What a difference a day makes

After last night’s post, I thought it was time for a brief update on what so many of our Twitter followers may be wondering… so what happened yesterday? What did I miss?

I decided back in July that I really needed to come down to London about once a month whilst we are working on the 2013 calendar to meet up with people involved with ScienceGrrl, strengthen those working relationships, have some proper face-to-face discussions about outstanding issues and hopefully make lots of decisions that everyone can get on board with.

The first of those visits started on Wednesday night, when I travelled down to London after work and met Louise Crane (our Producer and in charge of public engagement at the Physiological Society) for the first time. We’ve been e-mailing, texting and chatting on Google several times a day but had never actually met up for real. It was slightly strange at first, as we looked at each other and tried to mentally resolve the images and words we’d seen on a screen with the person in front of us…but I’m pleased to say we get on just as well – if not more so – in real life. As an aside, I think people should do that more often; don’t spend forever messaging and texting someone, get out and do something fun together as soon as possible, and ground your connection in a fuller understanding of who you both are.

Anyway, after a reasonable night’s sleep and a fabulous breakfast with an old (well, not THAT old) friend from University, I arrived at the Smith Centre – next to the Science Museum – for our first ScienceGrrl 2013 production meeting. In attendance were Marianne Rance (head of Corporate Relationships at the  museum), myself, Louise, Ben Gilbert (our principal photographer, who is usually found at the Wellcome Trust but also worked on Geek Calendar), and Lucy Harper (Press Officer, normally at the Society for Applied Microbiology). Roger Highfield (Executive at the Science Museum Group) also popped in to introduce himself and discuss the project briefly.

We talked through the shot list and were relieved to realise that we had already completed 2 shoots, 6 were close to finalised, and we had clear ideas of what to do about another 2. 3 remain somewhat up-in-the-air, but Louise and I were confident we’ll have a clearer idea of what is happening with those in the next week. We also talked briefly about publicity (including the launch party) and about how we see ScienceGrrl continuing into 2013 and beyond, before heading off into the bustling galleries of the Science Museum itself so Ben could scout out some possible locations for shoots. Later, Louise and I also managed to fit in a quick conference call to Cosima Dinkel, our designer, who unfortunately couldn’t be present over lunch.

At this point, I think I need to pause to say how truly wonderful Marianne and Roger have been. The support from the Science Museum has been so brilliant that I nearly need to pinch myself. They have taken time to talk, e-mail, discuss our ideas and help us develop them; they hosted our meeting and fed us a very tasty lunch, and have offered to do so again; they are providing us with shoot locations for at least three of the calendar photos; they are also hosting our launch party. And all for free. Such amazing people, such outlandish generosity. Please help us reward them by going to the amazing Science Museum next time you are in London; it is a fascinating place of true beauty and wonder.

A few of us hung around in the Smith Centre after that to catch up on the ensuing administration, before heading down to Euston for drinks with some of those working on the calendar – either being photographed or volunteering other kinds of support. At the risk of missing someone out, I am going to try to remember everyone who was there and what they’re helping us with: me, Ellie, Louise, Ben, Lucy, Ceri Brenner (in the laser lab at UCL), Julie Gould (researching biographies), Jenna Stevens-Smith (fundraising), Anna Zecharia (social media), Laura Nelson (whose Breakthrough project we are raising funds for) and Helen Czerski (in another shot, TBC!). We talked about the project itself, the results of the initial shoot, plans for the calendar, the future of ScienceGrrl and all kinds of other things that we had experienced as (mostly) women in science with an interest in engaging people with how science works. The enthusiasm around that table was amazing, it made me realise that the networking aspect of ScienceGrrl is potentially very powerful in itself – something as simple as drinks after work was a real encouragement to all those involved, and seemed to strengthen the sense that we are a community of like-minded individuals pulling together to do something we couldn’t begin to attempt alone.

I was buzzing by the time I got on the train. What a day!