One of the aims of the conference is to provide development opportunities for delegates and all of the speakers were invited to attend a workshop on public speaking and science communication the day before the event.
Professor Peter Coles, Professor of Theoretical Physics at Maynooth University in Ireland gave the closing keynote speech, exploring his experiences being out as a researcher in astrophysics. He called for institutions and organisations to run a greater number of smaller scale events throughout the year, to keep up the momentum generated by the conference and further embed some of its aims and values.
People are being their truest selves and when you're bringing that openness to the table that can lead to a more inclusive atmosphere
“I think having more local events would be good,” said Lucy Wheeler, chemistry PhD student at the University of York. “It's a big undertaking to do one annual event and I know this year it was quite oversubscribed.
“It’s really great, the atmosphere is so friendly, people are laughing… it's a very light atmosphere. I think a big part of that is that we all know we have some common ground but there isn't that sense of competition that you sometimes get with very subject specific conferences. Here, no one else is an expert in anyone else's science so everyone's here to learn.
“In coming here, everyone's opening up a part of themselves that isn't always the easiest part to open up. People are being their truest selves and when you're bringing that vulnerability and openness to the table then that can lead to a more inclusive atmosphere.”
The event was attended by members of senior leadership from all three organising societies, with Professor Paul Hardaker, CEO of the IOP, Philip Diamond, Executive Director of the RAS, and Dr Helen Pain, our deputy CEO, all addressing the delegates. The societies also presented a poster with some of the preliminary findings of our upcoming LGBT+ physical sciences climate report, due to be published in April. The report is the result of a survey and interviews, which gathered the perspectives of LGBT+ people working, studying or teaching in the physical sciences.