Applause...

 

Ben Johnson
Graphic Science

Part of The Training Group - Supporting public engagement in the research community

( +44 (0) 1275 47 44 44
È +44 (0) 7521 690 724
› [log in to unmask]
: www.graphicscience.co.uk
Disclaimer: The author of this email never meant a word of it.

do you really need to print this email?

 

From: psci-com: on public engagement with science [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Katherine Mathieson
Sent: 05 September 2018 14:14
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [PSCI-COM] Volunteers and science festivals

 

Hi all

 

I’ve been following the conversation about volunteers and science festivals with interest because I recognise the competing pressures of wanting to deliver good quality live events on modest budgets and give enthusiastic science communicators opportunities to build up their experience, while also recognising that unpaid internships/work experience act as a barrier to social mobility, social justice and improving diversity in the science engagement sector. I doubt there is a single model that will work for everyone, but I’m happy to share the British Science Association’s (BSA) current approach as MK suggested, in case it’s useful to you or in case you can suggest further improvements we could make.

 

At the British Science Festival, we rely on the skills and enthusiasm of around 25 “Festival Assistants”. Roles vary but typically they work for five or so days on-site. They work to a schedule we give them and are welcome to attend public events outside their working hours. All of them are paid – either at or above the living wage. We advertise all these roles externally via our website.

 

Until about five or six years ago, at least some of these roles were available as volunteer roles – we would offer to pay for travel and accommodation in lieu of a wage, and this option was usually more attractive (and had higher financial value) for people who lived a long way from the Festival’s host city. As I recall, this option was wound down because of guidance from HMRC that the same role cannot be offered as either paid or volunteer (and I can see the point of that guidance). It also helps the Festival to contribute to the local economy.

 

I believe, based on feedback from the Assistants themselves, that the British Science Festival’s Assistant roles provide useful experience of our sector and that they are enjoyable. But they are business critical roles for us, with a fixed schedule of work and compulsory (paid) training – and therefore we believe they should be paid. There are many people working in the science engagement sector now (including at the BSA) who have worked or volunteered as Festival Assistants in the past and they may have a useful perspective to add here.

 

However, at the BSA, we do recognise the value of volunteers. Our Branch volunteers organise public science events that reach hundreds of thousands of people every year, across the UK. Our Section volunteers help prepare Festival talks and other events on cutting edge research. These people are volunteers; they have much more control over when and how they engage with us, and much more autonomy over (for example) the content and format of the events. Many of our volunteers are volunteering as part of their professional commitment to public engagement, though we also have many volunteers who are students, retired or otherwise volunteering in their own time.

 

We also occasionally host people who are doing work experience as part of a recognised academic or educational programme. For example, we host a few one-week work experiences for teenagers each year as part of a Social Mobility Foundation programme, and we host people doing projects as part of funded PhDs.

 

Please bear in mind that I’m not a specialist in HR practice or employment law. I hope this insight is useful to you. Feedback is very welcome – I’m at [log in to unmask]

 

Thanks

K

 

 

Katherine Mathieson

Chief Executive

British Science Association

165 Queens Gate, London, SW7 5HD

www.britishscienceassociation.org

@BritSciAssoc | @Kath_Math

 

 

********************************************************************** psci-com how-to: Once subscribed, send emails for the list to [log in to unmask] If not subscribed, either subscribe here https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?A0=psci-com or send requests for items to be posted on your behalf to [log in to unmask] To unsubscribe (or silence messages while away) send an email (any subject) to [log in to unmask] with one of the following messages (ignoring text in brackets) • signoff psci-com (to leave the list) • set psci-com nomail (to stop receiving messages while on holiday) • set psci-com mail (to resume getting messages) Contact list owner at [log in to unmask] Small print and JISCMail acceptable use policy https://sites.google.com/site/pscicomjiscmail/the-small-print Contact Jisc Helpline: Email: [log in to unmask], Telephone: 0300 300 2212 **********************************************************************

********************************************************************** psci-com how-to: Once subscribed, send emails for the list to [log in to unmask] If not subscribed, either subscribe here https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?A0=psci-com or send requests for items to be posted on your behalf to [log in to unmask] To unsubscribe (or silence messages while away) send an email (any subject) to [log in to unmask] with one of the following messages (ignoring text in brackets) • signoff psci-com (to leave the list) • set psci-com nomail (to stop receiving messages while on holiday) • set psci-com mail (to resume getting messages) Contact list owner at [log in to unmask] Small print and JISCMail acceptable use policy https://sites.google.com/site/pscicomjiscmail/the-small-print Contact Jisc Helpline: Email: [log in to unmask], Telephone: 0300 300 2212 **********************************************************************