The garden metaphor for community management: Tending to the many different plants in your garden

This post is part of an ongoing series exploring a number of metaphors about community management that can support conversations about specific concepts and common challenges in a creative and free-flowing manner.

You can read more about the series – and the accompanying community calls in our overview post. For each metaphor, there will be a blog post describing the metaphor and several additional posts applying it to specific scenarios. This post is the third in a series of four posts dissecting the garden metaphor. Previously, we described the house party metaphor and we subsequently published that series as a free-to-download booklet.

It’s rare for a garden to only contain one type of plant – in fact, if it did, we probably wouldn’t call it a garden, it would be an orchard, a rose bed, or even a field! And the same is true of communities. People with varied backgrounds and skill sets come together in a community over a shared purpose, but they don’t all have the exact same interests or availability. Some of their skill sets might overlap, and they might share similar schedules (e.g., members in a community of teachers might all share the same holidays), but it’s important as community managers that we appreciate our members’ differences and offer programming and activities to meet them where they are. After all – some people enjoy visiting a garden as a secluded space for a picnic, others appreciate marking the change of seasons with a box of veggies every couple of weeks, and you can tailor your programming to match. 

A illustration of a collection of varied house plants, each with it's own unique appearance and planted in a range of different pots.
Image by pch.vector on Freepik
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Coming up over the next few months – CSCCE Community of Practice programming update

We’re really looking forward to some new programming offerings we’ve put together for the rest of the year! Read on to find out what’s coming up and how to get involved. If you’re not already a member of our community of practice for community builders in STEM, you can request to join our Slack workspace here

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September’s Community Call – Quarterly Programming Update

We’re excited to share some new programming options for community members coming up over the next few months, as well as other CSCCE behind-the-scenes news, and so we hope you will join us on Wednesday, 22 September 2021 at 4pm UTC / 11am EDT for our quarterly programming update.

Note that this call will not be recorded, in order to facilitate frank discussion.

The September 2021 CSCCE Community Call will give an overview of our upcoming community programming, ways that you can get involved, and a sneak peek behind the scenes. Image credit: CSCCE

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July’s Community Call: CSCCE community profiles round two

This month, we’re showcasing a new collection of community profiles on our community call, and have invited four of the community managers who took part in this project to share their experiences. Join us on Wednesday, 21 July 2021 via Zoom, and read on for more details about the call. 

Join us to learn more about research into STEM communities. Image credit: the CSCCE. 

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April’s community call recap – An update on CSCCE community programming

Keeping our members regularly updated so that they can make informed decisions about where and when to engage is a core part of our communications strategy, and for our April 2021 community call we shared a quarterly update to make visible various things that have been happening so far this year. In this post, we give a summary of our community programming and related community projects over the last few months, as well as a sneak peek at what’s coming up over the summer. We will be sharing more information about our paid training offerings and sustainability planning, which we also discussed in the call, in future blog posts. 

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DEI Special Interest Group call recap: Decolonizing STEM

CSCCE Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are member-led groups focused on specific topics of scientific community management within CSCCE’s community of practice (request to join). You can find out more about CSCCE SIGs here. The CSCCE Diversity, Equity and Inclusion SIG is convened by Cassandra van Gould, Arielle Bennett-Lovell and Kate Baker, with significant support from an organising committee and the wider community. Community members can join the Slack channel #diversity_equity_inclusion_sig to get involved. 

On the 24th of November the first session of the CSCCE’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Special Interest Group (DEI SIG) took place. In this guest blog post, Esther Plomp and Arielle Bennett-Lovell, who co-convened the session, recap the meeting. You can also watch the three presentations in full. 

During the session, we considered the concept of decolonisation and how it can be put into practice by both researchers and scientific community managers. Decolonisation is both a reflection on the academy’s relationship to lands and people occupied by colonial powers, and the process of reconsidering how this relationship is manifested in a way that restores an equitable power balance. It is not a single action, or a programme, but a long term process requiring input and engagement from everyone. 

To gain a better perspective about the issue, we invited three speakers to show their perspective on decolonising science, and to offer some solutions to ensuring that the scientific research ecosystem is equitable. Below follows a summary of the talks given by Dr. Kate Baker, Dr. Thomas Mboa and Dr. Felicia Fricke. 

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First Birthday Series: Behind the scenes of community programming

For our “First Birthday Series” of blog posts, we are taking some time to reflect on CSCCE’s community of practice, which turned one year old on 21 October 2020. Our first post summarised the community “by the numbers,” and is a fun run-down of just how far we’ve come. In this post, we go a little deeper into the strategy and philosophy behind our programming. This post was jointly authored by Communications Director, Katie Pratt and Center Director, Lou Woodley.

A community of community managers

We are in a unique “meta” position at CSCCE in convening a community of community managers. That means members of our community of practice already know the potential value that’s waiting to be released when people with experience, knowledge, and ideas that are valuable to others in the group are brought together. Part of our job as community managers is to devise programming that supports the realization of that value, and that signposts to members what might be possible together. That’s true for CSCCE staff, as well as for our members as they support their own communities, although what that programming looks like will be specific to each community’s context.

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