BBC Academy women experts training day

On Friday (January 18th 2013) I had a hugely exciting day at the BBC Academy, White City in London. I went on a course that was part of an intitiative to increase the number of women experts on tv, radio and online. 30 women took part as trainees and we’d been selected from over 2000 applicants, I was so lucky to get a place and felt even luckier when I read the biographies about the other women attending, they are all amazing.

Image from BBC Academy Flickr Photostream
Image from BBC Academy Flickr Photostream

After an inspiring and entertaining introduction from the likes of space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock and journalist/author Daisy Goodwin, my ‘science specialists’ group went into ‘The Business of the Business’ meeting with various tv and radio media types. Here we learnt about the inside of the business which was helpful for us newbies who understand the insides of a laboratory far better than the inside of the media. This event was filmed and is available on the BBC Academy site. We then went to a tv studio to film a BBC ‘The One Show’ style interview. I went with Elizabeth Pearson (a physics expert) and we answered questions posed by Gwenan Edwards all about space and, for me, comets 🙂

Image from BBC Academy Flickr Photostream
Image from BBC Academy Flickr Photostream

Next was the networking lunch which flew by so quickly and I met so many people (most of whom I need to compose some emails to this week). It was a really useful meeting, everyone was so interested in what we did and really supportive. It’s nice to know that some other people love comets and asteroids too! Hopefully we can see some more of about them on tv/radio/online soon.

After lunch we did a Radio 4 style discussion interview about ‘Why are girls not studying science’. The presenter was Liz Barclay, she was so professional and made it great fun. If I can make the recorded interview available on here then I’ll do it.

Finally we did our ‘piece-to-camera’. We got a few practices and so it was interesting to see how we improved with a bit of input about our style from the BBC people training us.

The take home message: Be yourself + 10%. Right, I’ll try to figure out how much extra my 10% is now then.

We finished the day and I battled my way home through the snow, dealing with a cancelled train, a very hot tube journey followed by a delayed train that eventually got me home to some well deserved fish and chips.

Plans now? Well, get myself started with the media things. I think I’ll start with some online things/podcasts and see if there are any radio opportunities.

Why am I doing this? Well, the statistics are appalling, on some tv programmes there are fewer than 2 women for every 10 men appearing as experts. No wonder young girls are shying away from studying science. I don’t know if I can inspire young women into science but I’m hoping that by advertising what I do, and making it a bit more accessible to young people that it might just work. Afterall, who can’t find space science interesting.  Have a read of this Telegraph article for Alice Arnold’s views on the day. Also, the head of the BBC Academy, Anne Morrison, also wrote a few words on her blog which you can read here.

My first blog!

Wow, my first ever blog. So, I plan to write updates as and when I do exciting things science research- or outreach- related. From time to time I will try to discuss some interesting new things that are happening in general science…I’m not just interested in space and volcanoes!!