BCSWomen & other BCS stuff

I'm the on the national UK committee for BCSWomen and my role is Academic Liaison. This means I generally do work linking university students and staff with the society and women in the BCS. I started the BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium, our main event for women students of computing and related subjects, and I chair that event still. It moves around the country every year (so far, it's been in Leeds, Leeds, Cardiff, Birmingham, Bath and Nottingham; in 2014 it'll be in Reading). My role is to find speakers, organise sponsorship, chair things on the day, handle student posters and travel, and ensure that the day goes as smoothly as possible. We have had about 450 women attend over the last 6 years. You can find out more about the BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium on our main site, hosted in Aber at http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/cs/employability/lovelace-colloquium/. I also help out every year at the big postgraduate women event (the London Hopper).

On top of the academic conferences supporting women students, I'm also keen to build workshops that others can make use of; this links to my interests in computing in schools (and generally, creative computing inside or outside of school). I've put together workshops on various topics (AI, wearable computing, and so on) but the main one I've done with a BCSWomen hat on is Android programming with AppInventor. If you'd like to run a workshop for families, this is a good one! We've run it with family groups aged 6+ and it works well. All materials are available from that link.

I also speak and write about women in computing - and more generally at women in tech events. In particular there's a talk which is co-authored by myself and Gillian Arnold, BCSWomen Chair, that we've given in a number of locations. I've presented it at BCS Birmingham, BCS Wolverhampton, and (most scarily) at the hacker festival EMF in a field in Milton Keynes. I've had women in tech articles published in academic conferences, but also in IT NOW and Computer Weekly. (I've also spoken at W-tech, the London Hopper, the Lovelace...)

I also spent four years as deputy chair, but stood down in 2012. I prefer working in a hands on way - putting on workshops, organising conferences, writing articles, giving talks... rather than dealing with committees and so on. I know that it's the politics and committees which are likely to make the big change, but I'm really not cut out for that kind of work. I'd much rather be building something or teaching something than trying to be political:-)

Generally, BCSWomen is the largest organisation for women in computing in the UK, with over 1200 members. Our aim is to support women working in computing, and to encourage more women and girls to consider computing as a career. We do a lot of different face-to-face activities - one-day conferences for students, day trips and outings, training courses, regional events in conjunction with branches. But the majority of our activity is virtual, either informally using social media and discussion groups or more formally through mentoring schemes and services such as CV checking.

Local BCS Activity

I'm on the committees of the local BCS Branch, and currently am deputy chair - you can find out about our activities here: BCS Mid Wales branch.

I am no longer anything to do with BCSWomen in Wales. This is a much newer group, centered in South Wales, which is kind-of affiliated to BCSWomen but which has ambitions of independence. I was on their committee but I no longer support their objectives - I think it would be much better for women in computing if we all tried to work together rather than trying to set up separate groups regionally. BCSWomen Scotland manage to work really well with the national organisation and I would much rather that the Welsh group did too.