PRISM Speakers - January 2019 Insights

We kicked off our Speakers events in 2019 with a review of the LGBTQ+ STEMinar by PRISM Exeter founder, Dr Claire L Davies, and an overview of the Scientists are Humans initiative by one of its founding members, Dr Alison Young.

The 2019 LGBTQ+ STEMinar was the fourth annual single-day seminar for LGBTQ+ researchers and students from Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEM), and the first to take place outside Yorkshire. The seminar series aims to showcase the work of LGBTQ+ people in STEMM and to provide a break from the typically cis-heteronormative work environments STEMM researchers are used to. It is organised by the LGBTQ+ STEM steering group.

The Scientists are Humans initiative was establish to promote kindness in scientific research. Alison particularly focussed on their manifesto for kindness in science which called on scientists to:

  • Be more understanding;
  • Develop a work-life balance;
  • Set kind deadlines;
  • Give thoughtful presentations and lectures;
  • Engage in kind peer review;
  • Build kind teams;
  • Give kind feedback;
  • Be more thoughtful when learning;
  • Participate in and organise friendly conferences;
  • Pause for thought.

Around 30 people attended the event and 11 of these responded to our feedback survey which asked how attendees heard about the event (72% via internal communications at work or university; 1 via word-of-mouth; 1 via social media; and 1 through Tech Exeter), which area of STEMM they worked or studied in (55% Science; 18% Tech; 27% Engineering; 9% Medicine), whether they would be willing to pay for future Speakers events (all but one said "no" or "yes if under £5"). They were also asked to specify whether they identified as LGBTQ+ (55% said "yes") and to self-describe their gender (3 female; 2 non-binary; 6 male).

We are grateful to City Gate Exeter for providing us with free hire of their quiet, accessible, private downstairs room.