Subjectified: Women, Science and Art

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Subjectified: Women, Science and Art

Balancing Science Today

Advocating for diversity in the scientific industry in new McManus display.

A new exhibit, Subjectified: Women, Science and Art has gone on show at The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum, and shares the stories of three scientists working at the University of Dundee.

The art-science collaboration explores women in physics as researchers, educators and as people in the Making of Modern Dundee Gallery at The McManus. Women and other gender minorities are increasingly present and accepted in today's sciences: both in industry and academia. But who are these women scientists as people? Silversmith Karen Westland set out to explore these ideas through their art practice and in the public exhibit which features modern ‘Cabinets of Curiosities’ and jewellery.

This exciting display offers insight into The University of Dundee’s astrophysicist Dr Aurora Sicilia Aguilar, material scientist Dr Charlotte Cochard and theoretical astrophysicist Dr Soko Matsumura’s connections with science. Included are scientific artefacts and personal effects from each and a bespoke item of jewellery made in response to what Karen learnt about each researcher during the collaboration. This display is an opportunity to see items connected to women in physics at the University of Dundee: their research, enthusiasms, and who they are.

Men currently hold a considerable majority in the physics sector in the UK, where there are typically less than a quarter of female students in physics departments. On the display: Karen said- “I hope people see that anyone can engage with subjects they find interesting, regardless of personal characteristics outside our control. Recognising the value a diverse range of people thinking and working in any industry can offer is key: and was important for us to ally with the Institute of Physics’ (IOP) for Subjectified, to support their industry-wide diversity and inclusion agenda.”

Gareth Jackson-Hunt, Museum Services Service Manager at Leisure and Culture Dundee said,

“We’re really pleased to be able to host this display. We have recently been considering our own collections from different standpoints to provide a more inclusive view that better reflects the diversity of the world we live in. So, to have this work on show complements our current exhibition and acquisitions in a really meaningful way.”

Karen Westland is lead on the Subjectified project, funded by the Institute of Physics Scotland and supported by staff at the University of Dundee and The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum. The display is on show until March 2023.

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