Joanna Harries is a singer and co-producer of INTERSTELLA, a new opera project about women in space. In a series of short, interlocking one-woman chamber operas, INTERSTELLA gives voice to incredible women whose stories have been eclipsed.
Here Joanna spotlights five places to go around the UK to discover more about some of the astronauts, mathematicians, astronomers and engineers who have been inspiring her...
#2: In Bath, you can visit the house of 18th century astronomer and singer Caroline Herschel, now the Herschel Museum of Astronomy. She was a professional singer, before being introduced to astronomy by her brother William Herschel and giving up music to pursue her study of the stars. She was also the first female scientist in Britain to earn a salary. Her telescope is also in the Science Museum in London.
#3: At the National Space Centre in Leicester you can see a signed armband worn by a member of ground crew at the launch of Valentina Tereshkova’s historic flight in 1963, when she became the first woman in space. It’s been signed by Tereshkova herself, along with other luminaries of the Soviet Space programme.
#4: At the Armargh Planetarium in Northern Ireland you can walk in the footsteps of Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, the pioneering astrophysicist who discovered “pulsars”: strange radio pulses that come from the cosmos. The planetarium was designed by her father, an architect, and she used to visit it during her PhD studies. At school Jocelyn was not initially allowed to study science – the girls had to study needlework whilst the boys took technical subjects. Her parents complained to get her admitted, and her PhD work went on to contribute to a Nobel Prize for Physics.
#5: From anywhere you can find the inspirational blog “Rocket Women” online at www.rocket-women.com. It is founded by engineer Vinita Marwaha Madill, who has designed a spacesuit for the European Space Agency, among other things. She interviews some of the top women in space science. You can even buy a Rocket Woman t-shirt, with proceeds supporting a scholarship for women to attend the International Space University.
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INTERSTELLA is in development with an out of this world all female/non binary team as part of a Britten Pears Arts Residency. Book now to watch a work in progress sharing. Read more about Joanna Harries.
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