From education to employment

ResearcHER inspires women in research careers

Accessible new book, ResearcHER, inspires a new generation of women by celebrating diversity within research careers.

Jacket Image

ResearcHERThe Power and Potential of Research Careers for Women

Authored by Women in Academia Support Network

Publication: 12th Sept 2022

PB, £16.00, ISBN: 9781803827346, Emerald Books

Professor Tara Brabazon, Professor of Cultural Studies, Flinders University, Australia, and Professor of Higher Education, Massey University, New Zealand says:

So often – too often – women are invisible.  Marginal. Marginalised…  ResearcHER rewrites the story we have heard all our lives.  This powerful book introduces not only a group of remarkable international women researchers, but reveals the power of their diversity.

What does a researcher look like?  What types of research can you do?

The Women in Academia Support Network (WIASN) is here to show us that not all researchers or all research careers look the same.  Not all academics are men who spend their working lives in labs, or in dark offices surrounded by dusty books. A research career can mean working in theatres or schools, influencing policy, working with the world’s leading brands and businesses, and much, much more.

Designed to inspire the next generation, ResearcHER celebrates the true diversity of scholarship, and the incredible women leading the way. ResearcHER presents a collection of member stories from around the world, exploring who researchers are and what they really do.

Each short, digestible chapter offers an insight into a passionate real-life researcher, their background and journey into a research career, what they’re currently researching, their top tips for budding researchers, and fun facts and activities to do.  Often, these women have overcome the odds to forge their careers – trying to balance the care of children with working life; dealing with physical and mental illness, prejudice and financial hardships.   

The global case studies include Maria McLennan (based in Scotland), an award-winning Forensic Jeweller and member of the LQBTQIA+ community who is tattooed from head-to-toe; Alison Upshaw (based in Alabama), a storyteller and professionally trained opera singer; Jessica Korte (based in Australia) who researches participatory design with deaf children and Fatima A. Junaid (based in New Zealand) who comes from Pakistan’s most conservative province and who has stood up to institutional injustices.

ResearcHER smashes stereotypes to show you that not all researchers are men. They can be women from all backgrounds, they come from diverse geographies, are disabled and able-bodied, are transgender, nonbinary, queer. Researchers look just like you, and you could be one too.

ResearcHER is about diverse people, diversity of thought and diversity of career. The book intends to not only inspire but to also appreciate women’s contributions to solving the world’s most pressing problems, developing new solutions, ways of thinking and being.

Dr Kelly Pickard-Smith, Co-Author.

About the Authors:

The Women in Academia Support Network (WIASN) aims to provide a safer space for all women in academia at every level to support each other, to build networks and to share knowledge, in order to enable women to better navigate academia, and to support women in their various roles inside and outside the academy.

WIASN now have over 13,000 members, from PhD to Vice Chancellor, in over 100 countries and different research sectors. They cover all sectors where researchers are active including the NHS, charity, government and the private sector.

Dr Kelly Pickard-Smith: Kelly grew up in Wythenshawe, once of the most deprived areas in the UK. Kelly came to higher education as an adult through a six-year distance degree with the Open University sitting her final exams at 32 years old, two weeks before her first son was born.   She studied her MA with two children under two years while working as a tutor to support disadvantaged young people into education and employment. After doing a PhD, she won a scholarship to the University of Manchester where she used improvisational drama and film to explore people’s experiences of mathematics education. Kelly is also disabled with chronic long-term illness and an obsessive-compulsive disorder. She is a strong advocate against disability discrimination.

Dr Amy Bonsall: Amy has researched how Shakespeare had been adapted in the African country of Malawi, working with local professional actors to put on a performance of Romeo ndi Julieti (Romeo and Juliet). Amy is dyslexic and has obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Achieving her PhD was a huge highlight for her, especially as she was not invited back to high school to do A-level as they said she didn’t understand Shakespeare! Amy has won awards for her work on disability advocacy in higher education and research. Amy founded WIASN. As an international theatre director, Amy works with professional companies to bring theatre to life for public audiences.

Professor Eleonora Belfiore: Eleonora researches cultural politics and policy and the social impact of the arts on British culture and politics. Eleonora is internationally renowned in her field and is the Journal Editor for Cultural Trends. A Sicilian living in the UK, Eleonora has brought a unique perspective to the cultural sector and UK cultural arts policy and has received prestigious Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) research council funding to explore everyday participation and the connecting of communities through arts and culture. Eleonora is also a strong disability rights advocate sharing her lived experience of the process of ADHD diagnosis.

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