Athena SWAN Panel and Networking at RGS-IBG AC2015

Ian Cook (University of Exeter) and Hilary Geoghegan (University of Reading) have worked with the RGS-IBG (Catherine Souch and Sarah Evans) to prepare two Athena SWAN sessions at the RGS-IBG Annual Conference in Exeter.

The sessions are scheduled for Friday 4 September and will take place in Peter Chalk Rooms 1.2 & 1.3.

Session 1 – Panel discussion


Hilary Geoghegan (University of Reading) will chair the panel, and will start things off with a brief introduction (up to 5 minutes?) explaining some of the reasons that sit behind organising these two sessions and the plan for the two sessions

Gemma Tracey (ECU) will give an introduction to Athena SWAN and an overview of how things currently stand, and particularly the expansion into AHSSBL departments. We anticipate this will last 15-20 minutes

Mark Goodwin (University of Exeter) will then offer comments (c. 10 minutes) from his perspective as a senior university administrator involved with Athena SWAN, including experience of chairing the Exeter Athena SWAN working group and of acting as an assessor

Rob Bell (Imperial College London) will then offer comments (c. 10 minutes) from his perspective as an administrator involved with Athena SWAN, including experience of supporting departmental applications and acting as an assessor

Jo Little (University of Exeter) will then offer comments (c. 10 minutes) on wider issues of gender and geography as an academic discipline, as these relate to Athena SWAN and beyond

There will be 40-45 minutes for open discussion and Q&A.

This will be followed by:

Session 2 – Interactive Workshop with Action Points

This session will focus around the following 5 sets of questions:

1. Good Practice: What’s been the most successful Athena SWAN action you’ve implemented? How have you successfully engaged those initially sceptical of Athena SWAN?
2.Geography and Athena SWAN: What are the particular challenges facing Geography departments? What makes a good Departmental Athena SWAN committee?
3. Institutional Support: What support is available outside of your Department, for example, in the provision of quantitative and survey data by your college or university?
4. Challenging Established Practice: Has Athena SWAN forced a major rethink of an established practice in your department?
5. Moving Forward as a Community: What support could the wider geographical community offer Athena SWAN departments? What role should the RGS-IBG play?

The general plan is to divide into 5 groups, each with a rapporteur to guide discussion. Then coming back together for the last 30 minutes for a larger group discussion on action points and future directions. This will be facilitated by Ian and Hilary.

Whether you’re involved in your department’s Athena SWAN award or not – all are welcome to attend. The session intends to consolidate the existing network of Athena SWAN geography departments, particularly as other charter marks come online. If you can’t attend in person – please see the conference hashtag. We also plan to circulate the findings of the workshop via the RGS-IBG in the Autumn.

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