NatSCA Digital Digest – January

Compiled by Jennifer Gallichan, Curator of Molluscs & Vertebrates at National Museum Cardiff.

Welcome to the January edition of Digital Digest and a Happy New Year to you all.

I am dedicating this first Digital Digest to conferences, as calls for papers seem to be coming thick and fast. There are some fab events this year so get planning, submitting and registering.

NatSCA Conference & AGM 2020 .

Changing the World: Environmental Breakdown, Decolonisation and Natural Science collections

Thursday 14th & Friday 15th May 2020. National Museum Wales, Cardiff.

The #NatSCA2020 conference invites proposals for presentations exploring the role of natural science collections in addressing or engaging with ‘big issue’ challenges, both in the environment and in society. For example:

  • Have you been involved in a research project using natural science collections to inform decision/policy makers on the implications of climate change, biodiversity loss or biosecurity threats?
  • Are you developing plans to reconceptualise and decolonise your collections?

We would like to hear from anyone and everyone who uses natural science collections to interact with important global topics.

Deadline for submission: 7th February. Click here for more info about how to submit your abstract.

Society for the History of Natural History

Pioneer Naturalists: Champions of Conservation and Environmental Engagement

Museum of Zoology, University of Cambridge. 25th & 26th June 2020.

This two-day international meeting will explore the history and role of naturalists (and others) as pioneers in biological, geological and landscape conservation, protection, environmental advocacy and engagement in its broadest sense. Short abstracts and brief biographies (maximum 200 words) for 20 minute papers should be sent to the SHNH Meetings Secretary, Jo Hatton: by 14th February. Poster submissions are also welcome at this stage.

More information about this event can be found here.


The Role of Natural History Collections in Global Challenges

Edinburgh, 7-13th June 2020.

The Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC) and the International Council of Museums Committee for Museums and Collections of Natural History (ICOM NATHIST) will be jointly hosting this years conference. The main venue will be the McEwan Hall in the centre of Edinburgh, with evening events held within NMS (National Museums Scotland) and RGBE (Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh)

The abstract submission system is now open, deadline 14th February. Please click here for the full list of symposia themes. Registration is also now open, early bird deadline is the 24th April. There is masses going on at the conference so for full details go to their webpage. They also have a provisional programme available.

Marine Reptile Conference

Themes will include: taxonomy, palaeoart, foodwebs and predation, origins of Mesozoic marine reptiles, ecosystems, and modern analogues.

Etches Collection: Museum of Jurassic Marine Life, Dorset. 5th-7th May 2020.

Sessions will primarily focus on the fossil record of both marine reptiles and other organisms which formed part of their ecosystems, however a session will also take place on modern marine reptiles. The Early Bird Registration deadline is 31st January.

More detailed information can be found here.

Federation of Museums & Art Galleries of Wales: Welsh Museums Conference 2020

Storiel, Bangor. 5th March 2020

Maximising Our Impact

There is no doubt that our sector and our society are facing challenging times. Museums are responding by meeting those challenges head on, with creative programming, sustainable practice and working differently to maximise their impact, and be responsible, responsive organisations.

Proposals (of no more than 250 words) from Wales and elsewhere are welcome and should be submitted by email to Chris Delaney at by 24th January 2020.

Porcupine Marine Natural History Society Conference – SAVE THE DATE

This year the PMNHS annual conference will be taking place at the Scottish Association for Marine Science at Dunstaffnage, near Oban on the 14th -15th March 2020.  Further details will be announced on their webpage. They are looking for speakers, so if you wish to offer a presentation or a poster for the conference please contact them at

And finally, not a conference but an excellent training day…

Natural Science Collections: The Basics

Monday, March 2, 2020. University of Cambridge Museum of Zoology

A day exploring natural science collections aimed at those who have little to no experience or knowledge of working with them.

Have you ever wanted to find out more about natural science collections, their care and use? Are you a non-specialist in need of some information on how to facilitate more access to natural science collections? Answer yes to either of these questions and this day is FOR YOU.

Topics include:
• using natural science collections with school groups
• all the completely amazing things you can do with plant collections
• writing labels and interpreting natural science objects
• how to document your natural science collection with zero natural science knowledge
• natural science collection conservation
• what parts of a natural science collection are dangerous?

NatSCA is arranging for natural science curators, collection managers and conservators to speak on everything from object handling to label writing to collection care. £37 NatSCA members; £57 non-members. Lunch is included.

NatSCA members: please email for your membership code. Non-members can join NatSCA for £20, the price difference between this course’s member and non-member rate! Email as above. Booking opens with Eventbrite soon – check the NatSCA website for updates.If you have something to say about a current topic, have visited an exciting new exhibition or museum, or perhaps you want to tell us what you’ve been working on, please drop an email to


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