Eleanor Armstrong

Museum researcher. Space enthusiast. Celebrator of undertold science stories.

Ellie delivering ‘Queering the Science Museum’ (July 2018). Photo credit: Dan Vo

Ellie delivering ‘Queering the Science Museum’ (July 2018). Photo credit: Dan Vo

 

Hi! I’m Ellie, and I’m interested in making STEM spaces more equitable.

My doctoral research at UCL looks at who is represented in space science galleries in three London museums. I use queer feminist approaches to focusing on representations of gender and sexuality, but I also look which which scientists, science, politics, economics and justifications are present in these galleries.

I believe that academic research should reach more people than just those who read journal articles and books, so I’ve worked on tours, mini zines, stand-up sets and podcasts to share the information beyond my academic departments. I’m also interested in how art fields interact with cultural constructions of Science, and co-run an Art and/or Science Reading group, and develop exhibitions.

Additionally, I have experience leading programmes in a variety of educational settings. At UCL I am a postgraduate teaching assistant for social science undergraduates, and work on UCL Widening Participation projects including Summer Schools, the Summer Challenge and the Realising Opportunities programme for STEM and social science subjects. I work in formal STEM education, tutoring Maths, Chemistry and the IB Theory of Knowledge course at sixth-form level. I also have professional informal science education experience as an Explainer at the Science Museum (London), a mediator at the Science Gallery London, a lead organiser at Pint of Science, and in the Edinburgh and Cheltenham Science Festivals.

This website features some of my highlights of the work I’ve done. If you’d like to read a full CV, you can find one here.

 

Exploring Space(s)

My doctoral research at UCL draws on queer feminist theories to critique and develop ideas about making space science more equitable to visitors to the galleries. I particularly work on representions of gender and sexuality in space science galleries, but also think critically about how these notions play into ideas about, for example, objectivity, the way the science is constructed, and which jobs and nationalities are displayed.

I currently run a London-wide Art and/or Science Reading Group with Stephen Bennett; the group is open to all and runs on a monthly basis.

I’ve been selected to go on the Europlanet Summer School (2018), and to the Global Young Scientists Summit (2018) through my PhD research.

Prior to my work at UCL, I researched Saturn’s upper atmosphere at the University of Oxford; where I interned at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Texas. As a result, I published with Julie Moses on the changing chemical composition of the ‘Beacon’ stratospheric storm system, briefly the largest storm system in the solar system (larger than the great red spot!).

To learn more about my research, please visit my academia.edu page.


Sharing Science Stories

I work on sharing stories that are often untold in (in)formal science education to bring them to new audiences, and to bring new audiences to STEM. I work particularly on tours, mini-zines, stand-up sets and podcasts. Below are a selection of projects I’ve worked on to give an idea for the scope of my work. If you’re interested in working with me on a project, or you’d like to learn more about some of the work listed below, please get in touch with me.

Image credit: Akvile Terminaite

Image credit: Akvile Terminaite

Behind the Glass Cabinet - forthcoming 2019

highly enjoyable, informative listening for anyone interested in troubling who and what gets neglected and displaced from museums, collections, and the histories they perpetuate
— listener feedback

Supported by the UCL Culture and UCL Science and Technology Studies, Behind the Glass Cabinet is a series of podcast conversations that explore stories that aren’t told in science museums in London. My guests select an artefact on display and through discussing it’s selection, positioning and curation in the gallery space, the podcasts challenge ideas about which stories are part of the museums these artefacts are in.

Other podcasts I’ve worked on include production and development of Transit Spectra with Claire Mead, and content development and being an interviewee on Little Atoms’ podcast Converging Cultures

Photo credit: Andrew Rogers

Photo credit: Andrew Rogers

Queering the Science Musuem - July 2018

...I just wish more museums did this...
— Participant Feedback

Supported by the British Society for this History of Science, Queering the Science Museum is a guided tour that uses LGBTQ+ lives of STEM professionals as a starting point for thinking about how we construct narratives about STEM in museums. Damien Arness-Dalton and I worked to develop and deliver the tours in the Science Museum, London. The findings and feedback from this project have since been presented at the European Space Agency (2019), to the Association for Science and Discovery Centres (2018) and at the European Society for the History of Science Conference (2018).

I have also run the tour for interested STEM societies - if you’d like to commission a run of the tour for a group you work with, please get in touch.

Other tours that I work on include the Scott Polar Research Institute’s Bridging Binaries, where my tour was reviewed in The Times (January 2019), and the Victoria and Albert Museum monthly LGBTQ+ tours.

Photo credit: Sam Wigfield

Photo credit: Sam Wigfield

Pint of Science Creative Reactions - 2016, 2017

[through participating I gained] a friend, first and foremost, but also it was great fun. I really enjoyed the meetings and the event.
— Collaborator Feedback

Creative Reactions (short intro videos available for 2017, 2016) brought together leading London science researchers and creative professionals to make works and have discussions about how to make sense of an interpret the world around us. Over two years, where I was Event Assisstant (2016) and then Co-Organiser (2017), 40 people collaborated creating two week-long installations celebrating creative possibilities of arts and sciences. In 2016 we were kindly supported by Overleaf.

The project was celebrated in a book Creative Reactions 2016-2017 (GUG Press) which I wrote the Introduction for, and on the BBC World Service’s Weekend Show (28th May 2017).


Other events that I’ve worked on include the inaugural TEDxUAL (2016), where I was Liscence Holder and Lead Organiser, Tracing Wastelands (2016), as curator for the exhibition in collaboration with the Government Office of Science on their waste report, and the Celebration of 40 Years of Coeducation at Jesus College, Oxford (2014).


Education Work

I’m committed to working on STEM access, through formal and informal education. Below are some examples of work that I do in education, if you’re interested in learning more about any of these streams please get in touch

Private Tutoring

I tutor STEM subjects with a focus on the International Baccaluareate Diploma Programme in Chemistry, Mathematics and Theory of Knowledge. I also teach theses subjects in A levels, Pre-U and other Y12-3 equivalent courses, and GCSE STEM and Mathematics courses.


Testimonials:

“[Thank you for] being so supportive of M (when she was panicking!!), for giving her confidence and of course for all the help with the physics itself” (C. parent)

“She got 100% in Chemistry…You did a fabulous job, giving F both the knowledge and the confidence to exceed all expectations.” (R. parent)

“I would like to say a huge THANK YOU once again for all your support you had given A… We are truly grateful for all you have done for him”

“Ellie was the perfect tutor for S. The chemistry on all levels was perfect!! She was knowledgable, organised and supportive and Scarlett gained hugely in confidence and genuinely enjoyed her sessions.” [G. parent]

Widening Participation

I work on university-lead and school-lead projects that aim to widening particpation by school students in higher education:

UCL Summer Challenge (2019): I am course developer leader on iPhone therefore I am

Brilliant Club: I have taught on the Scholars Programme (Summer, 2019) and developed and ran a programme for UCL Young Researchers (2019):

UCL Interdisciplinary Research Skills (2018 onwards): I am a course developer for this programme where natural science students develop and run multiple contact point workshops for school students at UCL Widening Participation schools.

Brampton Manor Oxbridge Preparation (2017, 2018): I lead mock interviews and admissions test practice for STEM students

Realising Opportunities (2018, 2019): I was academic tutor to students from London schools, who produced academic essays on pharmacy topics to secure their Realising Opportunity qualitfications.

Informal Science Education

I have extensive experience in informal science education through work as an Explainer at the Science Museum London, as a Mediator at the Science Gallery London, and in Science Festivals including Edingburgh Science Festival and Cheltenham Science Festival.

I’m a judge for the Linnean Society’s Biomedia Meltdown competition; I have been a STEM STAR for the Islington Primary Winter Physics Fair; and I am currently on the advisory board for Phase 4 of Explore your Universe (Association of Science and Discovery Centres).

Additionally, I’ve run informal science sessions on Planetary Science aimed at early years students in their classes and as after school activity workshops.