Linnean Society Conference: Diversity within Natural History

The Linnean Society of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BF, United Kingdom
0207 434 4479 ext 211

DAY MEETING 10:00–17:00 Friday 22 March 2019

This meeting aims to celebrate the known and hidden contributions of ethnic minorities to natural history, while also trying to address issues ethnic minorities currently face. Talks will cover the unsung heroes of the past, current experiences within natural history research and also the future and what initiatives are underway to counteract this narrative.

Anderson - St vincent botanical garden
Image © The Linnean Society of London


09:30–10:00 — Registration

10:00–10:15 — Intro by Dr Leanne Melbourne FLS (Linnean Society)

10.20–10.50 — Miranda Lowe FLS (Natural History Museum)

Diversity in the face of biodiversity: A personal story of working in the world of Natural History

10.55–11.25 — Claire Banks (University of Edinburgh)

Natural history drawings in triplicate: Francis Buchanan-Hamilton’s Indian artists and the mystery of the hand-made copies

11.30–12.00 — Dr Ernesto Schwartz-Marin (Exeter University)

The Frog and the Vine: How to move beyond biopiracy when addressing the relationship between indigenous knowledge and biomedical innovation in Latin America

12:05–13:00 — LUNCH

13.05–13.35 — Kevin Coutinho (Windsor Fellowship)

Destination STEMM Mentoring Programme and Why it is Needed

13.40–14.10 — Prof Rich Pancost (University of Bristol)

The Green and Black Ambassadors: tackling inclusion challenges in the environmental sector

14:15–14:35 — TEA BREAK

14.40–15.30 — Q&A

15.30–17.00 — Further discussion and drinks reception


Miranda Lowe

Miranda Lowe is a principal curator and museum scientist at the Natural History Museum, London where she is responsible for many historically important oceanographic specimens from the Discovery and Challenger expeditions including Charles Darwin’s barnacles and corals. She is a specialist in marine invertebrates especially crabs, lobsters, barnacles, jellyfish & corals. As a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Biology and the Linnean Society she is enthusiastic on communicating her science through appearances on TV and radio. She has a deep interest in the politics of natural history display, the role that art, science and museums play in our understanding of the natural world. As a co-founding member of Museum Detox, an organisation supporting Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) heritage sector and museum professionals, she works tirelessly on issues concerning representation and inclusion in museums and gallery spaces.

Claire Banks

Claire Banks studied Painting at Edinburgh College or Art and Herbal Medicine at Napier University, Edinburgh and now works as a botanical artist and teacher at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. A recipient of the Jill Smythies Award from the Linnean Society of London in 2015, her work has been published in many international botany journals and also major publications such as the Flora of Nepal and Flora of Thailand.

Dr Ernesto Schwartz-Marin

Dr Ernesto Schwartz-Marin is a Lecturer of Sociology at the Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology Department in Exeter University. Schwartz-Marin has performed extensive ethnographic fieldwork since 2007 on the socio-political dimensions of biomedical and forensic research in Mexico and Colombia, including four years of laboratory ethnographies. Schwartz-Marin’s publications have served as key referents in UNESCO shadow report dealing with science cooperation and openness in Latin America. Since 2015, he has served as a pro-bono consultant for the geno-cultural sovereignty network of Ecuador (‘Red de Soberanía Genocultural del Ecuador’). Schwartz-Marin has led three ESRC funded projects dealing with Citizen-Led Science providing him with extensive experience in participatory action research and the instigation of novel relationships between science and society. Presently he is involved in the co-production of new data governance regimes oriented toward justice and indigenous bioscience in Latin America.

Kevin Coutinho

Kevin Coutinho was appointed as the Chair of the Board of Trustees in 2012. He is a Group 11 Graduate Windsor Fellow, sponsored by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and was previously the Director of Higher Education and Employment Programmes at the Windsor Fellowship. Kevin joined University College London as an Equality and Diversity Manager in June 2018. He is also the Vice-Chair of the Higher Education Race Action Group (HERAG), a sector wide body that promotes race equality, and an Athena SWAN panellist. Between 2008 and 2018 he was the Head of Equality and Diversity at the University of Oxford, an Equality and Diversity Consultant at the University of Cambridge and an HR Strategy and Policy Partner at Birkbeck, University of London.

Rich Pancost

Rich Pancost is an Earth scientist who studies how our planet works as a system, both in the past and today (and maybe in the future). He is Head of the School of Earth Sciences and was Director and a founder of the Cabot Institute for the Environment. In the latter role, he has been involved in much public engagement around environmental challenges and solutions, including Bristol’s year as the European Green Capital. In Rich's own words "I have sometimes failed to recognise and address the challenges of incorporating marginalised voices into our discussions and policy-making; I am trying to do better".

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