Feminist Maker Spaces

A post I wrote for the Taccle3 project output on STEM attitudes and encouraging girls and young women to engage in STEM…

I recently came across the article The Rise of Feminist Hacker Spaces and How to Make Your Own which describes the history and creation of Double Union hacker space in San Fransisco.  A hacker space is another term for a maker space, an environment in which people are encouraged to be creative and to make something from first principles, to build something from its most basic components. That something could be as ambitious as an all singing all dancing robot or it could be an item of clothing.

It got me thinking that there must be other groups doing great things for inclusivity, so I went searching for some. First I found Mz Baltazar’s Lab, and then an article about the rise of feminist hackerspaces in the US published by The Journal of Peer Production. The article explains the phenomenon in more depth than I ever could and is worth a read if you’ve got the time.

Here at Taccle we’re not expecting teachers to go out and start a maker-space, you’ve got enough on your hands as it is, but you may find inspiration for yourself, your groups and classes in the great projects below.  At the end of this blog post we have added links to some online resources to help keep your practice inclusive.

Mz Baltazar’s Lab – Austria

This intersectional feminist makerspace is an inclusive and accessible way for everyone to get involved with making and computing.


Hacker Moms – San Francisco

“We give mothers of every gender the time and space to explore DIY craft and design, hacker/maker culture, community workshops, entrepreneurship and all manner of creative expression — with on-site childcare. Our HackerSprouts program teaches children the creative process through educational childcare and STEAM-based workshops. HackerMoms creates families that build together.”


Prototype – Pittsburgh

“Prototypers have access to shared tools, space, events, knowledge, and support. All genders and disciplines are welcome to join. ”


Liberating ourselves locally

“Liberating Ourselves Locally (LOL) is a people of color -led, social justice Maker Space in East Oakland. Led by a gender-diverse, majority queer and trans crew of hackers, healers, artists and activists of color,

LOL makes space and resources for community to come learn, play, experiment, and build skills while working on projects they love, for self-determination and community power”


Dragon Hall Tech Hub – London

Photo: www.taccle3.eu

This group is all about “Bridging the Digital Divide” bringing new technologies, coding clubs and opportunities to those who would not usually be able to access them, the focus here is on including marginalised groups including: learning disability; homelessness; mental health; LGBT, BME and young women.

“Dragon Hall has a strong track record of engaging the most vulnerable, disenfranchised children and young people in society, providing activities that promote inclusion, social justice and enable them to realise their potential”


Inclusive resources

There are a lot of great projects going on around Europe with the intention of teaching young people to code, to think logically, to make and create. There are a couple of well known schemes you can easily get involved with by signing up online such as Coder Dojo and Code Club.  There’s also Girls Who Code.

If you’re not ready or able to sign up for a club there are other freely available resources;

https://imagirlwhocodes.com/ This blog is written by girls and young women who are learning code and want to share their experiences and hopefully inspire other girls

https://www.madewithcode.com/ encourages learning through projects such as designing an emoji and mixing music. Other fun projects are showcased here including making games in Scratch. (The sew-electric projects look great but require additional materials)

Google’s CS First has some 1 hour activities and some longer projects designed to introduce Computer Science https://www.cs-first.com/materials

Lesson Plans

For lesson plans click on ‘Ideas and Resources’ on the Taccle3 Portal page or use the links below…

Taccle3 English language site

Taccle3 Welsh language site

Taccle3 Dutch site

Taccle3 Finnish site

Taccle3 Estonian site

Taccle3 German site

Taccle3 Spanish site


On October 6th 2017 we are organising the Taccle3 project’s final conference in the Flemish Parliament in Brussels.

If you:
• Want to learn more about ‘computational thinking’ and the link with coding,
• Listen to some motivational speakers
• Participate in hands-on workshops full of practical class room approaches
… then mark the date in your calendar now!

Thanks to the EU’s Erasmus+ programme we are able to offer this conference free of charge including lunch.

The conference language is English but some workshops will be offered in Dutch. A formal invitation will become available shortly with details of speakers and workshops and with reservation instructions. If you want to receive a personal invitation for the conference and a limited amount of updates on the project then leave us your contact details via this form: https://goo.gl/forms/Dqsdn3d63u5cZX423

Taccle3 Coding is an Erasmus+ funded project coordinated by GO! The aim of the project consortium is to empower primary teachers to introduce ‘computational thinking’ and coding in their class room practice.

The project website www.taccle3.eu provides a lot of materials and resources for classroom teachers. The Ideas and Resources tab takes you to resources, reviews and lesson plans in six different languages.

For more information contact: jens.vermeersch@g-o.be and jenhughes@me.com

Free course on The Changing World of Work

Do you want to be prepared for the challenges of the changing labour market?

Do you want to better understand and apply skills related to emotional awareness, active listening, reflection, coaching skills, peer coaching and powerful questioning?

Do you want to explore tools for handling Labour Market Information (LMI) and the digital agenda?

This course has been devised as part of the European EmployID project, for Public Employment Services (PES) practitioners and careers professionals. Our 5 lessons will run over a period of 6 weeks with an estimated workload of 3.5 hours per week; the total workload is expected to be 17.5 hours.

The course starts on March 28th but enrolment is open now.

Sign up here https://platform.europeanmoocs.eu/course_the_changing_world_of_work_ 

Very Hungry QR Caterpillars

The Taccle  project ran workshops at the National Digital Learning Event for Wales last week. One of the many ideas we presented for embedding ICT across the curriculum was using QR codes to enhance books.

Here’s a link to download ready made codes for The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Cut them out and stick them in the book or use them as part of an interactive display.

Make your own QR codes here.

Have fun!

Charts and viral videos aside, this is why I’m voting IN.

I joked about it six months ago, “if Brexit happens I’m out of a job”, happy in the knowledge that Britain is better off in Europe, that Wales is better off in Europe.

I still believe that. For me there are no compelling reasons to leave, the least of which is ‘getting back control of our borders’. We have control.

I’m not scared of immigrants. I’m scared of Fascists.

I’m not scared of refugees. I’m scared of the people who would deny them refuge.

So now I’m wondering, what do I know about the EU that makes me so sure it’s a good thing? What do I know that the other 52% don’t?

The European Commission pay my wages.

They don’t just give me money without a bloody good reason though, applying for funding to pay me around £100 a week requires a detailed plan, an 80 page application form, research, explanations meeting their strict criteria, coordinating a team of partners across Europe, finding the best people, assurances from accountants, weeks of unpaid work… and if the Commission don’t think it’s going to benefit enough other people, people who need it, it’s back to the drawing board.

And if we are successful? We have to work hard and deliver a high quality project, we have to prove that real people are benefiting, we have to provide research and evidence and reports and publications and make the project sustainable even after the money has all been spent and account for every penny and cent or the Commission will take it all back.

Yes that takes bureaucracy. I’m glad it does. It means that money from the EU goes to people who need it.

People like  The Squad in London who worked alongside DragonHall Trust on the RadioActive project where young people with no qualifications, young people at risk of exclusion from society and young people with multiple profound learning disabilities were trained in media skills, given a platform, and empowered to make some cracking Internet Radio. The money from the EU ran out years ago but because of their initial contribution the project is still running in three countries, improving self esteem, increasing employability and giving a voice to people who need to be heard.

People like kids in Rhondda Cynon Taf, one of the poorest areas in Europe (It’s in a convergence region so the per capita gross domestic product(GDP) is less than 75% of the average GDP of the EU-25) who get to experience free tech-workshops, broadening their horizons.

People like teachers, everywhere, who get free CPD training and teaching resources provided through projects like Taccle3 (and then there’s CPD for NHS staff and Construction workers and Public Employment Services and support for people starting new businesses…)

If we leave, do you really think Westminster gives a damn about the at risk people, the people with disabilities or the kids living in poverty. We give money to the EU, the EU re-distributes it where it is needed most. I don’t trust the government to do that.