Archive for the ‘Workshops’ Category

G.Hack @MusicTechFest, IRCAM, Paris

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014
G.Hack troops returned from another successful workshop taking place at IRCAM as part of Music Tech Fest 21-23 November. We taught a group of women from different tech/ music backgrounds (and countries) how to hack Web Audio API to make a soundmap of Centre Pompidou, got the ‘thumbs up’ from the participants and the MTF organizers (so another collaboration might just be on the cards!). A BIG THANK YOU goes to our supervisors (Tony Stockman, Nick Bryan-Kinns and Simon Dixon), the amazing Mark Plumbley and the QMUL Platform Grant panel who approved the G.Hack travel funding application!
And what can we say about the G.Hack troops Patrizia, Katja, Magdalena and Nela ??? Well .. they certainly went ‘above and beyond’ by working at evenings and weekends to make this workshop a great success and to ‘represent’ QMUL as a place of female tech-talent ! (hmm this sounds like a title for a TV show, maybe a project for 2015 ?). Magda discovered her passion for teaching coding (so you might find her following in her father’s footsteps when she submits her PhD). Katja discovered hacking into Leapmotion and Web Audio API can be pretty addictive (and is probably poking around the code right now!). Patricia discovered her expertise in French and coding are better than she thought they were and Nela discovered her greatest talent might just be in “public speaking” having presented not once but twice in the course of the weekend (sounds like she might be following in her father’s footsteps too!).
Whilst the future of the MTF G.Hack team is slowly unravelling we leave you with some photos from the event (including the amazing G.Hack poster designed by our colleagues at MTF in French and English!)
MTF team designed this awesome G.Hack poster (in French and English!)

Nela presenting G.Hack project

Magda doing a last run-through the new coding slides

Sorting wi-fi for the workshop with IRCAM/MTF peeps

Magda, Katja and Patrizia troubleshooting local hosting on Windows 8

G.Hack workshop in full swing with Magda and Katja helping participants troubleshoot

Gail has hacked the Centre Pompidou soundmap !

Dinner at amazing Japanese bistro Sanukiya (recommended by Stacy)

Magda, Stacy (software engineer from San Francisco, workshop participant and Sanukiya host!), Patrizia and Nela at Pont des Arts

After dinner, cake and more hacking Katja and Magda are ready to hit the bed !

The morning after the workshop: Magda and Katja discussing history of religion after visiting Notre Dame ...

... whilst Patrizia is catching up on sleep in hotel lobby !

A few crêpes and café au lait's later, Katja and Patrizia are calculating XY co-ordinates for FryMachine hack images !




G.Hack presents: Hack Workshop & Women Hackers panel at Sonar 2014!

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

After noticing the low number of female hackers at Music Hack Days, G.Hack troops Patrizia, Magda, Katerina and Nela decided to put together some fun activities for Sónar+D (Barcelona’s 21st International Festival of Advanced Music and New Media Art) festival including Learn to Hack Web Audio API with G.Hack workshop (to teach female attendees of some hacking skills and encourage them to participate in future Music Hack Days!) and Women Hackers panel with inspirational women founders, leaders, researchers and advocates of cyberfeminism, hacktivism, open culture and free tech education (more info and photos below!).

Workshop: Learn to Hack Web Audio API with G.Hack

In the workshop, participants will learn about the culture of software and hardware hacking through short demos and examples, before moving on to using Web Audio API straight through their web browser! The Web Audio API is a high-level JavaScript API for processing and synthesizing audio in web applications. It includes capabilities found in modern game audio engines and some mixing, processing and filtering tasks found in modern desktop audio production applications. Participants will use this API to build simple synths and combine them with other musical feature extraction APIs to make some cool hacks! (The workshop is aimed at women beginners with no previous programming experience, though all levels are welcome).

Talk: Women Hackers

Panel speakers:
  • Nela Brown, Chair of G.Hack
  • Alex Haché, member of Dones Tech a group of Social Research dedicated to creating digital content, media production and communication. Haché is doctor of economy, cyberfeminist, hacktivist, developer of technopolitical projects, researcher of ICT for public good.
  • Klau Kinki, part of Pechblenda LAB, an experimental laboratory where learning arises from raw experimentation and the self-formation where free knowledge emerges.
  • Amélie Anglade, member of OpenTechSchool a movement aiming to offer free tech education. Co-founder of Hackership, a full-time 3-month hacker school programme located in Berlin and based on the values of OpenTechSchool. Her work focuses on supporting hackers of all backgrounds to learn and grow, and also she does music information retrieval and recommendation for a living. She presents herself as a music hacker at heart.
ps Amélie is also ex-QML PhD student (C4DM research group) as well as one of the WISE@QMUL founding committee members, so a super woman indeed !!!

Nela Brown, Pechblenda LAB, Amélie Anglade & Alex Haché

G.Hack team brainstorming workshop structure at QMUL :-)

Katerina and Magdalena discussing mathematical models and how best to teach the coding part of the workshop

Day before the workshop: Patricia, Magdalena and Katerina with G.Hack poster

G.Hack Sonar 2014 Workshop poster

Nela delivering Part 1 of the workshop ...

Magda helping participants resolve 'soundmap' issues :-)

Workshop participants helping each other download all the 'tools'

Nela chairing Women Hackers panel with Alex Haché, Amélie Anglade, Julito and Klau Kinki

Nela, Magdalena and Patrizia celebrating the end of a loooooong day at Sonar 2014 with gazpacho soup and sangria (whilst Katerina continues hacking with the rest of QMUL troops at Sonar Music Hack Day :-)

Nela’s Chair Report – 14 July, 2012

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

Spring term was a super busy time for G.Hack troops and SMLT installation which made the appearance at quite a few events. We also delivered another workshop to staff and students of Central Saint Martins (TEXmap Afternoon Tea) as an extension of  SMLT, using textiles, smart materials and a hacked teapot ! At the same time we were also super busy with our research, publications, conferences and reviews (hence this report being soooooo late !). Without further ado this is what we have been up to:

10 March: Hack podcast recording for  QMUL communications office

Myself, Pollie and Nicola met up with journalist Nick Patrick to talk about what we do in G.Hack and show him the Sound Mapping London Tea Houses installation (the sounds of which also made it into the podcast !)

17 April: EECS Research Open Day at QMUL

We exhibited SMLT at Research Open Day and this was great fun as lost of our colleagues who only heard about the installation finally had a chance to play with it ! Also, our superstar programming guru Alice won not 1 but 2 poster awards ! Well done Alice !!!

Alice posing with 2 awards for best poster !

18 April: TEXmap Afternoon Tea workshop at CSM

Our textile guru Berit and electronics gurus Nanda and Pollie have come together to extend the idea of SMLT into a workshop for Central Saint Martins staff and students using textiles, thermochromic inks, conductive yarn and other smart materials, teacups which trigger sound and a hacked teapot which heats up to precisely 47 degrees ! This was delivered at the fabulous new CSM premises at Kings Cross where we will be back next term for another workshop. Berit also wrote an article about the workshop so you will be able to read more about it in the next issue of ee4fn!

Berit preparing MaxMsp patch

Switches connected to Arduino

Thermochromic inks

2 switches per each London borough

Instructions for workshop participants

Painting, sewing and blowdrying !

Electronics inside of the teapot ...

... and at the bottom ...

when it heats up the teapot affects the thermochromic inks ...

... to create wonderful patterns !

almost ready for Tate Modern !

15 May: London Hopper at BCS

We exhibited SMLT at London Hopper Colloquium  which took place at BCS again this year and I did a brief introduction to G.Hack and its activities. Pollie and Alice also presented the posters and Sonia and Magda were helping out getting SMLT in and out of van in the pouring rain ! According to the BCS survey 74% of the participants taking the survey gave Excellent/Good marks for SMLT and I spoke to lots of female researchers who were either inspired  by what we do and wanted some advice on starting a similar project, already had something going at their own university or indeed back home in Syria !

Introducing G.Hack ...

Alice demonstrating SMLT

Alice and myself catching up with Becky ! Yay !

17 May: EPSRC event in Swindon

Nicola and Ilze took SMLT to EPSRC event in Swindon where they were asked if the money EPSRC spends on these kind of initiatives is really worth it. I think G.Hack has proven WE REALLY ARE WORTH IT and money should be funding these kinds of initiatives across all universities on yearly basis !

22 May: Digital Shoreditch Innovation Day

We exhibited at Innovation Day (part of Digital Shoreditch festival) and I got a chance to spread the word about all the initiatives we are involved with at QMUL (G.Hack, WISE@QMUL and FLOSSIE) during ‘Women in technology: A forum for solutions’ panel, alongside some pretty incredible speakers Pru Ashby (London and Partners), Jo Twist (UKIE), Jennifer Sheridan (Togeva), Sophie McDonald (MzTEK), Evelyn Wilson (TCCE) and Al James. Just awesome !!! Sophie and Emilie from MzTEK came by to say hi and yes I wore a fab limited edition QMUL T-shirt (if there are any left in the Fusion shop go grab one NOW!).

Spreading the word ...

SMLT quietly glowing during the presentations ...

3 MzTEK members + 2 G.Hack members = 4 gals. Geddit ?

25 & 26 May: FLOSSIE 2012

We exhibited SMLT and presented G.Hack at the first ever FLOSSIE (for women using open source software and hardware) which took place at QMUL . The event was organised by Flossie collective (which includes me and Becky) and was sponsored by Google, Sirius, G.Hack and WISE@QMUL !

People enjoy reading about tea houses we recorded at !

27 May: qMedia Open Studios, QMUL

SMLT came over to qMedia Open Studios from Flossie for one day only, but long enough to get more feedback on the installation, spread the word about G.Hack and make a short video !

It was hot, it was bright, one speaker wasn't working but SMLT kept going !

19, 20 & 22 June: CMMR conference, Wiltons Music Hall

We entered SMLT as part of the music track call for CMMR conference and 5 of us got the chance to sit in CMMR lectures, go to workshops, exhibit SMLT at the wonderful Wiltons Music Hall and listen to some pretty amazing performances!

SMLT blending in perfectly !

Nicola talking to EECS peeps !

Alice talking to CMMR peeps ! (photo by Steve Welburn)

24 June & 4 July: EECS Taster days, QMUL

We delivered a talk about G.Hack (with some colourful slides!) and demonstrated SMLT as part of the EECS taster days. The event was attended by some 120 high school students, none of which knew anything about Processing, MaxMsp or Reactivision software (driving SMLT) so we had to find ways of explaining the interaction and technology used in much simple terms (a good exercise for anyone wanting to improve their public engagement skills!).  It was all a bit nerve wrecking until we opened up the SMLT door and everyone had a chance to peek inside realising they already knew how to use all the equipment that ‘magically triggered sound when the teapot was moved across the surface’ (computer, projector, webcam). After this they started raising hands and asking a lot of questions about the stuff they could do with their own equipment at home and we knew we found a way to get through to them.


Nela’s Chair Report – 4 December, 2011

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

Christmas is around the corner and there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in a day to tie up all loose ends before 2012 comes knocking on the door. The workshop is currently closed for refurbishment so skill sharing and planning G.Hack activities for 2012 continues at various other spaces around the QMUL campus. At the moment, as long as there is heat and power we’re a happy bunch. Come January the soldering withdrawal symptoms will become a bit more acute and so will our desire to get stuck into designing a new workshop or indeed a new installation. One thing is for sure, we can’t go into the new year without a blog update (I already received one nudge email this week) and a few photos from the first two official G.Hack workshops of the 2011, Just a switch at V&A and T-Hack with G.Hack at the Space. They were the first but will certainly not be the last !

‘T-Hack with G.Hack’, 19 November 2011, Space

Ilze presenting SMLT, Alice printing fiducials and myself (erm ... my laptop screen) printing sound recording tips

Alice explaining how Processing, ReacTIVision and MaxMsp work together ...

and doing a quick intro to Logic so participants can edit sounds they recorded earlier that day around Hackney

Nic taking the participants through a simple example of Processing code working with ReacTIVision

Magda making sense of it all for the first time :-) Go Magda !


‘Just a switch’, 3 November 2011, V&A

'Just a switch' mastermind Berit, showing us how to 'prepare' 110 wires for switches ...

and how graphite can be fun and messy !

Pollie is teaching participants about the concept of 'switch'

Nic is making a 'masterpiece' ...

out of paper, graphite, conductive yarn, conductive foam and copper

'Prepared stylophone'


more switches made with paper ...

rubber ball ...

textile ...

and conductive foam :-)

'Just a switch' poster

'What goes up must come down', G.Hack troops clearing up the V&A whilst Berit is catching a flight to Berlin to do the next workshop, busy girl !



T-Hack with G.Hack workshop, Saturday 19 November, 2011

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

T-Hack with G.Hack

Following the successful Sound Mapping London Tea Houses installation at the V&A in September 2011, G.Hack is running a workshop in which the participants will learn the basic techniques involved in the construction of an interactive table top including simple programming using Processing, MaxMsp and reacTIVision software, sound recording and sound editing.

Participants are required to bring their own laptops preferably with preinstalled sound editing software, Processing, reacTIVision and MaxMsp (demo licence is fully functional for 30 days) and if they have it, sound recording equipment.

Tickets are £25 (and selling fast !)

Register here:

WHEN November 19th 2011 10.30am – 4.30pm

WHERE SPACE 129 -131 Mare St London E8 3RH

Part of the Chi-TEK project by MzTEK.

G.Hack workshop at V&A, Thursday 3 November, 2011, 12-5pm

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

G.Hack is back at the V&A on Thursday 3 November from 12.00-17.00 doing the first ever G.Hack workshop as part of INTERWEAVE.
Below you can find more details about the event (and how you can book your place) so do join us for an afternoon of collaborative music making using DIY switches built with conductive yarn, foam, graphite and paper!
Awesome fun or what ???
Go G.Hack !

INTERWEAVE: exploring society through technology, tools and textiles

Thursday 3 November at the Victoria and Albert Museum 

Join Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and the Victoria and Albert Museum to discover how researchers are using technology, tools and textiles to explore and affect far-reaching changes in society.

As part of the ESRC’s Festival of Social Science, this event provides a series of revealing presentations, hands-on making sessions with artists and engineers, an engaging bespoke ‘walkshop’ through the museum’s collection, and more. The day offers an opportunity to learn how social science research methods are used directly in the design of materials and products, and the varied ways in which important and complex current issues are being explored.  Key to the day are the ideas and energy of the Interweave audience – whether you wish to actively participate or have a more contemplative experience.

CSM, Arup, Microsoft Research Cambridge, Queen Mary University of London, V&A, PostlerFerguson, and more, are all taking part.

Interweave aims to be an insightful, dynamic and convivial adventure – all curious people welcome!

Booking required, all sessions are free.
V&A bookings and information service: telephone +44 (0) 20 7942 2211, or email: leanne –