The annual ScienceWriters meeting is a joint meeting of the National Association of Science Writers and the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. A mix of professional development workshops, briefings on the latest scientific research, extensive networking opportunities, and field trips, it is a meeting for science writers, by science writers, with content to appeal to both the newest writers and seasoned professionals. The location varies each year based on the host institution, providing access to science writers in all parts of the United States.
This autumn, the National Association of Science Writers and the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing plan to return to in-person meetings and will present ScienceWriters2022 in Memphis, Tennessee, October 21-25 in collaboration with our local host, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Virtual programming begins October 12. Registration for both conference portions opens August 17.
For our first in-person meeting since 2019—and in the historic setting of Memphis—we invite attendees to join NASW, CASW, and our hosts from St. Jude for a gathering of remembrance, reconnection, and reflection at the National Civil Rights Museum on Friday, October 21. Built into the Lorraine Motel, the site of Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1968 assassination, the museum honors the work of those who fight for equality in America.
Why this museum? Even as we celebrate our return to in-person conferencing, our professional community must also acknowledge U.S. living history, recent and past. It is abundantly clear that injustice and violence remain pervasive in the United States along the often intersecting spheres of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and socioeconomic status — from the civil rights movement of the 20th century to the issues of the day: police violence and mass incarceration of people of color, legislation targeting transgender people, and systemic injustices amplified by the ongoing pandemic. And, most recently, laws triggered by the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade call into question the ability for pregnant people to receive appropriate, evidence-based medical care in Tennessee and 12 other states.
As writers and journalists, we share a duty to report on this living history without contributing to the polarization rampant in our country. As science writers in particular, we illuminate society's ills, hopes and quests for solutions, weaving in data, inquiry, analysis, and storytelling. We can take inspiration from another of Memphis' celebrated past denizens, Ida B. Wells, whose work demonstrated the power of the written word. In that spirit, ScienceWrtiers2022 is partnering with MLK50: Justice Through Journalism — a nonprofit Memphis newsroom focused on poverty, power, and public policy — on special programming to connect our conference with community members and their concerns.
Both virtual and in-person attendees have the option of supporting the local community and independent journalism by donating to MLK50: Justice Through Journalism. For those who are not able to travel or not comfortable traveling to Tennessee for any reason, we invite you to join the virtual portion of ScienceWriters2022. This vibrant component of ScienceWriters2022 is being designed with the virtual community in mind.