Women in Technology Networking Event at BBC Future Media
I really enjoyed attending the Women in Technology Event from BBC Future Media. I went with a few clear aims. One was to get as much information about how to encourage women into technology roles. This is to help me with work I’m doing at Ideas Foundation mentoring year 8 girls to encourage them to choose technology subjects. The second was to see if I could make any connections with the technology team to help with my PhD research around interactive narratives. The final aim was to tweet on the Abandon Normal Devices account anything interesting that came up about Project Daedalus, the project I am the Creative Producer on.
I was easily able to pick up some great information and food for thought on my work mentoring year 8 girls. A lot of this came from the final key note speaker. Kate Russell, who is a technology journalist and BBC Click presenter. The key thing I got from this was how telling girls that there is a shortage in women in technology, discourages them from taking the subject. She suggested that solutions for this are having female role models who are ‘cool’ and aspirational to attract them to events. But also to have women in jobs already doing it speak to them directly. Combining this with skills development in a female friendly environments, so making sure that class rooms are not full of very masculine things.
My second aim, to see if I could make any connections to help with my PhD was possibly the least successful of the event. Whilst there were loads of interesting things to listen too, there was not a great deal that really connected with my research. It was however great to meet two members of the Research and Development team, Rosie and Charlotte. Seeing as my research’s content is closely linked to BBC experiments through other contacts, meeting more people working in this is always a good thing!
My third aim, to tweet interesting things on the Abandon Normal Devices twitter feed was also successful. Project Daedalus the research project that I work on, is all about how we can use drones as arts and cultural organisations to create immersive storytelling experiences. In one section of the day we visited the ‘Blue Room’ that houses new technology. Here I found a DJI phantom drone, as well as various VR (virtual reality) devices, which were on offer to have a play with. Which was great! I had a very brief chat with someone there, who I will follow up with as someone who may want to attend one of the lab events we have about how to use the drones.
So overall a brilliant day, I have a great long list of interesting people to follow up with, which I think is great success for a networking event!