Be inspired!

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The ‘Be Inspired!’ Lecture series, which is free and open to the public, is a series of inspirational lectures and thought-provoking talks by successful figures under-represented in their field


Sue Liburd MBE DL: A Bag of Aspirations - reimagining what's possible

Inspired by the Bag of Aspirations, a sculpture designed by Kalliopi Lemos of the famous expensive and highly sought-after Hermès Birkin handbag, Sue offers fresh perspectives from her ‘Bag of Aspirations’ on how we can reimagine and change our relationship with bias to create a more gender-equal and inclusive world.

Watch again as we #BreakTheBias and celebrate International Women's Day 2022 with Sue Liburd MBE DL.


Prof mini saaj: a dream career in space engineering

Isn’t it exciting to be a space engineer? Mini will be sharing her fascinating journey from being a student who loved mathematics, to becoming a professor specialising in space engineering. In this inaugural lecture, Prof Mini Saaj will talk about her research in Space Robotics – in-space assembly of telescopes, servicing satellites, asteroid mining, and planetary surface exploration missions. Mini will talk about her vision on growing Space Engineering research at the University of Lincoln and discuss the challenges we need to address as a community. She will introduce a few national and international initiatives that she is part of, which has opened up exciting opportunities for researchers in Lincoln. Besides sharing her experience as a Space Roboticist, Mini will also cover her success stories in cross-sector research, spanning Medical Robotics, Agri-Robotics and Nuclear Robotics.

Prof marie-pierre moreau: care-full futures? transforming the care-free norms of hei

Those with caring responsibilities represent a significant presence in academia, both among students and staff. This is the case in the UK and in many other countries across the Global North and the Global South (Hook, Moreau and Brooks, forthcoming). Research on the topic highlights the multiple challenges faced by carers, including how they are often rendered invisible by the care-free norms of academia and misrecognised as they navigate the competing demands of two greedy institutions (higher education and 'the family', understood broadly). 

Marie-Pierre Moreau is Professor in Education and Education Research Lead in the School of Education and Social Care at Anglia Ruskin University. A sociologist by training, her interests are located at the nexus of education, work and inequalities.

Celebrating Ada Lovelace Day 2021

Watch again as we celebrate Ada Lovelace Day 2021 with a programme of short talks from women across the College of Science sharing their experiences from Lecturer to PVC, Head of College.

Sean Morton: "You're on mute!"

This Be Inspired! lecture recognises Disability History Month and the theme of Hidden Impairment. The lecture will delve into the history of hidden impairments and disability, explore how disability is defined by society, and focus on the challenges that people have historically faced - and may continue to face with hearing impairment.


Prof Matt Cook: Portable closets – secrets and lives in queer britain since gay liberation

Based on new research and interviews for the recent Queer Beyond London project, Matt Cook looks at how people’s backgrounds, families, and the places they live have made a portable closet a comforting, desirable and even enjoyable queer accessory in the years since gay liberation.




Prof Shane O’Neill: University today and the struggle against race-based inequalities

Students prepare themselves, through self-exploration, to give back to society in their personal relationships, in the exchange of services through the world of work and in democratic practices. Universities also engage in research and in fostering partnerships. These too should be focused on contributing to the realisation of effective social freedom for all citizens. One major obstacle to social freedom in contemporary societies, and within universities, is the enduring legacy of racism that has followed from a systematic process of racialised colonialism that has marked global history in the modern era. Today, there is an urgent need for universities to embrace a holistic, anti-racist plan of action, if they are not to allow this particular legacy to undermine their potential as instruments of social freedom.

Shane is a critical social theorist. He is currently Pro Vice-Chancellor for Planning and Advancement and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Keele University.

Dr Anna Tarrant: becoming a future (research) leader: a story of my academic journey

Anna tells the story of her journey to an award of a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship. These prestigious fellowships support researchers to make the transition from early to established career, as well as to internationalise their research.

Anna is an Associate Professor in Sociology based in the School of Social and Political Sciences, her research has broadly focused on men’s care responsibilities and support needs, particularly in low-income families. This work has been funded by a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship (2014–2018) and the Leeds Social Sciences Institute Impact Acceleration Account (2016–2017). Anna is currently a steering group member for the Fatherhood Development Programme and for the Aspiring to be a ‘Child Friendly Lincoln’ initiative called 'Children of Lincoln' chaired by Dr Sue Bond-Taylor. 

Prof Abigail Powell: the tenacity of social inequalities - what is the solution?

Gender inequality, racism, financial exclusion, homelessness, youth unemployment. These are just some of the social inequalities that policy-makers and others have been grappling with over recent decades. They are what some have called ‘wicked’ or complex problems; seemingly intractable issues, with multiple, hard to identify causes and no simple solution. In this lecture, Abigail brings together her research across social inequalities to understand the tenacity of gender inequality, financial exclusion and youth unemployment and examines society’s failure to shift the dial on these issues in any meaningful way. Drawing on sociological frameworks, including systems thinking and feminist institutionalism, Abigail argues that overcoming these issues requires a deeper understanding of the ecosystems in which they occur and the relationship between different parts of the systems, and calls for a move beyond quick-fix solutions.


Prof Stephanie Donald: From mao to migration, or ‘zigzag’ (allowed in scrabble as zig and zag)

Stephanie Hemelryk Donald is Distinguished Professor of Film at the University of Lincoln, She has previously worked as ARC Future Fellow (UNSW), as Dean of Media and Communication (RMIT), and Professor of Chinese Media (University of Sydney / UTS).

Prof Sue Black: If I can do it, so can you!

Sue is Professor of Computer Science and Technology Evangelist in the Department of Computer Science at Durham University. She is also a UK government advisor, thought leader, Trustee at Comic Relief, social entrepreneur, writer and public speaker.

Prof Sharon Bell: A marathon for change

Sharon is an academic leader with over twenty-five years of leadership experience in the Australian higher education sector. She is currently Deputy Vice Chancellor (Strategy and Planning) at Western Sydney University and an Honorary Professor at the Australian National University. She is also an Emeritus Professor at the University of Wollongong.

Prof Liz Mossop: What we don’t know we are learning – the power of the hidden curriculum

Liz is Deputy Vice Chancellor for Student Development and Engagement at the University of Lincoln. She is a veterinary surgeon who graduated from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh and worked for several years in a private veterinary practice before commencing her academic career. She has a Masters degree and PhD in Clinical Education, and was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship from the Higher Education Academy in 2016.

Graham Andre: No more boys and girls

Graham is a primary school teacher working on the Isle of Wight. He has always worked in the education sector, starting as a teaching assistant and having various roles before doing a part-time degree and completing his GTP six years ago. He now sits on the Steering Group of the Gender Equality Collective working with schools, homes and businesses to bring about gender equality. The GEC Challenges gender imbalance through a growing community of supporters. 


Ann Daniels: Leading the way at 50 below – tales of a polar explorer

In 2002, Ann became the first woman in history to ski to the North and South Poles as part of all women teams. Experiencing temperatures as low as -50C and dealing with various encounters with Polar bears, she has sledge-hauled over 3000 miles, in the most inhospitable environments in the world, completing over 10 polar expeditions and surviving over 400 days on the ice.  She understands the importance of good planning, hard work and a positive attitude in the most difficult circumstances.  As a Polar guide and the only leader of all 3 Catlin Arctic surveys she is living proof that good leadership, teamwork and a positive mental attitude counts and does make a difference to the success of a team. 

Prof Jennifer Saul: On being a woman in a male-dominated field

Jennifer is the Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield. Because Philosophy sits within the humanities, and is not a STEM subject, most people are surprised to learn that it is a male-dominated field.  In fact, only 24% of philosophers in the UK are female (17% in the US) - statistics comparable to some of the most male-dominated STEM subjects.

Dr Kate Carruthers Thomas: My brilliant career – and other stories

Kate is Research Fellow and Project Manager for the Athena SWAN project at Birmingham City University.

Prof Kerstin Meints: Research with children and animals

Kerstin is the Director of the Lincoln Infant and Child Development Lab, at the University of Lincoln. Next to research on children’s development of language, categorisation and trust, she focuses on comparative and applied research in human-animal interaction, especially dog bite prevention, assessing interventions and investigating children’s and adults’ misinterpretations of dogs’ facial and body signalling.

Sean Morton: 10 Reasons to be a nurse (and 5 more for men to join us!)

Sean is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Health and Social Care. He qualified as a Registered Nurse in 1993. It is evident that there is still a perception that nursing is a female profession – it ihas been sexualised, and is simply not 'macho' enough to appeal to men. As the number of men entering the nursing profession remains persistently low, a change is now needed to mitigate this under-representation.

Ruchi Aggarwal: Off the sticky floor

Ruchi is the Director for Business Development at the Lincoln International Business School. She has worked with diverse industry sectors – Sports @ Scottish Rugby, in the UK; Telecom @ Vodafone in India; and IT @ Microsoft, in India – before joining the Higher Education sector at the University of Lincoln in 2016.


Dr Meredith Nash: What is it like to be a woman in STEMM? Gender bias, sexual harassment, and the myth of meritocracy

Meredith is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Social Sciences, University of Tasmania, Australia. She is an interdisciplinary researcher in the fields of sociology of gender, health sociology, and human geography. Women are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) fields worldwide, particularly in leadership positions. In this presentation, Meredith discusses her findings from a mixed-methods sociological study drawing on the experiences of 25 women in STEMM fields who were all participants in a three-week transformational leadership program in Antarctica in 2016.

Dame Stephanie 'Steve' Shirley DBE: A woman's story

Dame Stephanie 'Steve' Shirley CH DBE FREng FBCS is a British information technology pioneer, businesswoman and philanthropist. Her inspiring talk, tells her story about being a woman in business and what it takes to be a success in a world that was not, and is still not, equal. Interestingly, Dame Shirley describes herself as a 'humanist', but not a feminist.


Dr Araxi Urrutia: Random reflections on genes, genomes and being a woman in science

Dr Araxi Urrutia is a Senior Lecturer in genetics at the University of Bath where she leads a research group working in the area of functional genomics. Araxi obtained a PhD at the University of Bath, UK and then took a postdoctoral position in the USA. Following a three year maternity break, she returned to science as a volunteer postdoc and later secured a L’Oreal UK Women in Science Fellowship and a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellowship. Currently based at Bath, Araxi has been the recipient of a Biochemical Society Early Career Award in recognition to her contributions to functional and evolutionary biology. Araxi has a long-standing commitment towards gender equality, she was awarded a SHE inspiring women award and named a Rising Talent by the Women’s forum for society and the economy, she is a member of the University of Bath Athena SWAN team and chairs the Athena SWAN self-assessment team in her Department

Prof Lesley Yellowlees CBE: Women in Science: What did chemistry ever do for me?

Professor Yellowlees is the Vice Principal and Head of College, College of Science & Engineering, University of Edinburgh. “As the first woman president of the Royal Society of Chemistry in its 171 year history I am passionate about inspiring and increasing the numbers of women studying and working in the sciences. It is of great concern that the majority of women with qualifications in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects do not work in STEM areas in Scotland.  This is in contrast to men. The consequence is a serious loss to the economy and to the subject area. The ‘leaky pipeline’ as it has been christened has significant implications for skills shortages in STEM areas. This is not a problem unique to Scotland but what can be done to fix the leak?

So why do so many female scientists opt not to have a career in STEM? If there was only one reason then it would be easier to tackle. Instead there are many, such as long working hours, lack of support, unconscious bias, macho culture, family considerate working conditions, inflexible funding structures, isolation. Some of these reasons are real and some are perceptions but the distinction between these two doesn’t really matter. In contrast I have had a very positive experience in Chemistry and try and make it a priority to remember the help and support I was given and to give back. Statistics, observations and recollections will all feature in the presentation” 

Dr Dawnie Steadman: If Only Bones Could Talk​

Dr Dawnie Steadman, a world-leading forensic anthropologist and Director of the Forensic Anthropology Centre, USA, will open Lincoln’s Be Inspired Series with a lecture about her research, her participation in international forensic investigations (from ‘9/11’ to the search for victims of the Spanish civil war), and share with us her journey to the top of her field.

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