Soapbox Science entered its 7th year in 2017, and brought a summer of excitement, fun, and fantastic science. In 2017 we grew and expanded to be bigger and better than before, with 12 events running in the UK (Belfast, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Exeter, Galway, Hull, London, Milton Keynes, Newcastle and Swansea) and five events organised abroad. This included our two first German events in Berlin (in June and November), one event in Townsville (Australia) and our two first North American events in Toronto (in May and September). Our original plans also included bringing Soapbox Science to Palermo, Italy, but due to unforeseen circumstances, this event had to be postponed to a later date. On top of this, Soapbox Science explored new avenues with four Art & Science events which took place in art festivals around the UK. We ran four of these events in 2017, in Leeds, Lincoln, London and Oxford.
Our initiative has two aims: to bring the opportunity to meet and interact with scientists to places you wouldn’t normally expect, and to increase the visibility of women in science. The importance of role models in both encouraging the next generation of scientists and supporting those already working in these male-dominated fields is well recognised. Soapbox Science helps challenge gender stereotypes that are established early in life by increasing the visibility of women in science and through locating events in popular public spaces like parks, high streets and beaches. With speakers ranging from PhD students to Pro Vice-Chancellors, Soapbox Science showcased the full spectrum of the academic career path, and gave speakers themselves the chance to meet and network with other women in science. Our events are open to the public, free of charge, and great fun. Expect props, demonstrations and specimens, not to mention bags of passion and enthusiasm!