BSC Newsletter sent 28 January 2019.
Dear IAT Friends, Supporters and Collaborators
Not long now before 6 Feb., the date of our Inland Astro-Trail Symposium at Parkes, NSW, co-hosted, in this 50th anniversary year of the Apollo moon landing, by Inland Astro-Trail Inc., Destination Country and Outback, Parkes Shire Council, Arts OutWest and the University of Canberra.
Wednesday 6 February 2019, 9 AM T0 5.30 PM
To explore the many ways the Inland Astro-Trail could catalyse new opportunities in Inland communities through the transformative power of Astronomy, Astro-tourism, the Arts, Cultural Heritage, STEAM Outreach, and collaborative Cultural, Social and Economic Development practices.
And to define a few good implementation strategies.
I’ve kicked off the discussion with the wide-ranging ‘founding vision‘ I posted on the Big Skies Collaboration blog, so please check it out and leave a comment, if you’d like to. I expect to add many more dot points to this collective vision after the Parkes symposium.
We have a diverse group of people participating in our gig, including a couple of surprise visitors to Parkes, Jamie Drew, Chief of Staff and Program Director of The Breakthrough Initiatives, and Danny Price, lead scientist for Breakthrough Listen on the Parkes Observatory.
As Danny and his fellow authors explained in a recent paper, “BREAKTHROUGH LISTEN is a 10-yr initiative to search for signatures of technologies created by extraterrestrial civilisations at radio and optical wavelengths.”
Jamie and Danny will tell us about the role Parkes Observatory is playing in Breakthrough Listen and then describe the next even more ambitious initiative, Breakthrough Starshot!
With extraterrestrials and a ‘starshot’ to an exoplanet orbiting one of our closest stars on the agenda, how can this symposium not be exciting?
Our after-dinner speaker, astrophysicist Jane Kaczmarek, insists that there’s much more going on at the Parkes Observatory than SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) though.
Jane is commissioning the telescope’s new multi-million dollar receiver which, she says, “will open up an entirely new window through which we can study the Universe.” She is also a great storyteller who wants us all to be as excited by her science as she is herself. (The pre-speech food by Craig and his staff at The Dish Cafe will also be pretty darn exciting, I’m told! )
Our Symposium will explore the IAT concept from many different perspectives with speakers from appropriately diverse fields, including Astronomy, Astro-Tourism, Arts, Heritage, STEAM Outreach, local government, and community development, for example. Their role is to stimulate ideas and provoke discussion!
Our speakers include Ian McLennan, an international astro-tourism and planetarium consultant (via Zoom from Vancouver, Canada);Donna Burton (‘Donna The Astronomer’) who operates Coonabarabran’s historic Milroy Observatory; astronomer Ray Pickard who runs the Bathurst Observatory Research Facility; and Nicola Chandler, Destination Country and Outback‘s business manager.
Confirmed presenters include Tracy Sorensen, a novelist, documentary maker and Big Skies Collaborator from Bathurst, who’ll speak about drawing inspiration from the Apollo missions and space science; Alexandra Burke, a film producer and cultural development practitioner who grew up next to the Parkes Observatory; musician Tracey Callinan, Executive Director of our partner organisation, Arts OutWest; and David Clarkson, creative director of Stalker Theatre Company, who grew up near New Zealand’s Mount St John Observatory and the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, and now has a new high-tech astro-show ready to go.
Heritage speakers includeAlison Wain, a heritage conservation scholar from the University of Canberra who’ll tell us about the Molonglo Radio Telescope project funded by the NSW Office of Heritage and Environment; Tennille Dunn, founder and coordinator of the Wiradjuri Study Centre’s Condo SkyFest; and.CSU scholar Juanita Kwok who is researching the contributions C19th Chinese migrants made to Inland NSW and the cosmologies they brought with them to Australia.
Michael Playford from the University of Canberra and biohacker Meow-Ludo Meow Meow from The Bio Foundry will tell us more about Molonglo Radio Telescope Project’s pioneering STEAM Outreach initiatives – with a few passing references to SETI and bio-hacking.
Many of our supporters are unable to attend the Symposium because of prior engagements. I’ve received the following apologies so far: Brad Tucker, Research Fellow, Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics (RSAA) ANU; Chris Lidman, Director, Siding Spring Observatory, RSAA, ANU; Lucy White, Executive Director, Destination Country and Outback; Mike Chapman, lighting consultant, Sydney Outdoor Lighting Improvement Society (SOLIS); Steve Russell, National Australian Convention of Amateur Astronomers(NACAA) 2020 PC Chair; Julia Andrews, CEO and Director of Regional Development, Regional Development Australia Central West; and Peter Starr whose Tenby Group owns and operates the Dubbo and Warrumbungles observatories.
IAT Inc. AGM
Our Acting President, Donna Burton, and the Mayor of Parkes, Councillor Ken Keith OAM, will preside over IAT Inc.s first AGM immediately after the Symposium.
You can become a member of this new organisation to help implement our shared vision by filling in a form and paying a small joining fee. And why not nominate for a position on the new committee as well?
IAT Inc Membership Form 2018 (pdf version)
IAT Inc Membership Form 2018 (Word version)
Forms will also be available at the Symposium.
So see you in Parkes!
I’m looking forward to working with you all in the coming years to actualise the ideas that emerge from our first IAT Symposium and to help catalyse new and very positive opportunities in inland communities. From where I stand the sky’s the limit!
Dr Merrill Findlay
Public Officer, Inland Astro-Trail Inc.
W: Big Skies Collaboration
T: 61 404057162