Soapbox Science Vancouver – Call for Speakers


Soapbox Science Vancouver Summer 2020

Soapbox Science, a novel public outreach platform for promoting female scientists, was developed in 2011 in the United Kingdom and has since spread around the world. Soapbox Science events have two aims:

  1. to engage members of the public in scientific discourse;
  2. to promote the visibility of women in science.

Soapbox Science events therefore feature an all-female slate of speakers. Soapbox Science Vancouver is currently recruiting speakers for their summer 2020 event. Please follow the link to find the application: http://soapboxscience.org/apply-to-speak-at-soapbox-science-2020/

How does a Soapbox Science event run?

Soapbox Science events occur at locations not typically associated with science. For example, Vancouver’s first event will take place this summer at the West End Farmers’ Market (1100 Comox Street) on July 11. Each event lasts three hours with four speakers per hour. Speakers do not use technical support or sound amplification, just simple and engaging props with thoughtful explanation. Each speaker receives a stipend to buy or create their props. Based on the nature of the market, members of the public filter between the speakers, sometimes staying for the whole event and sometimes just stopping for a couple minutes. The diverse (kids to seniors) constantly-changing audience poses a fun challenge for the speakers! To ensure that each speaker’s soapbox pitch is accessible for a general audience, Soapbox Science organizers run a communication workshop that provides strategies for presentation delivery. The workshop also offers an opportunity for the Soapbox Science speakers to network amongst themselves and begin to develop their soapbox pitches. Previous speakers have noted that the first few minutes of the event are nerve-wracking, but by the end of the hour they have to be practically pulled off their soapboxes! The event will be heavily promoted on social media, TV, radio, and print.

Who can be a Soapbox Science speaker?

Soapbox Science speakers need to hold, or be working towards, a terminal degree (a PhD in the majority of cases). Women working in industry, academia, and elsewhere are all encouraged to apply at the link provided above.

Can’t be a speaker, but still want to help out?

Applications to be a Soapbox Science volunteer will open closer to the event date. Volunteers work with speakers to help them shine during their time on the soapbox. They also help by collecting statistics about the event. I will be recruiting 15-20 student volunteers.

Questions can be directed towards Emma Finlayson-Trick (efinlaysontrick@alumni.ubc.ca).

Click here to view the brochure.