Subject: IAU Executive Committee Working Group Astronomy for Equity and Inclusion Newsletter #4 August 2020
IAU Executive Committee Working GroupAstronomy for Equity and Inclusion Newsletter#4 August 2020
1) Join the Motor Impairments SubWGs2) Neurodiversity and Mental Health, led by Natalia Lewandowska
3) Inclusive Outreach, led by Cesare Pagano4) Hospitals, Children’s Homes, Nursing Homes and Prisons, led by João Retrê5) Management of Diversity and Inclusion in Large International Collaborations, led by Simona Mei6) New $1.5 million NSF Grant for Investigating the Use of 3D Printing in Astronomy and STEM Education for Students with Visual Impairments7) Relevant meetings8) Sub-Groups Established9) Subscribe to our Basecamp and join the discussion10) Share your News!
We want to give you a warm welcome to our fourth newsletter of the IAU Executive Working Group on Astronomy for Equity and Inclusion. In this issue, we provide a few updates on some of our subgroups (SubWGs) and thank all our SubWGs coordinators for their excellent actions in the last few months. Additionally, we want to congratulate Thomas Madura and colleagues, for the NSF grant received and would also like to encourage you to join the “The Future of Meetings” CSIRO symposium and the “IAU Symposium 367: Education and Heritage in the era of Big Data in Astronomy”.
Wishing you all our best,Lina Canas & Amelia Ortiz-Gil
1) Join the Motor Impairments SubWGs
We would like to encourage all our members to join the Motor Impairments SubWG, that will meet to analyse, gather references and produce written, audio-visual, sound material that facilitates the approach or learning of astronomy to people with physical disabilities.
Read more about this SubWG here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1h9IFWjBIg2HkVRXYvLtrbGqzCk74sE3B/view?usp=sharing 2) Neurodiversity and Mental Health, led by Natalia Lewandowska
During the second meeting of the SubWG, in May 2020, the members of the SubWG expressed the wish to talk to people who are members of the neurodiverse community and to meet and work with people who struggle with mental health. Our overall goal is to be able to dialogue, exchange experiences and learn how we can contribute and help.
The structure of the meetings is the following:one or two invited talks per meeting;discussion of the topics presented;follow up dialogue outside the monthly meetings carried via Slack and/or email.
In July 2020 the SubWG held their third meeting, hosting a talk about ADHD. In the second half of August 2020 the group hosted a talk by a psychologist on the topic of dyslexia.
3) Inclusive Outreach, led by Cesare PaganoCurrently, there are 22 people subscribed to the subWg, with different levels of involvement.Given the time zone challenges for a conference call, each participant introduced themselves to the group by sharing a brief document describing their role, experience, expectations from this participation, and assets available to share. Communication and collaboration are now happening through a combination of a mailing list and Basecamp.The SubWG outlined a proposal for the work approach and the planned activity for the next 6 months. The key concepts for the approach are that a) it is essential to focus on building a community and not just share information, and b) we need to document an initial set of “assets” available in order to provide value to others willing to join.To execute the plan above, the subWG is now focusing on documenting the available assets (tools and methodologies) in a reusable way. Three members volunteered to define a template and perform some prototyping.4) Hospitals, Children’s Homes, Nursing Homes and Prisons, led by João Retrê
The subWG is now composed of 10 members and held two meetings. Below are summarized the results/ideas/actions exchanged: The SubWG reached the very important conclusion that the group was missing focus on a target-group “Children’s Homes”. In order to include it, the group’s name has changed to “Hospitals, Children’s Homes, Nursing Homes and Prisons”. Proceeding with the creation of a community by collecting information about individuals, teams, organizations, or any kind of entities that have some project/activity dedicated to bringing astronomy to the target-public defined in this SubWG. Creation of a webpage where all information collected and much more – resources, best practices, contacts, etc will be listed. Additionally, the webpage will include an interactive map where all the projects can be listed together with other relevant information. The members discussed the importance of having “Suggestion Guides” with guidelines to those that do want to start an activity within one of the target groups of this SubWG. These documents are to be open and available to the whole community, circulating through specific astronomy groups and encourage the general community to comment. Discussing solutions to mitigate the problems created by COVID-19 pandemic, which makes face-to-face actions towards the people in which this SubWG is focused, much more difficult due to the inherent restrictions in their lives. One interesting concept that could be adapted to the COVID-19 reality is the “Letters with Science” initiative, which makes communication possible through letters by people that are not able to meet in person.
5) Management of Diversity and Inclusion in Large International Collaborations, led by Simona Mei
The newly formed SubWG has now 10 participants and will start their activities in September. This group intends to explore practices to enhance the respect of underrepresented groups and different cultural backgrounds in large international collaborations and will write a report of the current situation in the field. From their findings and the research in the field of management of large international collaborations, the SubWG wishes to issue recommendations and foster debate within the IAU.
6) New $1.5 million NSF Grant for Investigating the Use of 3D Printing in Astronomy and STEM Education for Students with Visual Impairments
Our colleagues Carol Christian (Space Telescope Science Institute), Tiffany Wild (Ohio State), and Thomas Madura, along with their team, were recently awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) grant to develop and test the use of 3D printing technologies to help teach astronomy to students with blindness and visual impairments. Several collaborators on this project are members of this IAU working group.
For more info, please check out the following links:https://blogs.sjsu.edu/newsroom/2020/nsf-awards-1-5-million-to-fund-stem-curricula-for-students-with-visual-impairment/https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1949458
7) Relevant meetingsThe Future of Meetings Symposium, hosted by CSIRO
We want to bring to your attention a CSIRO-hosted symposium – The Future of Meetings Symposium. This symposium will be held entirely virtually during 15th-17th September 2020, with both synchronous and asynchronous ways to learn, explore and interact. Originally driven by questions about becoming more sustainable as a community (particularly in academia), the organizers also wish to explore as part of this entirely-virtual “meta” conference about best practice for conference and meetings also include accessibility, inclusivity, technology, collaboration and social interaction.
You can register now by going to the event website and clicking “Register”:https://www.atnf.csiro.au/people/futureofmeetings/index.html
IAU Symposium 367: Education and Heritage in the era of Big Data in Astronomy
The primary goal of this Symposium is to give a global vision of Education and Heritage in the frame of the goals of the IAU, taking into account the IAU Strategic Plan 2020-2030 and to propose an eventual ‘next steps’ road map and a global astronomy education agenda for the next decade, while honouring the education from the past. The deadline for submissions is September 20, 2020.
You can register and find more information here: http://sion.frm.utn.edu.ar/iaus367/ 8) Sub Groups Established
The IAU EC WG on Astronomy for Equity and Inclusion sub-groups are subsets of the working group created to focus, both discussions and actions, on the different fields across inclusion. The sub-groups Intend to build upon specific networks within IAU and bring in external expertise, with their members steering and informing the WGs global actions.Identify specific needs in the community and draft courses of action and guidelines, aligned with both the IAU Strategic Plan 2020-2030 and the Springboard of Action leveraging all dimensions of inclusion on research, outreach, education and development.Are in contact and close collaboration with each other through email, basecamp or online meetings, accessing the intersectionality aspects inherent to the field, avoiding duplication of the efforts carried. We would like to invite all of you to join one or more of the subWGs according to your particular interests and expertise. Further information about the subWGs can be found here.