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New book featuring Swansea expert highlights diversity of research and researchers

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A new book which shows school pupils the diversity of research and of researchers includes a chapter by a Swansea expert in chemistry and climate change education who has learned that she is autistic.

Dr Jennifer Rudd spent a decade researching technological solutions to climate change before switching to a social science focus on how best to communicate with a wide audience about the climate emergency. She works in the University’s School of Management, speaking regularly on climate issues in the media.

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The new book, which is called “ResearcHER”, shows the true diversity of scholarship, and the women leading the way. It offers an A-Z of research and researchers from around the world, exploring who researchers are and what they really do, all whilst celebrating female scholarship.

Each short chapter offers an insight into a 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.

Dr Rudd’s chapter focuses on her work at interdisciplinary boundaries of climate change education, her experiences as a female in the chemical sciences, her autistic traits and her work on climate change education.

Dr Jennifer Rudd of Swansea University said: “The book is aimed at secondary school pupils to help them understand what academic research is, and how it isn’t just conducted by men and women in lab coats or stuck in stuffy offices.

It shows that researchers are very diverse: women from all backgrounds, from diverse geographies, people who are disabled or able-bodied, are transgender, nonbinary, queer. The message to pupils is that researchers look just like you, and you could be one too.”

Other case studies in the book 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.

Professor Tara Brabazon, Professor of Cultural Studies, Flinders University, Australia, and Professor of Higher Education, Massey University, New Zealand, said: “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.”

The book is published by the Women in Academia Support Network, which 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.

(Lead image: Swansea University)

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