New CSCCE concept booklet explores the house party metaphor for community engagement

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been sharing blog posts that use the metaphor of a house party to discuss various aspects of community management. And last week, at our monthly community call, we scaffolded a discussion of the metaphor, which thanks to the enthusiastic participation of our members led us all to think about community management in new and creative directions. 

Now, we’ve compiled these ideas and reflections into a “CSCCE concept booklet” which you can download for free, refer to as needed, and easily cite! 

What’s a concept booklet?

CSCCE concept booklets are a new kind of resource from us. To date, we’ve mostly produced guidebooks and tip sheets that can be directly applied to your work as a scientific community manager. Concept booklets, on the other hand, focus more on supporting you in the  exploration of more abstract ideas, with reflection prompts to point you towards creating your own solutions or next steps. They’re less like a map or a clear set of directions, and more like some suggestions of places to visit. 

An illustration of a house party, featuring four guests dancing, drinking, and eating.
Image by Freepik

What’s in this one? 

In this first concept booklet, we’re focusing on the house party metaphor for community engagement. It’s a metaphor we’ve been using for years in our trainings and consultancy work, and have found it particularly useful for thinking though challenging scenarios or playing out potential solutions. 

At the beginning of November, we published a series of four blog posts that Katie and Lou worked on together. The first laid out the components of the metaphor and how they could be applied, and then in the remaining posts we used the metaphor to explore community scaffolding, community configuration, and creating and enforcing community participation guidelines

For our monthly community call, we created a series of reflection prompts to guide a conversation about the metaphor and how it can be expanded. We had a really creative and interesting discussion, and so we’ve also included these prompts in the booklet. 

How do you suggest I use the booklet? 

The booklet is clearly divided into four sections, and we do suggest you begin by reading the introductory chapter. From there, though, you can jump around as needed – maybe getting stuck straight into the reflection questions or exploring some of the additional reading we’ve included in each chapter. 

As we mentioned, the reflection questions instigated a great discussion on our community call, so we’d encourage you to use them at your own team meeting and see what happens! 

Are you going to make more of these? 

Yes! In the short term, we’ll be releasing two more concept booklets in the first part of 2024, focusing on two more metaphors for community engagement: the garden and the night sky. And we hope to keep these ideas flowing later into the year, so watch this space!

I have an idea for a future concept booklet, can I work on it with you?  

We would love to hear from you if you have an idea for a concept booklet! If it’s something you’re interested in co-writing, we regularly publish resources in collaboration with our community members. Or, if there’s an idea you think we should expand upon that you’ve noticed in our trainings or resources, let us know! You can always reach us at

In the meantime, we hope you enjoy this first concept booklet. If you find it useful, do let us know – we’re always curious how our resources impact the STEM community-building ecosystem.