An unofficial blue plaque commemorating war nurse Mairi Chisholm
Mairi Chisholm, a Scottish war nurse and national heroine of World War I, was commemorated in Nursing Studies recently with an unofficial blue plaque. Siobhan O’Connor, who works at the intersection of nursing and technology and an avid STEM Ambassador, collaborated on a University-wide initiative to celebrate and recognise notable women who have contributed to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), creating an unofficial blue plaque dedicated to Mairi Chisholm.
Siobhan is a member of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland and ran an event in November 2018, in conjunction with the Royal Society of Edinburgh, celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I and nurse’s contribution to this important period of history. The story-telling event hosted Dr Diane Atkinson who read excerpts from her biography on Mairi Chisholm and Elsie Knocker. These brave women worked as nurses on the front lines of WWI in Belgium for a number of years and were highly decorated for saving the lives of thousands of soldiers.
A number of unofficial blue plaques were created by a team at the University of Edinburgh, led by Ewan McAndrew the Wikimedian in Residence as part of a WikiProject Women in Red, to address the lack of recognition women receive for their work in STEM and contribution to society. Along with a plaque paying tribute to Mairi Chisholm, nine other plaques were made by the university’s UCreate studio, celebrating other notable women in STEM; 1) Ada Lovelace, 2) Marguerite Stocker, 3) Mabel Jones, 4) Elizabeth Ross, 5) Dorothy Buchanan, 6) Emily Bovell, 7) Merabi Vakil, 8) Mary Somerville, and 9) Barbara Ayrton-Gould. The unofficial blue plaque acknowledging the work of Mairi Chisholm will be displayed in Nursing Studies in the School of Health in Social Science.