BLACKBURN’S first-ever ‘Girl Geeks’ group has been formed by students at Blackburn college and together they have been creating a digital quilt with the help of award-winning PhD student Rachel Keller.
Girl Geeks is a not-for-profit enterprise that aims to address the under-representation of women in science, engineering, technology and innovative entrepreneurialism, and to get women involved in these industries by providing workshops and programmes.
National figures show that an average of only four to five per cent of girls choose to study computing and that is reflected at Blackburn College, where there are around 280 students studying BTEC computing at the college, only 14 of them girls.
And with that in mind, college lecturer Julie Johnson, a member of the Manchester Girl Geeks, created the Blackburn Girl Geeks.
The team has since partnered with Rachel Keller, a PhD Student from Lancaster University, whose digital quilt has won her several awards and has been displayed at the NEC.
Rachel sewed 12 patches of fabric to make a quilt, but unlike a bedspread, each cloth patch can be scanned with a computer or mobile device to reveal a hidden digital story.
Rachel is now helping the Blackburn Girl Geeks make their own digital quilt and each member is creating their own patch that will use the same technology that’s found in an oyster card to reveal text, photos, audio and video when scanned with a smartphone or similar device.
The Girl Geeks’ quilt will tell a story of what it’s like to be a girl in computing and what has inspired them to join a computing course.
Julie said: “Through the club we are going to introduce the students into coding electronics to add control and interaction into their projects.”
Rachel said: “Julie is a gem to work with – full of practical ideas.”