To create my poems for this residency, I interviewed physicists and wrote poems based their stories. Instead of writing poems directly about physics I wanted to write about the human side of the research process. I asked my interviewees to tell me about their careers, their high points and low points, pivotal moments and challenges, and selected key moments to turn into poems. When choosing interviewees, I specifically wanted to talk to people from minoritised backgrounds that are underrepresented in STEM, but also wanted to make sure they did not feel pressured to discuss diversity in any way and focus on their work and interests instead. Thank you so much Rucha, Temi, Femi, Siddhi and Linda for your stories, and to Brendan Owens for sending the IOP physicists my way. And special thank you to designer Gareth Jones for his amazing work designing the pamphlet!
The pamphlet is free to download below.
On Wednesday the 28th of June, students self selected workshops to participate in. The options included Comedy debate, Musical society and the Creativity in STEM workshop. We had 16 students in the room. Chandrika had created a perfectly pitched and paced 90 min workshop. She was extremely warm and welcoming and did a beautiful job of setting norms and expectations of behaviour and engagement. She began with writing exercises which all of the students worked away on and even shared their work. Students really relaxed into the process and were engaged the entire time. Next was a group exercise where students shared the type of STEM discipline they were interested in and why, drawing from this shared document students were tasked with composing a poem. Chandrika then showed a fascinating clip from 'The Summer of Soul' documentary where people are discussing the moon landing and how it relates to their communities. This seeded a discussion about 'who is Science for?' which was a really energising topic for the students. The workshop was excellent from start to finish. It really broadened the student perspective on ways to engage with STEM and the creative arts.'