PRISM Exeter

A network for LGBTQ+ individuals and their allies working and studying in the local Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) sector.

Who we are

PRISM (Pride and Representation in STEMM Matters) was established in July 2018 to provide a network for professionals and students working and studying within the STEMM sector in and around Exeter.

Our foundation followed conversations between Exeter-based STEMM professionals who volunteered at (or visited) the Institute of Physics South West branch's stall at Exeter Pride in May 2018.

Together, we found that

  • Many local STEMM sector businesses did not have LGBTQ+ networks or provide support/contact networks for other under-represented or minority groups;
  • Where larger STEMM sector businesses did have LGBTQ+ networks, they held events only as far south west as Bristol;
  • There are very few role models to inspire local LGBTQ+ youth into STEMM fields and break the cis-normative and hetero-normative view of STEMM in the media and in society;
  • Being openly LGBTQ+ at work was perceived by some to be unprofessional.

Most importantly and shockingly, it was clear from conversations that both indirect and direct discrimination and harassment related to sexuality, gender identity, and gender expression takes place within the sector.


Our aims

We acknowledge that progress on matters of LGBTQ+ inclusion requires greater awareness and action from people who do not identify as LGBTQ+. You are our allies.

We recognise that discussions surrounding LGBTQ+ inclusion cannot happen without considering broader equality, diversity inclusion in STEMM. We are your allies.

Our aim, as PRISM Exeter, is to provide:

  • A space for local STEMM professionals and students to meet, network, and share ideas with fellow LGBTQ+ individuals and allies of the LGBTQ+ community;
  • A platform for the work of LGBTQ+ professionals to be championed and celebrated.
  • A welcoming environment for the successes (and failures) of all equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives to be shared among the local STEMM sector.

PRISM Speakers

Our Speakers series showcases the incredible work of LGBTQ+ people in STEMM and game-changing diversity and inclusion initiatives from across the UK.

Next Speakers event (online and in-person): November 17th, 2021. Find out more

Devon Libraries Partnership

We have partnered with Devon Libraries and the Business and IP Centre Devon to add new titles themed around workplace inclusion and LGBTQ+ STEMM to their collections.

Monthly Newsletter

We produce and distribute a monthly newsletter containing LGBTQ+ STEMM news from Exeter, the South West, and further afield, including links to resources and reports on LGBTQ+ inclusion in STEMM.

STEMM at Exeter Pride

Since 2018, the coordinators of PRISM Exeter have orchestrated the involvement of the local STEMM sector in Exeter Pride.

Queer STEMM Champions

We run a competition for students to champion the life and work of an LGBTQ+ STEMM professional. 2019/20 competition winners were invited to speak at a celebratory event at the University of Exeter as part of LGBT History Month.

Diversity in ExIST

PRISM Exeter coordinators share a seat on the steering group of Exeter Chamber of Commerce's Initiative for Science and Technology (ExIST).

PRISM founder, Dr Claire L. Davies, was interviewed for ExIST's Insight Magazine about the importance of LGBTQ+ inclusion in STEMM.

Careers fairs

We showcase the diverse nature of STEMM and the people who work in the sector at careers fairs and LGBTQ+ events across Exeter.

Our impact

We regularly undertake impact assessments to measure the effectiveness of our activities and identify potential ways to improve. These are used to assist our applications for funding and support (which keep our events and activities free to access!) and to ensure we are meeting our aims.

Access event details, attendee feedback, and attendee demographics using the links below.

Speakers - November 2021

We marked LGBTQ+ STEMM Day with talks from Dr Jon Davies (RILD, University of Exeter) and Alexandre Coates (Heriot Watt University)

Speakers - July 2021

We celebrated PRISM Exeter's 3rd birthday with talks from Dr Layal Hakim (University of Exeter) and Alexis Hoyland (Office for National Statistics)

Speakers - February 2021

We marked LGBTQ+ History Month with talks from Dr Alex Dudgeon (University of Exeter) and Dr Melissa Brooks (Met Office)

Speakers - November 2020

We marked LGBTQ+ STEMM Day with talks from Dr Natasha Stephen (University of Plymouth) and Professor Rob Appleby (University of Manchester)

Resources

There have been a number of reports conducted to survey the experiences of LGBTQ+ students and professionals to identify barriers to inclusion and progression within Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM). For instance,

  • 45 % of LGBTQ+ students are bullied for being LGBTQ+ in Britain's schools. This rises to 64 % for Trans* pupils. [The School Report, Stonewall (2017)]
  • LGBQ+ undergraduate students are less likely to be retained within STEM. [B E Hughes. (2018) Coming out in STEM: Factors affecting retention of sexual minority STEM students. Science Advances, 4:3, eaao6373]
  • Faculty who are 'out' as LGBTQ+ in STEM are 7.2 times more likely to experience exclusionary behaviour from colleagues. [E V Patridge, R S Barthelemy, S R Rankin (2014), Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, 20:1, 75]

We have collated a non-exhaustive list of reports and articles in relation to this area and extracted lists of key findings into a resources list. Links to the original articles and reports are included, with a note if institutional access may be required to bypass a paywall.

Recipients of our newsletter will be notified when new articles and reports are added to this list.

Stay in touch

Do you want to get involved with PRISM Exeter, establish a link between PRISM Exeter and your employer, or speak at one of our future events? Then get in touch with us via email using the link below.

For news and updates, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook and subscribe to our mailing list.

We look forward to hearing from you!