Gates Cambridge will dedicate its 20th anniversary year to public engagement
Members of the Gates community are united by a desire to leave the world a better place than we found it.Emma Soneson
Gates Cambridge Scholars will kick off a Year of Engagement this weekend to mark the importance of giving back to the community.
Engagement has always been a big feature of the Gates Cambridge community and the Day of Engagement has long been one of the flagship activities of the Scholar community. This year, for Gates Cambridge’s 20th anniversary, that emphasis on engagement will extend across the whole year.
The Year of Engagement begins with a virtual event on Saturday afternoon which includes a keynote speaker and a virtual fair with booths for scholars to meet with many different service and engagement projects in Cambridge and beyond. Over 20 organisations will have booths, including the University of Cambridge Public Engagement Team, Student Community Action and several Cambridge-based charities, including Cambridge City Foodbank.
Keynote speaker is Miranda Lowe [pictured above], a principal curator, scientist and cultural commentator at the Natural History Museum in London. She presents lectures and publishes on both curatorial and scientific research, with related appearances on radio and TV. Her work with creative industries allows her to link art, science and nature to aid the public understanding of natural world. Amongst her many achievements, she co-authored an important paper in the Journal of Natural Science Collections that discusses how museum collections are connected to colonialism and how to best deal with these difficult histories. She is a trustee at York Museums Trust and is a member of the newly-formed University of Cambridge Museums Legacies of Empire & Enslavement Advisory Group.
As a STEM Ambassador, Lowe is passionate about ensuring representation of diversity and social justice at all levels and works with various charities mentoring young people. In 2013, she was a finalist in the National Diversity Awards, Positive Role Model Award for Race, Religion & Faith category. She is also a founding member of Museum Detox, the anti-racist network for people of colour working in museums and galleries within the heritage sector.
Emma Soneson, chair of the Year of Engagement Committee [a working group of the Gates Cambridge Scholars’ Council] and a runner-up for the Vice-Chancellor’s Research Impact and Engagement Awards [for early career researchers], said: “Members of the Gates community are united by a desire to leave the world a better place than we found it. In our careers and personal lives, we are devoted to contributing to long-lasting, positive change. In this exceptional year, the Year of Engagement Committee has thought hard about how we can promote meaningful, sustained community engagement among Scholars, even in the face of pandemic restrictions. By expanding the concept of engagement to include areas such as research communication as well as creating a year-long programme of service- and engagement-related talks, discussions and workshops, we hope to help link scholars with opportunities that match their talents and interests.”
*Saturday’s event is open to Gates Cambridge Scholars & Alumni and their families and partners and runs from 3-5PM in the Virtual GSCR. For more details email firstname.lastname@example.org.