This weekend I have traveled from London to Huddersfield (UK) to lead one of the workshops programmed within the initiative Free creative digital workshops, held at the Kirklees Libraries. This initiative, organized by Huddersfield Girl Geeks, has consisted in a weekend of free digital making workshops for girls age 13 to 17, run by professionals “Girl Geeks”. Huddersfield Girl Geeks is a new network that supports, inspires, and unites girls and women interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths), digital and coding, led by Amy Hearn.

In the last two years, I have become more active in promoting music technology as a woman: first, participating to the Women in Sound / Women in Sound Conference at Lancaster University in April 2016 event as a keynote speaker and performer; second, co-founding the initiative of Women in Music Tech at Georgia Tech; and third, making more visible that there is a woman behind my artistic work. Through the above initiatives, we often discuss how there are expected stereotypes that can prevent girls with geek interests to pursue their career into STEM fields. We also typically talk about the lack of role models. Thus, I was very excited about taking an active part in this initiative!

My 3-hour workshop Audiovisual creative coding with P5.js is designed to learn how to code by creating audiovisual pieces suitable for the web using P5.js and particularly the P5.sound library. I had a small group of three girls with some background in programming and high interest in pursuing their careers in information technology (IT). They were eager to discover more creative aspects of programming. I really enjoyed this session, and I think they also did: I walked them through the essential tools to start exploring JavaScript via P5.js, debugging through the JavaScript console in Chrome, and exploring the relationships between visuals and audio through P5.sound, including concepts such as digital musical instrument design and music information retrieval.

Three hours has been the right time to plant a seed about the way of thinking in CS engineering and creative programming. My role has consisted in showing an entry point. Hopefully, I have contributed with my little sand grain to their future careers in STEM. Teaching is an exchange: the three girls have also changed my way of thinking. We should not forget about how meaningful these workshops can be for these amazing girl geeks, and try to actively be part of this kind of initiatives!

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Liz Dobson for introducing me to the Huddersfield Girl Geeks, Amy Hearn for inviting me to run a workshop and making it feasible, Gerard Roma for his onsite support, and Google for sponsoring this initiative.