Gender perspectives in BASE
Project description (Cross-cutting project)
A research and intervention project at the intersection of scientific/technological cutting-edge research, education and industry - with a focus on the importance of culture and gender
The long-term vision of BASE is to address the energy storage challenges associated with the transition to a fossil-free society. In the core of this endeavour is the creation of new knowledge and the technology developments needed. As such, matter and the material are in focus. However, people will do the work - work that leads to the production of new knowledge, provides technical solutions and involves continuous work with problem solving. They will need to cooperate and interact, and their competences and skills must be valued and used in the best possible way, for BASE to be successful. In that respect, gender issues are, and will be, of importance.
Addressing of gender issues is a cross-cutting activity that concern all other activities within BASE. In this project, the focus is not on representation though in a long-term perspective the project, together with other initiatives in different settings, may contribute to a better gender balance in a male dominated field. Instead, the ambition is to create awareness of the processes that lead to imbalance and which many times can be found in unawareness, attitudes and culture.
The project aims to gain knowledge about what characterizes the workplace and disciplinary cultures that participants in BASE are part of (academic subject cultures, cultures within large and small companies, cultures that arise within specific groupings, etc.) and which in the long run, in one or another way, may affect the 'culture' created within the competence centre. The type of collaboration that is formed within BASE - the melting pot that arises when academic research/education and companies jointly take on a high-tech area – provides an opportunity to scrutinize if, and if so, what/which, how and why gender stereotypical views and attitudes are developed and reproduced, or not.
Of special interest will be to study how culture and gender affect the learning expected to take place at the intersection between academic knowledge production and recipients' application/development/use of it. It means a unique opportunity to study the setting and role of learning in a context where the education takes place together with world-leading cutting-edge research and industrial applications. Students and doctoral students, in this borderland, must acquire a subject content, develop their experimental skills and gain experience of applying their knowledge in ‘sharp mode’. However, they must also navigate between the expectations and requirements set by different participating actors. In addition, they will be influenced by the different cultures of the participating university units, multinational industries and smaller companies - with their respective norms, values and assumptions - which have developed over time.
The project examines the cultures that exist, and become intertwined, at the intersection between academic cutting-edge research, education and industry. The purpose is to create knowledge about how cultural aspects affect the conditions for the participants and their possible positions within the BASE environment. This includes paying special attention to the importance of gender. More specifically, the project aims to answer the following questions:
• What characterizes existing cultures within the various activities included in the competence centre?
• Do gender stereotypical views and attitudes exist and/or develop within the competence centre? If so, how are they expressed, how are they justified, and in what way are such perceptions and attitudes counteracted?
• What role do students and their learning play in the competence centre, in the intersection between academic excellence and industry? How does gender affect which positions become possible for whom?
Data collection will take place through semi-structured interviews with a selection of those who are active in the competence centre, including students and doctoral students. Through the interviews, an in-depth knowledge can be obtained about what characterizes the cultures the participants are part of, aspects that may contribute to an exclusionary culture, as well as what counteracts or can change such a culture. Observations of activities that take place in the competence centre, including education-related idem, will contribute with additional knowledge about what perceptions, attitudes and taken-for-granted aspects that figure, as well as what consequences they have for students and doctoral students, but also for others active and for the activities as a whole. At a later stage of the project, workshops will be arranged, based on the insights and questions raised during the project.
Description in a picture
Anita Hussénius, Uppsala University