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Sounds of summer

22 July 2013

It was the sunflowers that started it. We went public with the ASE Summer Celebration Conference early in this Anniversary year, and our designers came up with a sunny image of sunflowers on and ASE blue background.  At the same time, being a gardener, I found a packet of sunflower seeds labelled “Hardy Annuals” and popped a few in a pot.  During the cold, damp months of preparation for the Conference, there was nothing doing, germination-wise although the ideas for the conference were taking root (sorry – I’ll stop soon).

A couple of weeks after the conference, as I write, we’re collecting together the feedback, the evaluation  survey is on the website, there have been about a dozen more educational initiatives from the Department and the Conference team has moved on to get serious with the Annual Conference.  It’s easy to forget, in such a short time, that we created a buzz, tried some new ideas, networked some people, took things outdoors, celebrated excellence and moved science education along a little way.  For me, I was truly impressed by our venue – even though we were at our “home” university, ASE HQ is on another campus which is just now being renovated, whereas the de Havilland site is already spruced up.  More than that, though, at lunchtime it was particularly good to see almost the whole conference together in the restaurant, hatching plots and programmes for the next six months.  In fact, they were having the proper educational discourse that is so seldom possible in day to day teaching currently.

So what now?  My sunflowers have started to grow upwards rapidly and the legacy of the Summer Celebration will be seen firstly at the Annual Conference and from then on.  There are those who are insisting, in the words of those proponents of levity in the canicular days, the Beach Boys that we should indeed get back together and do it again.

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