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ASTROMOVES: Studying Astrophysicists' Careers and other Cultural Astronomy Topics

ASTROMOVES: Studying Astrophysicists' Careers and other Cultural Astronomy Topics

ASTROMOVES is funded by the European Union in the form of an Marie Skłodowska Curie Action Individual Fellowship. This blog shares research findings and discussions about ASTROMOVES, but also captures the other Cultural Astronomy research and activities of PI Jarita Holbrook. The reader may find here information about Astrophysics Culture, African Indigenous Astronomy, and Indigenous Astronomy in general.

Welcome to ASTROMOVES!


Inside the Royal Observatory Edinburgh. Reflection in Mirror of Dr Holbrook with her Camera.

ASTROMOVES image of Dr Jarita Holbrook reflected in the telescope mirror at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh


Welcome to the European Union funded via a Marie Skłodowska Curie Action Individual Fellowship project, ASTROMOVES. PI Jarita Holbrook is located in Science, Technology & Innovation Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

ASTROMOVES is a qualitative research project focused on interview based inquiry to explore the lives and careers of astrophysicists after their PhD.  In the astrophysics community there is concern about their lack of diversity in almost every category race/ethnicity, gender/sex, disabilities, etc. There are relatively few permanent positions in astrophysics advertised each year, but many people have long term careers by going from temporary positions to temporary positions or funded project to funded project. There are many theories as to the continued underrepresentation of the underrepresented, however my approach is to examine careers and career decision-making in detail capturing the lived experiences of astrophysicists and scientists from related and connected disciplines such as physics, planetary science and atmospheric science.

What makes ASTROMOVES stand out, is the demographics of the people that I have interviewed. I have in almost equal numbers heterosexual men, heterosexual women and those men & women that do not identify as being heterosexual. I have ethnic diversity with Europeans including Eastern Europeans, people of European descent, people of African descent, people of Asian descent and those that combine these. I make space for each person to define their intersectional identity including the economic class that they were a part of while growing up. Another thing that makes ASTROMOVES stand out, is that I will be making a documentary film about the project including clips from many of the interviews.

This blog will provide updates of the ASTROMOVES project but will also showcase my other Cultural Astronomy research. A simple definition of Cultural Astronomy is the study of humans and their relationship to the sky. The focus is on people, but there needs to be something about the sky as well. ASTROMOVES is a study of people that have earned PhDs through studying the sky, thus can be considered a Cultural Astronomy project. However, I study African Indigenous Astronomy as well and some of that research will be highlighted. Another thing that I do is run workshop discussions about inclusion and exclusion practices in astrophysics for astrophysicists, which is not fun work, but is necessary for making positive changes to astrophysics culture.


Welcome to my blog!

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 892944

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