, February – March 2012.
Video: Cape Farewell, a cultural response to climate change. Andes Expedition 2009 (second video in set)
Promotional Video: Association of Polar Early Career Scientists
Lecturing: Professor Harry Messel International Science School 2007: EcoScience; University of Sydney, Australia. Opening lecture (audio & video) and associated book chapter