Today we celebrate International Women’s Day. Fire Tech are creating a more balanced world by inspiring young girls in tech and changing the way they think about STEM careers by introducing #AllGirls courses.
Here we talk to one of our heroes, who is also trying to get more women into STEM, Genevieve about her latest project and how technology has influenced her.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a trained teacher in computing education and a current lecturer at Roehampton University in London. Technology has always been in my life one way or another. I vividly remember learning computing at GCSE level there were next to no girls and the same at A-Level there were like 180 boys and no girls.
How did you get the idea to combine computing, data and dance?
I was hugely into dancing as a young girl, and the more I got involved with technology I started to see the links between the movements, dance and programming languages. This then lead me to look into using the arts to share and make computing education more accessible and understood.
Data-driven dance was the main drive with the purpose of the ballet being the theatrical aspect and the technology being used as a classroom resource. The idea was to produce multiple ballets, as a theory to teach computer science by manifesting the two together in many different ways. It was significant to recognise the importance of the arts and that made it more accessible to people with different ideas within computing.
What has been the response from the project?
We love getting people involved and coming in to watch and we record the performances to share. A huge part of it for me has been learning along the way and that computing is way beyond just making a website or using a search engine.
In the latest ballet [project] brainwave data has been evident, looking at the ethics at the bio data and using the brainwave data because it is normally so hidden. Linking the computing theory, data and communication to get people to not only think about data protection but the world around it. The project is all to do with singularity and computer science as a way to navigate this complex area of ethics. The use of A/R and lights, visuals controlled by the brain data by the audience and the dancers is used to express this.
What have you learnt from this project and what’s the next step?
The project [and learning] is ongoing, each time it is the complexity of using art, multifaceted, patterns, dancers, lights and sensor data, projection mapping and data visualisation to create beautiful imagery and create learning opportunities for everyone.
We are looking into brainwave data and emotive headsets at the moment, and using scratch 3 to create stimulative data. The next stage is going to explore how we can get data to generate music or create more impact into the visuals, ensuring we look into ethics data first. We are also going to look at transmissive data, space probes, how they work, what are they sending back and what information can we take.
What would you say to young women and girls who are not sure if tech is for them?
I think they need to look how technology is used in their interests. To many people, the combination of ballet and computer science seems strange but you would be surprised where tech is used. It is everywhere. You don’t need to be a full on programmer. I believe it’s important to be involved with tech so we have a collective philosophy and come together to work on projects. My arts based projects are tech oriented but it’s about not being afraid and just because it is techy doesn’t mean it’s just for the boys. It is for everyone, it creates useful tools for yourself, helping with education, poverty, safe places to go. We are all walking around with a super computer project in our pockets.
If you could choose any Fire Tech course, what would you pick and why?
I would probably choose Digital Photography as photography is one thing I don’t really know how to do and I think it’s an important skill to have. Imagine if there was an interstellar photography course – I would definitely do that! I think photography is a very useful and highly beneficial skill for anyone to learn.
Check out Genevieve’s website here.