NatSCA Digital Digest – December 2021

Compiled by Olivia Beavers, Assistant Curator of Natural Science at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery.

Welcome to the December edition of NatSCA Digital Digest.

This is the last Digest of 2021 – packed full of festive activities and the latest on where to go, what to see and do in the natural history sector including jobs, exhibitions, conferences and training opportunities. We are really keen to hear more about museum re-openings, exhibition launches, virtual conferences and webinars, and new and interesting online content. If you have any top tips and recommendations for our next Digest please drop an email to

News From the Sector

SPNHC 2022

Abstract submission is now OPEN! If you would like to be involved, please submit by the 28th January 2022. For a list of all symposia (both open and closed) click here. The open symposia are available for everyone, closed symposium are for invited speakers only.  For all other abstracts and poster abstracts, please submit your abstract into the ‘general’ theme. To submit an abstract, click here.

A reminder that the final deadline to register for the 65th Annual Palaeontological Association Meeting is December 10th. You can click here to register now!

There is a free Future Materials Conference taking place on December 13th at the University of Birmingham. The conference, held by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) is designed to help pull together early career materials, minerals and mining scientists and engineers from across the UK to come and present their research. Find out more about the event here.

What To Do

Here are some fun, festive activities that you can take part in as part of the lead up to Christmas:

The Sedgwick Museum’s palaeo advent calendar can be found via their twitter account @SedgwickMuseum; along with the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery’s interactive Advent Calendar featuring some of the natural science collections as well as other departments’. National Museum Cardiff invites you to play #WinterBingo – find all 24 things listed before Christmas, tag them in and they’ll retweet your finds. Their Advent calendar is also live and involves objects from their natural history collections which will be decorating their Christmas tree! You can access both of these via the @CardiffCurator twitter account.

There will be a lunchtime webinar: Focus on Festive Natural Minerals taking place on December 9th. The festive session will explore how natural materials can help us to enjoy this season more sustainably – from biosnow special effects to Christmas themed packaging.

Where To Visit

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year: People’s Choice 2022 is now available to view online. There are some lovely and heart-warming blurbs accompanying the chosen images. 

Following on with the art and nature combination, you can now visit The Writing’s Not On the Wall – Yet. An online exhibition of designs and street art painted for the Grantham Climate Art Prize 2021 expressing messages of hope in the face of climate change & biodiversity loss by 12–25 year-olds from across the UK. There are some physical exhibitions of the art work on display at Nottingham’s Wollaton Hall and Rochdale Museum.

What To Read

We have two very interesting and closely related blogs to read over Christmas, both focussing on the River Otter Beaver. The first, by Holly Morgenroth (Collections Officer/Natural Sciences Curator RAMM), talks about the new and very important acquisition of the beaver for the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery (RAMM) in Exeter. The second, by Jazmine Miles Long (Ethical Taxidermist, Artist, Educator and Natural Histroy Restorer), focusses on getting the same beaver processed into taxidermy.

There is also an intriguing article by James Ashworth about ancient elephants ‘born the size of a puppy’! The article discusses the research surrounding their unusually long lifespan for mammals of their size.

Another addition to your reading list, exploring how taxidermy is portrayed, is the new blog called ‘Animal Afterlives: Photography, Dioramas, and Forgetting that Taxidermy is Dead’, written by Jack Ashby (Assistant Director of the University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge).


An exciting opportunity has arisen in the Natural Sciences department at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales as the Biodiversity Co-ordinator & Principal Curator Botany.

For more info, follow the link: Closing date is the 7th of January so get your skates on!

Some exciting news from the Cambridge University Herbarium (CGE, part of the Department of Plant Sciences) – who are looking for a Curation & Digitisation Assistant, for a fixed term 12 month contract in the first instance, with a deadline for applications on 10th January 2022. Please find more information and the more detailed further particulars here:

There are a few opportunities to be part of the movement of collections from NHM, London to Harwell:

Vacancy for Remedial Conservation Specialist (NHM@Harwell): Closing date: 9am, 15 December 2021, Interviews expected  w/c 10 January 2022.

Vacancy for CMS Data Manager (NHM@Harwell): Closing date: 9am, Friday 17 December 2021, Interviews expected w/c 27 December 2021.

Vacancy for Conservation Moves Assistant (NHM@Harwell): Closing date: 9am, 15 December 2021, Interviews expected w/c 17 January 2022.

Before You Go…

A whole hearted thankyou to all of our readers and contributors this year, despite everything, there has always been something good to do or read. From all of us on the Digest team and NatSCA Committee, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Looking forward to what delights 2022 will bring!

Remember, if you have any top tips and recommendations for our next Digest please drop an email to

Similarly, if you have something to say about a current topic, or perhaps you want to tell us what you’ve been working on, we welcome new blog articles so please drop Jen an email if you have anything you would like to submit.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s