News from the Sector – July

As I write NftS this month, I feel as though we are arriving at a weird interim stage of “normality” whereby public spaces such as museums are opening up again, yet events and conferences are still either 2 dimensional or non-existent. Also, the world hasn’t opened up nearly as much for those who are shielding, officially or otherwise, as for those who are more able to get about. So once more we are largely remaining in the virtual realm this month, with a series of online events for your joy, entertainment and/or education in these strange times.

As ever, GCG sends its best wishes to you all.  Our thoughts are with everyone, and particularly those especially struggling at this time. Stay safe, stay connected, and look after your physical and mental well being as best you can.

Images in banner © Horniman Museum and Gardens

Online Events

iDigBio has a webinar series called Adapting to COVID-19: Resources for Natural History Collections in a New Virtual World. Sessions already scheduled in this series are:

1- July 28: Planning for Virtual Events: Lessons learned from Digital Data & SPNHC Conference Planners. Topics to include: Registration, Planning the Schedule, Recruiting and Trainings for Presenters and Moderators, Planning for Posters and Oral Presenters (Storage, Communication, Accessibility – time zones, etc), Vendors, Website and Organization, Benefits of a Virtual Mtg

2- August 25: Executing Virtual Events: Lessons learned from Digital Data & SPNHC Conference Planners. Topics to include: Zoom, Social Media, Audience Engagement/Managing Expectations, Surveys, Day of Roles and Responsibilities, Future Considerations

3- September 15-17: Taking the Pulse of Natural History Collections During COVID-19 Series: Where are we now? Join iDigBio, NSCA, BCON, NSF, and SPNHC for a mini-series to discuss the climate of natural history collections during COVID. What is the community experiencing? How are they coping? How do we persevere?”

The Paleontological Research Institution’s 14th annual Summer Symposium will take place on 8th August 2020. The extremely important theme is described thus: “Our goal this year is to foster meaningful conversation and actions to address the immense lack of diversity in our field. Nine speakers with a variety of interests and experiences will explore the topic of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the field of paleontology”. For more information or to register, please see their website.

The South East Museum Development Programme is hosting a webinar called Returning to Volunteering, on 28th August 2020. “As the cultural sector re-opens over the coming weeks and months, volunteering will be top of many museums’ agendas. Many of us will be wondering how to manage the tricky balance between the operational requirements for volunteers in a newly re-opened museum and our duty of care to protect volunteers’ health, safety and well-being… [This webinar is] Ideal for trustees and volunteer managers at small and/or volunteer-managed museums, this practical workshop will help you to consider how the nature of volunteering might change in your museum in the coming months, including key measures for volunteers’ health, safety and well-being and how to prevent and manage difficult situations when introducing new Covid-19 policies and working practices with volunteers.”

The 2020 annual meeting of the International Geoscience Programme (IGCP) Project 653: the onset of the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event will be held virtually 7th-10th September 2020. Discussions will take place on the themes of geology, palaeontology and geochemistry. The deadline for abstracts is 7th August 2020. Please see their website for more information or to register.

The GCG is proud to announce we will be hosting the Symposium of Palaeontological Preparation and Conservation this year, to be held virtually during Earth Science Week October 11th-17th 2020. The format is posters only, with Friday 16th October dedicated to questions and answers with presenters on social media and dedicated Zoom discussion. “Conservation and preparation are used in their broadest sense here and include all physical work undertaken on or with any geological material to prepare it for research, teaching or display”. The deadline for abstracts is Monday 31st August. Full details can be found on our Events Page.

The Geological Society of America is hosting their annual conference virtually this year… “GSA has held an Annual Meeting every year since 1888, despite pandemics, the Great Depression, and both World Wars”. GSA Connects Online will take place 26th-30th October 2020, and the deadline for abstracts is 4th August 2020.


A few networks and institutions have set up weekly events to keep us informed, entertained and connected. Here are a couple, but please let us know ( of any others that should be added to this list:

SedsOnline is an online webinar series sponsored by the International Association of Sedimentologists. They have a webinar every Wednesday at 4pm BST, as well as regular communal Coffee Breaks!

The Natural History Museum, London is hosting Nature Live Online every Tuesday at 12pm BST and Friday at 10.30am BST. Recent titles include; Volcanoes, Rivers of Mars, and Termites.

If you wanted to ‘attend’ the Pest Odyssey Annual Meeting: Pest off with covid and other stories but didn’t get the chance, you can watch the event on YouTube via the above link.


The following events are currently still scheduled to take place. However, please check the websites of the specific events for the most up to date information.

The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology will take place in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. The meeting will take place at the Duke Energy Convention Center from the 14th to the 17th October 2020.


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

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

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