News from the Sector – January

Images in banner © Horniman Museum and Gardens

News from the Sector is a monthly blog series featuring the latest geological and palaeontological news, jobs, exhibitions, and conferences. If you or your institution has anything they would like to add, or advertise on GCG’s News from the Sector, please get in touch at

Conferences and Workshops

Early Bird Registration closes on the 31st January 2020 for the spectacular Marine Reptile Conference, due to take place at the Etches Collection: Museum of Jurassic Marine Life in Kimmeridge, Dorset from the 5th to the 7th May 2020. The primary focus will be on the fossil record, covering both marine reptiles and other organisms which formed part of their ecosystems, however a session will also take place on modern marine reptiles, and abstracts from researchers studying all aspects of this field are welcomed. The first ten students to submit an abstract will receive a £30 discount off the registration cost, including the Early Bird Registration rate!

Although not specifically aimed at geology, NWFed (formerly the North West Federation of Museums and Art Galleries) is holding a ‘Museum Basics’ training event to teach volunteers and professionals new to the field how to mark museum objects (objects- as I say, it’s not aimed at geology). ‘By the end of the course you will: Know why and when to mark museum objects, including ethical considerations, Understand the Health and Safety issues relating to marking objects, Understand where to source marking and labelling materials and how to put a kit together, Have practical experience of marking and labelling a range of objects, and Understand how to remove numbers’. Due to take place on the 22nd January 2020 at NML, Midland Railway Building in Liverpool. More details can be found on their website.

The Natural Sciences Collections Association is running a one day training course at the University of Cambridge Museum of Zoology called Natural Science Collections: The Basics on 2nd March 2020. With the sector-wide loss of curatorial posts, some staff are finding themselves responsible for collections that may be outside of their expertise. This training day is aimed at those who have little to no experience or knowledge of working with natural science collections.

A general session called Earth System Paleobiology: Closing the Geological and Biological Gap is being hosted at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2020 in Vienna, which will take place from the 3rd to the 8th May 2020. Early Bird Registration closes on the 31st March 2020. More details can be found on their website.

The Natural Sciences Collections Association is holding their annual conference and AGM at National Museum Wales, Cardiff from 14th to 15th May 2020. The theme is Changing the World: Environmental Breakdown, Decolonisation and Natural Science Collections. The call for papers is now open, with a deadline for submission of 7th February 2020.

The 5th International Meeting of Early-Stage Researchers in Palaeontology will take place in ​Naujoji Akmenė, Lithuania, from the 18th to the 21st May 2020. Abstract submission and Early Bird Registration are both in February, so take a look at the website asap if you’re interested in attending.

The 10th International Meeting of the Society of Avian Paleontology and Evolution (SAPE) will be held at the University of Málaga, Spain, from the 25th to the 29th May 2020. The meeting is open to both paleontologists and ornithologists. The website currently states that both ‘abstract submission and registration will open soon’.

The 4th annual Digital Data in Biodiversity Research Conference will take place in Bloomington, Indiana from the 1st to the 3rd June 2020. This year’s theme is ‘Harnessing the Data Revolution and Amplifying Collections with Biodiversity Information Science’. Registration is through EventBrite.

The 10th International ProGEO Symposium will take place in Segovia, Spain from the 8th to the 11th June 2020. ‘This symposium is an international event open to scientists, students, educators, professionals, decision-makers and anyone involved in geoconservation’.

The next Progressive Palaeontology conference will run from the 11th to the 12th June 2020, at the Yorkshire Museum. Check their page on the PalAss website for more information as it becomes available.

The Symposium on Palaeontological Preparation and Conservation will take place on 16th September 2020 at the Natural History Museum London, to be followed by the Symposium on Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy from the 16th to the 19th September 2020. A loose programme is already available on the website, including the location of the field trip which will take place at Crystal Palace Park, to be led by the Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs.

The Biodiversity Summit 2020 will be held from the 20th to the 25th September 2020 in Alexandria, just outside of Washington, DC. The summit ‘will provide opportunities for all federal and non-federal natural history collections worldwide to network and share successes in biodiversity data digitization, mobilization, standards development, and access’.

© Horniman Museum and Gardens

Exhibitions and Events

The Horniman Museum‘s temporary exhibition MELTDOWN: Visualizing Climate Change is closing this weekend, on 12th January 2020. ‘Meltdown is an exhibition by Project Pressure, which “emphasises the importance of glaciers in a scientific, illustrative and dramatic way. The show features work from every relevant continent, leading the viewer on a journey in three chapters – The Importance of Glaciers, Current Issues and Meltdown Consequences. Since 2008 the climate change charity Project Pressure has been commissioning world-renowned artists to conduct expeditions to document changes to the world’s vanishing glaciers, the consequences for billions of people, and efforts made to limit melting. The works featured from these expeditions range in scale from the planetary level to microscopic biological impact, with artistic interpretations giving unique insights into the world’s cryosphere, its fragile ecosystem and our changing global climate’.

The National Museum Scotland is hosting Tyrannosaurs, a fantastic exhibition designed by the Australian Museum in Sydney. Opening on the 24th January, the exhibition explores the most feared and revered of all dinosaurs- the Tyrannosaurs- bringing the latest palaeontological discoveries to life and challenging preconceptions about these ferocious predators.

The fifty-fifth Wildlife Photographer of the Year Highlights Exhibition is currently being displayed at Tring Museum of Natural History, until the 9th February 2020.

The First Animals is a brand new exhibition at Oxford University Museum of Natural History which showcases over 60 incredibly well-preserved specimens from sites across the globe, including a
significant loan of 55 fossils from Yunnan University in Chengjiang, China, along with other evidence from Burgess Shale, Canada and Sirius Passet, Greenland. To complement this exhibition, the OUMNH is hosting a debate on ‘The First Animals: When, Where and How?’, to be chaired by Museum Director Professor Paul Smith. The event will take place on Tuesday 11th February 2020. Doors open at 6pm, the debate starts at 6.30pm. Tickets are free, but must be booked in advanced on EventBrite.

252 million years ago, in a period called the Permian, life on Earth was dominated by extraordinary creatures, from fearsome sabre-toothed gorgonopsids to sail backed pelycosaurs like Dimetrodon. The incredible exhibition Permian Monsters: Life Before the Dinosaurs is coming to the Horniman Museum and Gardens for its first ever showcasing in the UK, and with recently updated scientific content to ensure it’s at the forefront of our current understanding. The Horniman Museum’s Deputy Keeper of Natural History, Dr Emma Nicholls, says: “This exhibition is the dictionary definition of awesome!”

Dr John Nudds will be delivering the Distinguished Visitor’s Address at The Liverpool Geological Society on the 18th February at Liverpool John Moores University. Dr Nudds will be speaking about the famous feathered fossil- Archaeopteryx.

The Exploration: From Deep Time to Outer Space reveals some of the important scientific and personal legacies of scientific and geographic field investigations, and how the rewards and costs for such ventures can be very high. A free exhibition at the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow, on until the 15th March 2020.

On until the 19th April 2020, the exhibition Parasites: Battle for Survival is a free exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland, showcasing five tropical diseases, the parasites that cause them, and how scientific research taking place in Scotland is leading the way in this field.

The full version of the fifty-fifth Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is on at the Natural History Museum London until the 31st May 2020. ‘Encounter the beauty and fragility of wildlife, see fascinating animal behaviour and get to know extraordinary species, exhibited on 100 stunning lightbox displays. Go deeper and discover the surprising – and often challenging – stories behind the images during a time of environmental crisis. A panel of international experts selected the awarded images from almost 50,000 entries by the world’s best photographers’.

The Fossil Swamp is on at National Museum Cardiff, part of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, until the 17th May 2020. ‘This new exhibition reveals a snapshot in time from 300 million years ago – when a vast tropical swamp covered what is now Wales. The Fossil Swamp had monster plants, giant insects, thunderstorms and floods’.

© Horniman Museum and Gardens

Job Vacancies

Kew Gardens; Research Assistant for the Darwin Tree of Life Project. Deadline 19th January 2020.

Iowa State University; Postdoctoral Research Associate – Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology. Deadline 12pm, 20th January 2020.

Hunterian Museum, Glasgow; Curator of Zoology and Anatomy. Deadline 4th February 2020.

State Natural History Museum of the 3Landesmuseen in Braunschweig; Zoological taxidermist/preparator, specializing in mammals. Deadline 15th February 2020.

Although not curatorial, there is a whole host of geoscience jobs on this site: Geoscience Research and Technical Jobs.

© Horniman Museum and Gardens

Send us Your Stuff!

If you would like to contribute content to our monthly blog series News from the Sector (and get some free advertising!), please get in touch with Emma Nicholls, email

© Horniman Museum and Gardens

News from the Sector is compiled by Dr Emma Nicholls, Deputy Keeper of Natural History at the Horniman Museum and Gardens.

Images throughout © Horniman Museum and Gardens

Please note, events listed above are not necessarily endorsed by the Geological Curators’ Group. If you have any concerns about a listing, please get in touch with Blog Editor, Emma Nicholls, at

© Horniman Museum and Gardens

2 thoughts on “News from the Sector – January

  1. Please can you change he email address at which I receive these notifications?
    I retire tomorrow and will no longer have access to this address.

    Many thanks

    Geoscience Laboratory and Collections Manager
    Laboratories & Collections Support (LabCoS-Estates)
    British Antarctic Survey
    High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge. CB3 0ET
    Tel: +44 (0)1223 221378
    Visit our website | Follow BAS on Twitter and Facebook

    [footer BAS]

    NERC is part of UK Research and Innovation
    P Please think of the environment before printing out this message

  2. Hi Hilary,
    Thank you for your message and congratulations on your retirement! Unfortunately the GCG committee and blog editors aren’t given sufficient access by WordPress to be able to do this for you. However, all you need to do is go to this page (, scroll down, and then pop your new email address into the box on the right under ‘Follow Blog via Email’.
    Please do get in touch with us at if you need any further assistance.
    Best wishes, GCG

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