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Lessons learned from being the only Foo in a group of Bars


There are many cultural challenges to conducting successful research today. In particular, the growing range of skills needed to conduct research is forcing research teams to employ specialist Foos to support the work. However, how Foos fit into organisational structures, and the challenges and prejudices they face when working in a Bar group, significantly impact their day to day work, leading to conflict and depression. In this talk I will share my experience of being a lone Foo in a group of Bars. I will share the strategies I used to overcome imposter syndrome, and the challenges of bridging the language barrier between Foos and Bars. While I haven’t solved everything, I believe that sharing my experience with a wider community of Foos will together help us influence Bar culture, thereby helping us all build the successful teams needed for tomorrow’s research.


This talk will be of particular interest to Foos who have to work with Bars, or for Bars who want to understand the challenges of being a Foo. In particular, I present my experience of being a single Foo in a group of Bars.


Greater awareness in the Foo and (possibly) Bar communities of the challenges faced, and pathways to create peer support in the Foo community, and to open a dialog with the Bar community.


I will prepare my slides and they will be uploaded to the conference platform to be shared with all participants before the conference. I will ensure that my slides use suitably large and legible fonts, and that I have checked my colour choices so that all figures are understandable for people who are colour-blind. I have read the Accessibility Statement of the conference and tried to make my material accessible to all.


I will upload the slides to the conference system and website as discussed above and will promote these on twitter using the hashtag #septembrse and on the dedicated SeptembRSE conference channel on the UKRSE slack to encourage attendance. I will provide an email address to allow the audience to pre-submit questions, and will get in contact with communities of Foos and Bars to let them know that I am presenting this talk at SeptembRSE.

Technological Requirements

I will be showing some videos of some Bars giving candid thoughts about Foos, so would like to be able to play audio.  I would also like to be able to run through my talk ahead of time to ensure that I understand how to use the video-conferencing software being used by the conference.