The ACM-W Cyprus Celebration of Women in Maker Cultures concluded with particular success on 13 July 2019. The event was co-organized with the Youth Board of Cyprus and Youth Makerspace Larnaca, and resulted in a day full of engaging interactive workshops, and keynote speeches.
The recent rise of the Maker Movement has given way to the establishment of many Makerspaces, also known as Fabrication Labs and Hackerspaces, around the world, that place emphasis on bringing people together in a space that democratizes the tools that can allow individuals to tinker, make and create collaborative projects. With modern technologies, often considered a masculine domain, the focus of the ACM-W celebration was to showcase women within the Cyprus community that actively engage in STEM, and to provide the opportunity for participants of all ages to connect, interact and learn from accomplished women in maker cultures.
Maker cultures operate at the intersection of Science, Technology and the Arts and the ACM-W Celebration of Women in Maker Cultures aimed to explore this multidimensionality. Dr Antigoni Parmaxi, Cyprus University of Technology, gave a keynote speech entitled “Women in the Maker Movement: Gender Culture and Technology”, and provided an overview of a UNDP-funded research project ,“WomenPower”, which highlighted the need for the sharing of skills and knowledge, putting forward principles of inclusiveness, mentoring, and promotion of women’s empowerment, equality and social coherence. Dr Yiota Demetriou, Pervasive Media Studio, interrogated our understanding of culture and the cultural, in her talk “Interrupting and Hacking Culture and the Language of Making”. She spoke about the power of personal, often lost, stories and the potential of technology and performativity to emotionally connect people, as well as challenge normative culture through co-creation.
The event offered a series of free workshops on coding, robotics and photography. A workshop focused on programming using Python enabled participants to understand and write simple interactive programs using basic elements of programming such as input/output, expressions, conditionals, and loops. Event participants also got a chance to experiment with robotics, using the ERP MINI controller, RJ cables, infrared and engine sensors, while others explored the creative possibilities afforded by photography and digital editing software like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.
The event was funded by ACM-W and Microsoft, and was supported by ACM-W Cyprus Chapter, Cyprus Interaction Lab, Cyprus University of Technology and the Cyprus Computer Society.