Worth a shot

Sci­en­tist selfie project chal­lenges gen­der and race stereo­types

THE (Times Higher Education) - - CONTENTS -

Hun­dreds of re­searchers have posted on so­cial me­dia pic­tures of them­selves do­ing their work in a bid to chal­lenge gen­der and race stereo­types.

The #Sci­en­tist­sWhoSelfie cam­paign on In­sta­gram fea­tures pho­tos of re­searchers do­ing work-re­lated tasks such as help­ing sea tur­tles hatch in the Caribbean, study­ing the ge­ol­ogy of Crater Lake in a US na­tional park, and work­ing un­der pro­tec­tive cloth­ing in a UK nu­clear lab­o­ra­tory.

The selfie move­ment is part of a re­search project, led by Paige Jar­reau, a science com­mu­ni­ca­tor at Louisiana State Univer­sity, that is de­signed to see whether sci­en­tists can chal­lenge the stereo­type that re­searchers are male and white. Many peo­ple fear that this im­age de­ters women and eth­nic mi­nori­ties from pur­su­ing a ca­reer in the field.

The study will also ex­plore whether self­ies can be used to pro­mote pub­lic trust in science, at a time when it is be­ing chal­lenged by the rise of pop­ulist politi­cians.

Dr Jar­reau said that she has been “very sur­prised” by the re­sponse from re­searchers since the project started ear­lier this month. “I had no idea that the #Sci­en­tist­sWhoSelfie move­ment would catch on so quickly,” she said.

More than 4,250 posts on Twit­ter and In­sta­gram have men­tioned the hash­tag, and more than 270 sci- en­tist self­ies have now been posted on In­sta­gram with the hash­tag, she added.

The re­search project will look at whether sci­en­tists should per­son­alise their In­sta­gram­feeds with pho­tos of them­selves or keep them purely pro­fes­sional by us­ing im­ages of their


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