By Dr Mark Crowe, QCIF Skills Development Manager and ResBaz Queensland 2021 co-organiser
QCIF-hosted Research Bazaar Queensland 2021 was one of the lucky Australian ResBaz’s — the only one in the last two years to have been held in person.
ResBaz is a worldwide festival of digital literacy, intended to equip researchers from all career stages with the digital skills and tools required to do their research better, faster and smarter.
Like most other ResBaz events, ResBaz Queensland, held 24–26 November at The University of Queensland, featured a mixture of workshops, seminars, keynote talks and discussion groups. Most importantly, ResBaz emphasised networking and social activities, encouraging collaboration and engagement between researchers from a wide range of disciplines.
ResBaz Queensland 2021 attracted nearly 350 participants from 23 organisations, and featured 22 workshops and 23 talks — an excellent turnout considering the ongoing challenges of holding a large-scale event during the Covid-19 pandemic. This was in part made possible by the integration of online technologies into a primarily in-person event; we were able to include keynote speakers, workshop instructors and delegates from across Australia using virtual meeting platforms. This meant that for the first time ever, much of ResBaz was available to researchers from across Queensland, not just the Brisbane region.
As a further step to opening ResBaz to an even wider audience, this year featured the introduction of Accessibility Grants — financial support to assist with out-of-pocket expenses for participants who might otherwise have been unable to attend. Six grants were awarded, covering travel, accommodation and childcare costs for a total of just under $1,000.
We were extremely fortunate to have been able to feature many excellent keynote speakers, from Dr Julia Playford, Executive Director of Science Development at Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science talking about Queensland Government-supported research, including wombat identification and trapping crocodiles using drones; to Tim Sherratt, Associate Professor of Digital Heritage in the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research at the University of Canberra, with a fascinating insight into cultural archive data and “Redaction Art”; and Professor Hugh Possingham, Queensland’s Chief Scientist, with his wide-ranging talk covering conservation, data sharing and science activism.
Other highlights included the “90 seconds of research impact” competition, where nearly 20 brave delegates took the challenge, with no preparation or materials, of describing their research in under 90 seconds; the many workshops full of enthusiastic learners and instructors; a gender-balanced and very diverse speaker and instructor panel; and above all, a long overdue opportunity to meet and connect with emerging researchers from a tremendous range of research disciplines.
The ResBaz Queensland organisers would like to give a special thank you to our key story speakers (Professor Hugh Possingham, Associate Professor Tim Sherratt, Dr Julia Playford, Dr Peter Binks, Dr Zeinab Khalil, Associate Professor Sama Low-Choy and Professor Joe Shapter) and to our generous sponsors: AARNet, Gale, SAGE Publishing and Google Research Cloud, without whom the event would not have been possible.
ResBaz Queensland has been held annually since 2016 (other than in 2020), and has been hosted at Griffith University, QUT and UQ.