ASC online symposium 2021: making a scicomm 'Mirofesto'

At the Australian Science Communicators online symposium 2021, David Harris curated an Art and Design stream, and in it we had a vibrant session getting messy with manifestos and ‘crowdsourcing ideas from highly opinionated people’. Here's something I wrote for the ASC about it…

The last session of the day (before David hosted ‘science cocktails’, which in a face-to-face situation may well have become their own ‘session’!) was titled ‘Mirofestos’: crowdsourcing ideas from highly-opinionated people. This online workshop used the digital whiteboard tool Miro.

This platform is one that design lecturers (which David and I both are in our day jobs) have become accustomed to using to bring some of the activities of design studio culture (whiteboarding, critique, provocation/response, capturing visual iteration) online during pandemic ‘zoom teaching’. We felt that there was an opportunity to deploy this medium as a science communication tool for invested audiences, and wanted to see how it was taken up in the context of an online conference with very little ‘onboarding’ – just jump on and go! 

We used as a prompt a presentation that David gave at ASC2018 (when we were face-to-face in Sydney): his Against the Deficit Model: a Manifesto for Science Communication.

Download a PDF of the 2018 manifesto

The Against the Deficit Model manifesto, © David Harris, giffed by Jo Bailey


This was a deliberately provocative stance on some foundational issues for science communication. David stated:

You will get angry at some of these statements.
That’s ok. But I want you to think about why you are inflamed. Is it because I’m wrong? Or is it because I’m right?

So what better way to channel that passion than via virtual post-it flame-wars and emoji-battles?!

What did we learn? Engagement was high, and activity was frenetic, as this fast-forward of the Zoom call screenshare shows:

The contributions were on the whole good natured banter even where the topics were on the contentious side. Amongst the scribbles and one-liners was some deep thinking and more expansive and reflexive commentary. We’ve not pulled out themes from the content yet, but it is available for you to browse: Check out the Miro board here: 


One of the crowdsourced additional Miro frames on the things scicomm needs more and less of


Read on the ASC website here



Jo Bailey > Thoughts


Thoughts > All about A load off your mind