The University of Southampton
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Gender Equality Conference - "Athena SWAN and Beyond" Event

Avenue Campus
12:00 - 16:30, 20 March 2013
University of Southampton Avenue Campus Avenue Road Southampton SO17 1BF
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For more information regarding this event, please telephone Linnet Evans on 023 8059 5726 or email

Event details

This conference will offer delegates the opportunity to hear from keynote speakers who are leaders on creating change in gender equality in higher education, while workshops will provide the space for deeper discussion and sharing experiences. Delegates will also have the opportunity to network, discuss and share experiences over lunch and throughout the afternoon. The emphasis during the afternoon will be on exploring how to create sustainable change in gender equality.

Gender Initiative, Queen's University Belfast
Professor Yvonne Galligan


The Athena SWAN Charter and its awards have gained a highly respected profile across the UK and beyond, but there is more to establishing sustainable improvements in gender equality than earning an award. The conference recognises Athena SWAN as a key vehicle for progressing gender equality and will explore how to embed change for the longer term and in those areas not currently covered by Athena SWAN.


Delegates will be informed of what good practice in establishing gender equality looks likes, will gain new ideas to introduce into their own institutions and seed suggestions for new ways to develop gender equality.

Chemistry, University of York
Professor Paul Walton


The day will be opened and chaired by Tessa Harrison, University Registrar, with keynote addresses from Professor Paul Walton (Chemistry, University of York) and Professor Yvonne Galligan (Gender Initiative, Queen's University Belfast). Professors Walton and Galligan have both been instrumental in driving forward gender equality in their respective roles, and will share their experiences of gaining Athena SWAN departmental gold and university silver respectively, and some of the challenges yet to come.

Workshops will follow the keynotes, with a choice of ‘Embedding culture change' from Dr Sean McWhinnie, ‘Insight into a non-STEMM Athena SWAN' from Professor Hazel Biggs and Liz Williams,  Southampton Law School (which participated in an ECU pilot last year) and ‘Exploring Unconscious Bias' from WISE.

The day will close with a plenary and panel discussion, responding to questions raised by each of the workshops. This will be chaired by Professor Diana Eccles (Medicine, University of Southampton). Panel membership will include both our keynote speakers along with Sean McWhinnie, Professor Jeremy Howells (Dean of Business & Law, University of Southampton) and Dr Helen Czerski (ISVR, University of Southampton).

Several key groups will be exhibiting, with representatives on hand to provide information and answer any questions during the networking breaks. The following are confirmed:

Digital Humanities: Gender & Digital Culture Project (Lucy Shipley & James Osborne) Exploring the role of gender in relationships between people and digital technologies, led by Dr Sara Perry (University of York) and Dr Graeme Earl (University of Southampton).
ECU (Equality Challenge Unit) (Harri C Weeks, Athena SWAN officer) ECU works to further and support equality and diversity for staff and students in higher education across the UK.
EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) Conference sponsors.
Public Policy @ Southampton (Lisa Then, co-ordinator) An external facing, public engagement team, established by the University to increase the reach and impact of University of Southampton research.
WISE (Christine Alexander Smith, workshop facilitator) A national organisation, promoting female talent in science, engineering and technology from classroom to boardroom
WiSET (The University of Southampton Women in Science, Engineering and Technology) (Vesna Perisic) and Theano (Ghaithaa Manla) Supporting and enabling the success of women in the University, and open to all female SET/STEMM staff (WiSET) and students (Theano)

This is the full conference programme:

12:00 Registration & buffet lunch
13:00 Opening address & keynote speeches
14:15 Workshops:
Embedding culture change - Dr Sean McWhinnie
Athena SWAN for non-STEMM disciplines - Liz Williams, Southampton Law School
Exploring unconscious bias (Valuing difference in a changing world) - Christine Alexander Smith, WISE
15:15 Afternoon tea
15:40 Plenary & panel discussion
16:20 Closing remarks


Visiting Avenue Campus - public transport and driving

Elizabeth House Hotel and Highfield House Hotel are both within walking distance, and offer preferential rates for University visitors. Contact the hotels direct, quoting this conference.

List of additional local guest houses

Athena SWAN Bronze Award holder


There will be plenty of opportunity to share experiences with other delegates. The programme includes a buffet lunch and an afternoon break, with a range of indoor seating and (weather permitting!) an enclosed outdoor courtyard.

Representatives from some key groups will be on hand during the networking breaks. These include the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU), developer of the Athena SWAN Charter award.


All conference rooms are on the ground floor, and are accessible for wheelchair users. The main lecture theatre is fitted with an induction loop.

Eduroam wireless networking is available on campus to members of participating organisations. A room has been reserved for delegates wishing to work before the conference opening.

For refreshments outside the conference, Avenue Café is open between 09:00 and 16:00.

Car drivers should access the campus by turning into Highfield Road from The Avenue (A33). Parking is by permit: please let us know when you register.


There is no charge for this event, which is supported by EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) Institutional Sponsorship 2012.

Speaker information

Professor Paul Walton, University of York, The Department of Chemistry, University of York was the first to obtain the Gold Athena SWAN award in 2007, renewed in 2010. Professor Walton has been instrumental to delivering improvements for the Department, and has spoken of his experience widely.

Professor Yvonne Galligan, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Belfast was the first university to achieve the Silver Athena SWAN award in 2011, and has 10 bronze and silver departmental awards. Professor Galligan is the Director of QUB's Gender Initiative, and will be sharing her experience of raising the bar for gender equality.

Dr Sean McWhinnie, Oxford Research and Policy, Dr McWhinnie has been involved in the development and judging of Athena SWAN for several years, and provides tailored support to institutions in identifying and addressing areas affecting gender equality. He will be presenting a workshop on Delivering Cultural Change.

Tessa Harrison, As Registrar, Tessa provides leadership to seven professional services, plus the University’s eight Faculty Operating Officers, and works alongside the Chief Operating Officer to ensure that our professional services play a key role in enabling the University to realise its ambitious strategic aims. Prior to joining the University of Southampton, Tessa held senior administrative roles at the Universities of the West England (UWE) and Lancaster.

Professor Diana Eccles, Diana is Professor of Cancer Generics and Director of the University of Southampton Clinical Trials Unit, and has been extensively involved with national and international research work. She has chaired the Faculty of Medicine's Athena SWAN self-assessment team, steering the Faculty's first submission last November. For this conference, Diana will be chairing the plenary session.

Professor Jeremy Howells, Jeremy is Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law, and a member of the Strategy and Innovation Group within Southampton Management School. As the University's Diversity Champion, Jeremy is often present at key networking events, most recently during International Women's Week. For this conference, Jeremy will participate in the plenary panel and close the conference.

Dr Helen Czerski, Helen is a physicist and oceanographer, and is currently a Research Fellow at the University's Institute for Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR). Helen combines this with TV broadcasting, co-presenting popular science series such as BBC2's Operation Iceburg and Orbit: Earth's Extraordinary Journey.

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