- The Society of Spanish Researchers in the United Kingdom (SRUK/CERU) has co-organised, together with Instituto Cervantes London and the Lilly Foundation, the “Science-me a Story: Stories for Young Researchers” event to celebrate International Women’s day.
- The event has counted with two storytelling sessions with author Lola Llatas and the presence of Dr Isabel Murillo, winner of the third prize of the first edition of the SRUK/CERU Science-me a Story contest.
- Tickets to attend this scientific outreach activity have been sold out for weeks after the great interest it sparked amongst the public, specially families with children.
London, 11th of March 2023. The “Science-me a Story: Stories for Young Researchers” event has taken place today at Instituto Cervantes London, a scientific outreach activity co-organised by the Society of Spanish Researchers in the United Kingdom (SRUK/CERU) has co-organised, the Instituto Cervantes London, and the Lilly Foundation. This event has celebrated International Women’s Day with a storytelling starring women and girls in science during which children have immersed themselves into a world of adventures, curiosity, and experiments in a storytelling in Spanish. “Science is one of the most important assets of Spanish society and culture, yet it is unknown internationally”, says Víctor Ugarte, director of Instituto Cervantes London. “What is better than promoting science and doing so among girls, especially when it coincides with International Women’s Day? Plus, it is in collaboration with SRUK/CERU, an association full of female scientists in important positions in British scientific institutions, an asset of immense value and undoubtedly an example for girls who see science as their vocation.”, Víctor concludes.
Dr Isabel Murillo Cabeza, SRUK/CERU member who won the third prize in the first edition of the Science-me a Story contest, has attended the event. She received this award for her story “Hello, Ms E. coli!“, illustrated by Beatriz Olmo Castel. “My motivation for writing this story was the opportunity to communicate science to children of an early age. I was inspired by the stories my mother told me when I refused to eat and the stories I told my daughter, Hannah, when she was younger. With this story, I wanted to convey my passion for science and intrigue children’s curiosity using cute, fun characters”, Dr Murillo Cabeza explains. As a lecturer in microbiology at the University of Bristol, she highlights her experience as a woman in science, “Luckily, our presence [of women in science] has grown, especially in the area of life sciences, which includes microbiology. Nevertheless, we are still far from 50:50. Microbiology has benefitted in recent years from attention given to the importance of human microflora, resistance to antibiotics and, sadly, the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. I think interest in microbiology has grown, but I would like it to be for the right reasons.”.
During the sessions of the event, author Lola Llatas has read other stories awarded to female authors that took part in the various editions of Science-me a Story: “Princess Science“, written by Leticia Labat de Hoz and illustrated by Helena Rodríguez Caro; “The Secret of the Silver Jackets“, written by Magdalena I. Domper and illustrated by Loreto Gestoso; and “The Knights of the Smallpox Table“, written by Paula Mariel Liveratore and illustrated by Vanina Ahumada.
Dr Claudia Román Montañana, president of SRUK/CERU, explains that the reading of stories written by female scientists is part of an initiative that started as a story-writing contest to bring science closer to children, both in Spanish and English. Dr Román-Montañana acknowledges that the success of the initiative was unexpected; there have been more than 600 stories across five editions! Additionally, given the bilingual nature of the contest, they have received stories from all over the world, making this initiative an international success. “Due to the positive reception, we decided to publish the 20 award-winning stories from the first three editions in our first book, Ciencia-me un cuento / Science-me a Story. Now, we not only continue to work on the contest, but also on the promotion of these magnificent stories so that they reach and can be shared with as many boys and girls as possible, in turn awakening their curiosity about science at an early age”, adds Román Montañana. “That is why we are very grateful for the collaboration and the opportunity that the Instituto Cervantes has provided us with to use these stories for the wonderful purpose that is celebrating International Women’s Day. We have showcased the stories written by contestants, many of whom are scientists, to boys and girls who live in the UK and share the same language, Spanish. We are sure that both children and adults have enjoyed this event and learnt something new, at the same time that we have conveyed the importance of the role of women both in literature and science”, highlights the president of SRUK/CERU.