Historians Shadowing Scientists Scheme

Are you a UK-based early career researcher or doctoral student in the history of science, technology and medicine with an interest in the role of gender in science? Would you be interested in shadowing a working woman scientist to gain a better understanding of what scientists do and the challenges women scientists face today?

WISRNet-Shadowing Application Form (Deadline NOW EXTENDED Monday 23 October 2013)

WISRNet Shadowing Scheme Flyer

Kingston University

About the WISRNet Shadowing Scheme

The shadowing scheme is designed for early-career historians and female scientists. Under the scheme early-career historians of science will have the opportunity to spend a day with a working female scientist. Note that this is a pilot scheme and as such we are only able to accept applications from people based in Britain at this stage. We are defining science in its very broadest sense, from traditional pure sciences such as physics, chemistry, biological sciences and mathematics, to the applied sciences of engineering, technology etc. We are also working with scientists undertaking a variety of types of role.

We aim to:

  • Promote a good understanding of contemporary scientific work and career patterns among historians (aiding a more subtle understanding of historical scientific careers)
  • Record brief life-history of the female scientists in the programme.
  • Make scientists more aware that historians can help to promote them and their work to the public.

We invite applications from British-based students (of either gender) currently enrolled in history of science/technology/medicine PhD programmes and British-based post-doctoral researchers in these fields not currently in permanent academic posts. Successful applicants will be paired with a female scientist in their locality, so it is important to tell us where you will usually be based during the period that the scheme will be running (November 2013 to February 2014) covering the scheme. If you have a preference for a particular field of science do let us know, but be aware that while we will try to match you with a scientist working in your preferred field, we cannot guarantee do this.

About the Scheme

The Royal SocietyWorkshop at the Royal Society

We aim to recruit between 10 and 20 historian:scientist pairings. The scheme will commence on Friday 1 November 2013 with a half-day seminar at the Royal society for participating historians. The seminar will involve presentations from: an archivist, highlighting the relative lack of records of female scientists in repositories; a historian, talking about interviewing techniques for drawing out the scientists’ stories; and a scientist, giving the historians some idea of what to expect. The seminar will also give the historians an opportunity to discuss what they want to get out of the scheme and to shape their interaction with scientists accordingly.


Shadowing takes place

Following the seminar historians and scientists will be paired, supplied with profiles of their partners and put in touch with each other to arrange their visits. The historian should spend the equivalent of one working day with their scientist and it is envisaged that the historian would visit the scientist at her place of work for two half-day sessions, although this is flexible and ultimately left to the pairs to decide what will work best for them (facilitated by the project team if necessary). The first visit would involve an introduction to the scientist’s work: this might include orientation within the research institution, sitting in on meetings with co-workers and observing work in laboratories (or other purpose-orientated spaces). If practical to do so, observers might be encouraged to participate in experiments. The second visit should centre around a conversation between the historian and the scientist, designed to elicit from the scientist information about their career path, early motivations,  aspirations etc,  but it should also include a discussion specifically about being a female scientist and the challenges/opportunities that entails. The historian might also want to talk briefly about her/his own research project, and explore ways in which historians and scientists  can usefully collaborate.

Findings Seminar

The visits can start as soon as is practical after the introductory seminar but should be completed by late January 2014. After the visits have taken place, participants will be invited to a further half-day seminar to discuss findings.

Historians will be encouraged to write up their experiences for blog posts on the WISRnet blog. They will also be invited to submit papers based on their findings to a panel at the International  Conference, ‘Revealing Lives: Women in Science 1830-2000’, which will be held at The Royal Society  on 22/23 May 2014.

There will be funds available to assist historians in travelling to their partners’ places of work.

How to apply

If you are interested in participating in this unique opportunity please download and complete the Application Form (see link above) and email (or post) it to s.e.hawkins@kingston.ac.uk BY THE DEADLINE OF MONDAY 21 October.

For more information contact Sue Hawkins at s.e.hawkins@kingston.ac.uk.

One Response to Historians Shadowing Scientists Scheme

  1. […] information about the scheme and how to apply is available on the Women in Science Research Network website. The application deadline is Monday 30 September […]

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