Why we’re running monthly community manager journal clubs at AAAS – and how you can join in on the blog!

Posted by Lou Woodley, Trellis’ Community Engagement Director.

Prepping for book club
Adapted from “Prepping for book club” by Britt Reints, licensed under CC BY 2.0

It’ll come as no surprise that I spend a lot of my time thinking about community management. But in recent years that’s expanded from focusing on the strategy and mechanics of community-building, to thinking in more detail about the people that actually support group work: the community managers.

We’re a funny bunch, professionally, at least within the scientific space. You don’t get a degree in community management and pre-internet, when I was considering job options, I certainly didn’t know that community management was what I’d end up doing. (Take a look at our case studies for a variety of career stories from scientific community managers.)

Furthermore, once you get started in community management there’s also only a small number of professional development opportunities if you’d like to improve your skills and as a result community managers typically end up learning on the job.

We’re actively looking to rectify some of this by supporting scientific community managers via the new AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program that’s launching next year. But I also wanted to start closer to home by connecting the community managers working within the building at AAAS. And that’s why we’ve recently started a monthly community management journal club.

This new group includes both of Trellis’ full-time community managers – who are working with external groups and with AAAS-specific groups. It also includes colleagues working to build communities of practice around public engagement with science, around science policy, and to support dialogues about science, ethics and religion.

We’ve just had our second journal club and the group is establishing itself as a place to explore the literature about community building while reflecting on our own experiences working to build communities on Trellis. It’s a dedicated monthly space to mix theory and practice – and to create a peer network of our own.

As we get going, we’ll be sharing some of the discussions from those journal clubs here on the blog. If you’d like to read along with us, keep an eye on the journal club category for monthly updates. We’d love your virtual input into the topics we’ll be exploring!