The Illuminators: Scope for Change

Acknowledging and celebrating the beautiful, creative work of scientifically and culturally diverse groups of female-identifying microscopists from UNSW and affiliated organisations.

Stages of pregnancy in a mouse

People need role models that look like them.

In the science field, the reality is that more than 70% of senior academic positions and more than 95% of the prestigious Nobel Prizes are awarded to men. This insinuates that only men (particularly of Western descent) can pursue a career in science and flourish. 

This is no longer the case. While the road to gender equity in STEMM disciplines is long, complex and far from over, there are now plenty of examples of female researchers that are successfully sculpting careers in science. They still, however, lack visibility. That is why we have curated “The Illuminators: Scope for Change” microscopy exhibition series – to not only shine the spotlight on female scientists at UNSW and affiliated organisations (the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute and Neuroscience Research Australia), but to also break barriers around the idea that scientists need to look a certain way in order to pursue science and be successful. 

The female researchers in these exhibitions are here to reinforce that women can thrive in science. Their diversity extends beyond their physical appearance and encompasses their identity, their cultural background, values and belief systems, life experiences, career journey and research passion. 

We encourage you to take some time and peruse through the various years these exhibitions have been held below. You do not need to have a scientific background to enjoy the SciArt showcased by these hard-working, amazing women – the exhibition is designed to be educational and eye-opening for all levels. We hope that as a result you can appreciate that science is not restricted towards a particular ‘look’, age, culture or gender. ANYONE can become a scientist – you just need passion, drive and an open mind! 

Scroll below to view exhibitions from various years.