The Past Year in Astronomicca

Now that we are a few days into 2020, it is time to look back on the past year and reveal some projects for 2020.

2019 was a busy year in Astronomicca. I started the year working 6 months as science journalist and press consultant at a university, so time was a limited resource. I put large emphasis on planning my days, so I could fully commit to the projects, I was working on.

Communication & Social Media Strategy

I had the opportunity to build the social media and communication strategy for a Danish observatory, who launched a new exhibition. This was a large task, that I enjoyed spending much of my time on for a few months. After the initial planning was set, I created all content on behalf of the client to use across their social media platforms. I also managed a part of the press, which led to a very nice article in a large Danish newspaper.

I had the pleasure of also advising scientific researchers on how to communicate more efficiently and gain impact on social media. This included 1:1 Skype sessions, where I gave advice on structure and content in public presentations as well as helping researchers achieving a more coherent “scientist brand” online via websites and social media.

By the end of the year I did professional career coaching via Skype with a scientist, who after their PhD built a career in academia. They now wanted to explore new professional paths and sought my advice on how to open new doors.

Public talks

This year I got to travel all over Denmark to give talks about astronomy and science communication. I visited several Danish universities (from Aalborg across Aarhus to Copenhagen) to talk about science on social media, and I also had the opportunity to give a talk at the Danish Ministry for Education. This was the first time I was booked to talk about how being exposed to science and scientific content at an early age can help shape the future adults.

My astronomy talks was given to a wide range of people, spanning from curious children and teenagers to adults with and without scientific background. I even had the chance to explain the accelerating Universe to a group of health science professors, which induced 40 minutes of questions about anything from multiverses to time travel.

A talk I remember particularly exciting (and nerve wrecking!), is one I gave for a large group of journalists at the Danish national broadcasting company. During my talk I explained how I approach story telling in science, and it led to amazing discussions afterwards. I am super grateful for the opportunity to engage with so highly skilled professional journalists.

The past year of course also meant my usual collaborations with various Danish public universities (“folkeuniversiteter”), which are not to be confused with the Danish universities, that host researchers and students. At the public universities I gave several talks (I have not counted, but I would guess around 15-20 talks) across the country. Most of them were about stars in the Universe, which was a part of the lecture series “Worth to know about astronomy” (“Værd at vide om astronomi”) made together with a group of astronomy researchers from Aarhus University.

In 2019 I gave several workshops in presentation technique. I did workshops with student ambassadors from a Danish university as well as with academic researchers and corporate R&D. My workshops contain both theory and practical experience, and even though I spent much energy on preparing and giving the workshops, I also enjoy the progress of the participants.

Blog posts

This year I created new blog posts mostly during the second half of the year. The posts were mostly about astronomy. During December I created an advent calendar on Facebook, where I posted short Christmas stories to present each day a different blog post. It was a fun challenge to connect Christmas and astronomy in creative story telling. This generated a few hundred new reads of my posts, which I find to be very successful as Facebook’s algorithms makes it difficult (at least for me) to get unpaid posts through to my page’s followers.

Over all I had a bit fewer visitors on my blog this year, mostly due to the first half being much less active than usual. The year ended with a total of around 5,000 visits.

I would like to create more posts about astronomy, so in 2019 I set up a Patreon-account. It is my ambition that one day, this means I can prioritize blog post writing as a part of my work day, as opposed to now where I spend my spare time on it.

What’s next?

I am looking very much forward to 2020!

Already now, I have bookings for astronomy talks, so I am right now kept occupied by preparing those. This year also has more professional astronomy collaborations than the previous years, so I am very eager to get started with new work approaches.

The coming year also contains more workshops on presentation technique. I have started preparing the first one for this Spring.

Additionally, I have some website constructions in the pipeline, which together with strategies for science on social media will take up much of my digital advising.

I also look forward to more 1:1 Skype sessions with researchers. I find this method to work super well as researchers are always traveling, so by scheduling via Skype location is no longer an issue.

… lastly, I should not forget to mention that I of course still do voluntary work, e.g. as board member and communication specialist at Danish Women In Physics (where I built and maintain the website and social media) and as President of Danish Astronomical Society.

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