BITS – Her Story 2019

In ALL, BITS by Alice Fleerackers

Can you name 10 well-known female scientists? Better yet, can you explain what they’re known for?

A quick online search for “World’s Top 10 Scientists” is all it takes to understand why gender representation is such an important issue in the sciences. Marie Curie aside, female names seldom appear on any of these lists. When they do, they often occupy the last spot—an afterthought to a long list of male inventors and researchers. When it comes to celebrating our female scientists, it seems we still have a long way to go.

Her Story: Canadian Women Scientists,” is one step toward turning that around. Premiering September 13 to 14 at Vancouver’s Annex Theatre, the film series shares the inspiring true stories of Canadian women scientists—told entirely in their own words. Produced by Vancouver-based non-profit organization Curiosity Collider, the event features four 5- to 6-minute films. Each unique work is the collaboration between a local filmmaker and a remarkable woman scientist.

film still from her story
Film still from a Her Story production by Lucas Kavanagh and Jesse Lupini, featuring Jessica Pilarczyk (collab scientist) and Jeanne Percival
film still from her story
Film still from a Her Story production by Leslie Kennah featuring Kimberly Girling (collab scientist) and Brenda Milner

“Her Story reveals the lives of women working in science,” explains Larissa Blokhuis, the Arts, Culture, and Collections Director at Curiosity Collider and the curator of Her Story. “This project acts as a beacon to girls and women who want to see themselves in the scientific community.”

“This project acts as a beacon to girls and women who want to see themselves in the scientific community.”

Larissa Blokhuis

The participating scientist-filmmaker pairs include Leslie Kennah (filmmaker) and Kimberly Girling (collaborating scientist), Lucas Kavanagh and Jesse Lupini (filmmakers) and Jessica Pilarczyk (collaborating scientist), Michael Markowsky (filmmaker) and Jade Shiller (collaborating scientist), and Armin Mortazavi (filmmaker) and Samantha Baglot (collaborating scientist).

“Women have always worked in and contributed to science,” Blokhuis says. Through the work of these talented scientists and filmmakers, Her Story celebrates those contributions in a visually engaging form.

film still from her story
Film still from a Her Story production by Armin Mortazavi featuring Samantha Baglot (collab scientist) and Irene Uchida
film still from her story
Film still from a Her Story production by Michael Markowsky featuring Jade Shiller (collab scientist) and Kathleen Conlan

Her Story runs from September 13-14 at Vancouver’s Annex Theatre. For tickets and information, visit the Her Story website.

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Alice Fleerackers

Alice is a freelance writer, a researcher at the ScholCommLab, and an editor at the Art the Science blog. With degrees in both psychology and publishing, she is fascinated by the confluence of science and story, and is passionate about bringing research into everyday life. As a journalist, she’s had the pleasure of interviewing media specialists, psychotherapists, anthropologists, and many others on everything from the psychology of cat videos to the “science” of astrology. In her spare time, she rides her bike, dabbles in spoon carving, and—yes—occasionally, reads her horoscope. Twitter: @FleerackersA