PRISM Speakers - July 2020 Insights

Our second event of 2020 took place on July 8th. Due to restrictions on the size of in-person gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was moved online.

Twenty seven people attended the event on Zoom and listened to talks from University of Exeter PhD student, Aaron Labdon, and local freelance DevOps Engineer, Cariad Eccleston.

Aaron spoke about his astrophysics research, explaining how he uses high angular resolution astronomical techniques to study the birth sites of planets. Cariad spoke about reading and publishing on the web safely and explained how onion routing can help to keep you safe and secure when accessing LGBTQ+ content online in countries or communities which may try to limit access to said content. Recordings of the talks are available to watch below.

Please note that audience questions and comments have been removed from the recordings to protect the anonymity of attendees.

Holding this event online presented us with some organisational challenges but it also provided us with an opportunity to reach a wider audience. Of the people attending the event, a little under half were from outside the Exeter area. Three attendees joined us from locations outside of the UK, specifically Chile, India, and Canada.

With that in mind, it is unsurprising that, in addition to seeing some familiar faces at the event, we had a large number of first time attendees. When attendees were asked how they found out about the event, the responses included "work emails", "social media" (Facebook, Twitter and other social media), and "word of mouth". We're grateful to everyone who helped us to promote this event.

Attendees were also asked about whether or not they identify as LGBTQ+. In holding these events, we aim to showcase the fact that the people working in STEMM are as diverse as the work that they do. We feel it is important to have open conversations about being LGBTQ+ in STEMM and hope to help inspire future generations to take up STEMM subjects. It is important that our events continue to attract both LGBTQ+ individuals and allies alike.

We are grateful to financial assistance from the Biochemical Society - all our events and activities in 2020 were organised using Diversity in Science grant funds awarded to our "Taking pride in STEMM" project - as well as support from the University of Exeter and the Institute of Physics South West branch.