Diversity in science made priority at festival to stamp out discrimination

Sam Rowe is one of the co organisers. 

Sam Rowe is one of the co-organisers of the events. - Credit: Sam Rowe

Every year tens of thousands of people enter the workforce - many choosing a career based on those who inspire them. 

But when people think of scientists the image may not be something everyone can relate to. 

Which is why Norwich Science Festival is prioritising diversity in the field at their event this year. 

This October the team is celebrating LGBTQ+ scientists in a series of exciting events.  

Ro Procter of Norwich Science Festival and Dr Sam Rowe of the Earlham Institute are collaborating with Pride in STEM to celebrate the diversity of roles in STEM-jobs related to science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine. 

The LGBTQ+ in STEMM events are sponsored by the Royal Society of Chemistry. 

The move has come in response to reports of discrimination and harassment which are disproportionally experienced by the LGBTQ+ community.  

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A 2019 report from the Institute of Physics, Royal Astronomical Society and Royal Society of Chemistry highlighted that 28pc of LGBTQ+ STEMM respondents had at some point considered leaving their workplace. 

This is as a direct result of the climate or discrimination towards LGBTQ+ people.  

The Norwich Science Festival runs from 23 - 30 October 

The Norwich Science Festival runs from 23 - 30 October - Credit: The Norwich Science Festival

The aim of the exhibition is to specifically highlight and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community to establish new support networks, highlight local research projects, and show that STEMM is for everyone. 

“No matter who you are, we want to support an open and inclusive world where everyone can be themselves and share their thoughts and experiences on an equal platform,” said Ro. 

Mini talks will be held on Saturday, October 23.

And throughout the event visitors will be asked what they think a scientist looks like.

Ro Procter is one of the co organisers. 

Ro Procter is one of the co-organisers. - Credit: Ro Procter

An exhibition will then be held to break down assumptions of what STEMM looks like.  

All the designs and illustrations have been produced by artist and anatomist, Charlie James. 

Pride is STEM aims to inspire LGBTQ+ people to get into STEM subjects. 

Pride is STEM aims to inspire LGBTQ+ people to get into STEM subjects. - Credit: Pride is STEM

Events to promote diversity also include a meet the scientist session on October 29.

'Out Thinkers: Celebrating LGBQT+ in STEMM' will be held on October 23 from 8pm to 10pm. 

All events will be held at the auditorium in the forum and the cost is free. 

You can book tickets via the Science Festival website. 

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