Is IC an art or a science? I’m pretty sure it’s both.

Emma Moncur-Kemp explores her path into IC via science as part of our #IChoseIC series

24 Nov 2023
by Emma Moncur-Kemp

I didn’t set out to work in comms. Actually, I always felt a bit envious of people who just knew what they wanted to do and went after it with a passion. Because I didn’t have a clue. And when - after a few twists and turns - I chose IC, it was still a bit of an experiment. Now I know: it’s the perfect blend of critical thinking, people and creativity to suit a sort-of scientist who loves stories.

The longish and slightly windy road from Chemistry to IC

I started out studying chemistry. I loved the process of finding out why and how things work. I learned how to unpick a problem, to look at something from all angles and ask lots of questions, then to think creatively and test ideas for solutions. All skills I couldn’t do without now I’m working in internal engagement and comms.

When I finished my degree, I realised that life in the lab was not for me. I took a job editing research papers for a scientific publisher in Germany and discovered a love of language. I already knew I loved to read. My first ‘grown-up’ job showed me that I love everything about words, especially when they help me to make a connection with someone. I picked up skills in paying attention to detail, diplomacy (not every author loves your edits!) and building relationships too.

From there, I wound my way through a variety of interesting roles in science education and public engagement, wider educational mar-comms and consultancy. It was while I was working with a network of researchers spread across Europe that I discovered IC. My official role was all about helping them share their research with the public, but to achieve that I soon found myself looking inside the network. Finding ways to connect researchers in different countries, roles and specialisms with one another; figuring out how to get them excited about what they were doing together and all telling the same story about the network and its goals. After all, they were in the network because they had a shared purpose, weren’t they?

That lit a spark in my mind and I took a leap into internal change comms and engagement, working for a consultancy focused on helping organisations through transformation. Before long (well, a couple of years and a baby later!) I landed an in-house internal engagement and comms role. And the rest, as they say, is history.

What I see in IC

For me, IC is a stimulating, varied, challenging blend of art and science - every day is different and it gives me a chance to make a difference to the people I work with and the organisation I work in.

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