Just back from the excellent ARMA Conference at the ACC Liverpool. Stormy weather outside (meteorologically and otherwise) but a very smooth operation inside. A chance to reflect, to be challenged, to meet up with old friends and to meet many more new ones. It was a bit weird attending Conference for the first time on a freelance basis. I wondered if I’d feel a bit disengaged from it all. Happily, I didn’t; indeed it confirmed that the ARMA family is a very welcoming and engaging community whatever your line of work, irrespective of how long you’ve been in research admin. I hope you found that if you were there!
Engagement. ARMA’s Board have spent a lot of time this year discussing engagement and involvement. As you’ll have heard from our Chair, Steph Bales, we’d like many more members to get engaged with their Association – by writing an article for The Protagonist, joining a Special Interest Group, getting involved in some training activity, or putting your name forward for a working group or a committee. Check out the ARMA website from time to time for opportunities. I put my name forward for the Board a couple of years ago and ended up as Treasurer, a role I’d never have applied for, but one which I’ve hugely enjoyed, despite our various challenges over the past year! Outside my comfort zone at times, for sure, but I’ve had a real sense of achievement out of it. So do get engaged if you can spare a little time…
Engagement was probably the word of the Conference, actually as there was a lot on how Universities should engage with the public and policy-makers, given the science-lite decisions being made by Trump, Gove and, to be honest, many of the UK’s voters! Really enjoyed a session by the excellent duo of Paul Manners of the NCCPE and Coventry’s Julie Bayley on impact and knowledge exchange attended by our Australian visitors, with a further inspirational session where Paul teamed up with Ehsan Masood, editor of Research Fortnight and science commentator extraordinaire.
Engagement in an age of disengagement – Trump’s Climate Change withdrawal, UK’s withdrawal from Europe – how engaged will the voters be today? We’ll find out tomorrow morning.