This week at the Progress Educational Trust (23 May 2013)
The Progress Educational Trust (PET) has more than 20 years' experience of organising successful public events, which means the charity has got plenty of tricks up its sleeve for if things if things go wrong behind (or even in front of) the scenes. PET Director Sarah Norcross (pictured left) conceived and spoke at a session entitled 'Keep Calm and Carry On: Practical Tips on How to Cope when Public Events Go Wrong' at this year's Science Communication Conference, organised at Kings Place by the British Science Association. Speaking alongside Sarah were Kay Miller (of the Biochemical Society) and Becky Purvis (of the Association of Medical Research Charities), while the session was chaired by science communicator and comedian Timandra Harkness.
The panel gave a number of tips on how events organisers can make sure that the show goes on, and shared anecdotes about and lessons learned from occasions when the show very nearly didn't. The panel members also incorporated 'mishaps' into their presentations, to give the impression that defeat was about to be snatched from the jaws of victory. Also speaking at the conference, at a session about the media entitled 'One Message, Many Voices', was Deputy Chair of PET's Advisory Committee Fiona Fox (pictured right). Other participants in the conference included Holly Rogers (also pictured right), a Volunteer Writer at BioNews - PET's free weekly digest of news and comment on assisted conception, genetics and embryo/stem cell research.
Speaking of BioNews, this week has seen a flurry of interest around BioNews articles dealing with egg and sperm donation, with many readers taking advantage of the website's 'Have Your Say' feature to append their own comments. Some of this interest was due to the completion of PET's 'When It Takes More Than Two' project, which is supported by the Wellcome Trust and has been running since the end of last year. The project concluded with an opinion poll that attracted responses from more than 800 readers, and PET Communications Officer Sandy Starr (pictured left) has summarised the findings of the poll in two BioNews pieces that can be found here and here. There's also ongoing interest in the recent Nuffield Council on Bioethics report Donor Conception: Ethical Aspects of Information Sharing (.pdf 3.05MB), which has been the subject of several BioNews articles including this review of the report by PET/BioNews Legal Editor Antony Blackburn-Starza (also pictured left).
Other BioNews articles on this theme that have been prompting readers to post comments include this piece by Dr Wybo Dondorp (a member of the Working Party that produced the Nuffield Council's report), this piece by Professor Carol Smart (of the Morgan Centre for the Study of Relationships and Personal Life), this piece by Ben Saer (Business Manager of Your IVF Journey), and this piece by Olivia Montuschi (Cofounder and Practice Consultant at the Donor Conception Network). If you'd like to be part of the debate, you can subscribe to BioNews for free here. And if you'd like to ensure that the debate continues, you can make donation to PET or - better still - provide the charity with ongoing support by becoming a Friend of PET.