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Art exhibition celebrates women in science

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An art exhibition exploring the link between women and science will launch at the University of St Andrews today (Wednesday 23 March).

Elements, an exhibition of works by artist Sophie McKay Knight, was inspired by conversations between young and established female researchers.

Launching at the Byre Theatre tonight, the exhibition is part of Chrysalis – a larger project combining art and science – with the aim of highlighting the role of women in science: the hurdles they face as well as the creativity and job satisfaction possible from a career in this sector.

Funded by the Biochemical Society Diversity in Science Fund, and the Wellcome Trust’s Institutional Strategic Support Fund, this University of St Andrews project both celebrates the successes of women in science and reflects on what is still needed regarding diversity.

A key aim is to examine how creativity and imagination are required as well as integrity and precision when pursuing scientific research.

Sophie McKay Knight has been working as a professional artist since 1997, regularly exhibiting throughout the UK. She has won awards for her paintings and has work in public and private collections locally and abroad. For Elements she asked women to send her images that were significant to them and their work and she then tried to incorporate these into her artworks.

Sophie said: “’Working with female scientists has been inspirational for me and my work. I have really enjoyed learning about their particular disciplines and have been privileged to visit some of them in their labs and work spaces. The work I have produced for Elements is an imaginative interpretation of all I have learned and observed throughout the process, and I’m sure will yield many future works.”

Dr Mhairi Stewart, Public Engagement Officer at the University, said: “A key legacy of this project will be the Chrysalis Conversation events which our staff and students have asked to continue.

“Many have said how incredibly useful these informal meetings are. This is pertinent to our aim of retaining and supporting women in science careers.”

Sophie previously teamed up with the School of Chemistry to present an exhibition, Molecular Self, which included an array of works influenced by the DNA molecule.


Notes to news editors:

For interviews or images please contact the press office.

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office, contactable on 01334 462530 or proffice@st-andrews.ac.uk.

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