As well as monthly individual project meetings, the FEMM Hub meet in-person every quarter to update and gain feedback on their progress. This quarter, we met at Newcastle University on the 6th and 7th of December. Twenty-three members of the team arrived on Tuesday the 6th to a welcome from FEMM Hub Newcastle lead Dr Glynn Atkinson. FEMM Hub Roadmap lead Professor Michael Ward then spent two hours with the team guiding them through the latest progress and outcomes from the Industry Roadmapping Workshop that was held at AMRC the week prior. We then heard from 4 of our work packages before finishing the day with a Christmas networking meal.
The EPSRC has recently published their 3 year EDI action plan, within it they aim to “ensure fairness, accessibility and inclusivity in our activities and investments”. As a hub, we actively promote a culture where the diversity of the staff involved in the Hub is positively valued and celebrated. We believe that diversity in all its forms delivers a greater impact to our research and enhances the experience of our staff, students and partners. On day 2 of our quarterly meeting, we invited Dr Vi Parker, EDI Training Lead – University of Newcastle to deliver a session on “white privilege”. The training introduced participants to the concepts of “privilege”, “whiteness” and the intersectionality of these two constructs. Dr Vi Parker discussed specifically what being white and privilege means and how it impacts on our environment and our responsibilities to challenge this to ensure under-represented members of our community can benefit from the powerful white privilege position some of us hold. The group engaged in important conversations around difficult concepts of “whiteness” and “white privilege”.
Following the training session, we heard from each of the remaining FEMM Hub projects before a final presentation from FEMM Hub Director Professor Geraint Jewell. It was a successful meeting and a great way to end the year off to hear the great progress the hub is making.