NatSCA Digital Digest – January 2022

Compiled by Claire Dean, Preventive Conservation student, Northumbria University & placement student at Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Carlisle.

Welcome to the January edition of NatSCA Digital Digest.

A monthly blog series featuring 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 what you are getting up to, exhibition launches, virtual conferences, training opportunities, webinars, and new and interesting online content. If you have any top tips and recommendations for our next Digest please drop an email to blog@natsca.org.

Sector News

There’s still time to submit to SPNCC 2022. ‘Through the door and through the web: releasing the power of natural history collections onsite and online’ will take place from 5th to 10th June in Edinburgh and the deadline for abstracts is 28th January. You can submit your abstract to the open symposia or under the general theme. Full details here.

The Challenger Society Conference in September 2022 will mark the 150th anniversary of the Challenger Expedition and celebrate the birth of scientific, international, interdisciplinary oceanography and they’re looking for marine science session proposals. More details are available here. To submit, email challenger150@nhm.ac.uk with your proposed session title, session chairs (list up to four), at least five potential speakers as examples of talks and any potential keynote speakers. They reemphasize their vision for a diverse and inclusive conference and therefore ask you to consider this in your session proposals. The deadline is 31 January.

Booking is now open for Museum Ideas 2022 Study Days and Conference. These events are for museum workers looking for actionable ideas and topics include models of collaborative and socially engaged participatory practice, designing museum experiences in the digital age, progressive public engagement, community-led programming, immersive experiences, co-creation, social impact, and much more. The full programme can be found here.

Where to Visit

Fancy some food for thought this Veganuary? Oxford University Museum of Natural History’s exhibition Meat the Future is online here and runs until the 8th May.

Want to brush up your plastics knowledge? Museum of London are sharing their expertise in this in-person event on the 27th January. You can book tickets here.

Birds Britannica has been described as ‘a triumph’ and ‘a bird book like no other’. In this Zoom lecture on 23rd January, Mark Cocker talks for the first time about the eight years it took to assemble the contents and produce what poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion called ‘the great delight of my year, the book that made me feel I’d been waiting for it all my life.’

If your new year’s resolution is to learn a new skill, or perhaps return to a long-neglected one, registration is now open for this popular free natural history illustration course. Learn with tutors from the University of Newcastle, Australia, and share your observational sketches with participants from around the world (compiler’s note: I took this course last year and it was wonderful!)

What to Read (and Watch)

The special decolonising Volume of the Journal of Natural Science Collections is now freely available online here. This entire volume is open access, and the papers further develop several of the talks from the 2020 decolonising conference. Recordings of the full conference are also available free online here.

Did you get any good books in your Christmas stocking? If not, here’s the Guardian’s list of the best science books from 2021 and New Scientist’s guide to the best books coming our way in 2022.

Audiences and critics have been divided on Netflix’s Don’t Look Up, but scientists have been noting the parallels with their own science communication experiences. This article explores how the film illustrates five myths that fuel rejection of science.

This fascinating blog from conservator Nigel Larkin details the excavation of the Rutland Sea Dragon, the largest ichthyosaur skeleton ever to be found in the UK! You also see some of the excavation in Digging for Britain, Series 9, Episode 4, which aired this Tuesday and is now available on the iPlayer.

In case you missed it, you can also catch Attenborough and the mammoth graveyard on the iPlayer until the end of this month. There’s an interview with Prof Ben Garrod about the chance discovery made by amateur fossil hunters Sally and Neville Hollingworth here.

And finally, reading this article about insect feelings made us wonder how our Arthrenus friends felt to be left alone again over the festive break. You can read all about why insects are more sensitive than they seem here.

Where to Work

The Natural History Museum currently have vacancies for a Geological Specimen Preparator (deadline 17th January) and a Learning and Development Administrator (deadline 18th January).

The Science Museum are looking for a Duty Operations Manager. The deadline for this one is 16th January.

The Public Engagement team at the Bodleian Libraries are looking for an experienced Exhibitions Conservator. Recent exhibitions have included Roots to Seeds: 400 years of Oxford Botany and Melancholy: A New Anatomy. The deadline is 28th January.

If you know your telescopes and are looking for casual evening work in London, Royal Observatory Greenwich is hiring support astronomers. You’ll need to be quick as the deadline for this one is the 15th January. More details here.

Before You Go…

If you have any top tips and recommendations for our next Digest please drop an email to blog@natsca.org. 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.

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