In 2011, Niamh remembered that she wanted to be a space explorer and that moment changed the course of her life forever. She is on that road now, but it took tenacity, honesty and having to re-define perceptions of myself, failure and the world itself.
Niamh’s talk explores innovative approaches to problem solving, collaboration and the personal steps she has learned that allowed her to dream big and fulfill life’s ambitions.
Niamh story will inspire us to embrace change and not to be afraid of looking for opportunities to achieve a full life.
Dr Niamh Shaw is an Irish engineer, scientist and performer.
She presents the human story of science, creating theatre shows, public events and contributions to media with this focus. She has set herself a life’s mission to get to space, as artist and explorer. She hopes that by sharing the human story behind such a venture, it will help us better understand our place in the story of space, and the beauty of our planet Earth.
Highlights of Niamh’s space mission so far include a visit to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Star City, Russia. During her time there, she experienced a Zero gravity flight exploring weightlessness on Earth. She participated in a simulated Mars mission in January 2017 as the artist and journalist for Crew 173. She was part of a team of six international analogue astronauts at the Mars Desert Research Station in the Utah desert. In February she was advisor and artist at a new analogue Mars facility DMARS in the Ramon Crater, Israel.
Recently voted one of Ireland’s leading science communicators and STEAM specialists (merging science, technology, engineering, arts and maths), her contribution to science and its application to Irish life was acknowledged by Uachtaráin na hÉireann, President Michael D. Higgins at his annual St Patricks Day reception in 2017 in Áras an Uachtaráin.
She is artist in residence at CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory, Humanities co-chair at 2018 Space Studies Programme, and the Dublin point of contact for Ireland’s national Space week. Her newest theatre piece ‘Diary of a Martian Beekeeper’ funded under SFI’s 2017 Discover programme, working closely with ESA’s Astronaut Centre in Cologne premiered as part of Space Week 2017 and tours Ireland and the UK this summer.
Niamh provides specialised communication workshops for researchers and academics. She collaborates with research and science institutions, arts & media centres, private corporations and NGO’s to attract new audiences of all ages to science and space. She contributes to BBC’s monthly Sky at Night astronomy magazine and writes a multimedia column aimed at adults to encourage new ways to engage with STEM, for the online journal Headstuff.
Niamh believes that we can be many things at the same time. She is curious, always and embraces failure every day.