About a month before that, I was trying to organise my desk (drowning under a pile of books and publications I read for my Stage 1 report) and found an old Arduino NG I used with the first version of XBee in my undergraduate project. Aaaah the good old days when I had time to do some physical computing I exchanged a few anecdotes about it all with my colleague Fiore who told me I should check out the London Hack Space. I though to myself why travel across town to London Hack Space when I can get something going right here at QMUL? I pondered over this thought over the weekend and on Monday, I met up with my supervisor and told him I wanted to start up a ‘Girls Hacking Club’ and refresh my physical computing skills (as I would need to design a prototype of interactive technology in the next stage of my research). He thought it was a great idea and yes, I am allowed to start up such project as long as it doesn’t interfere with my research. I said it wouldn’t. When I came back to the office, my second supervisor was there so I told him about my plan and he thought it was a great idea too ! Fiore laughed when I said it was gonna be just girls (as at the time, I was the only girl in the office) but I was confident I would find some girls in the department who might be interested in this venture! I heard that the new Media and Arts Technology PhD programme had some girls who were into the Arduino stuff and that a workshop facility for soldering and other type of ‘making’ work was going to be ready for them to use pretty soon. This was all very good news (as we were not allowed to do soldering in the office for health and safety reasons). I went to speak to the MAT co-ordinator and told him about my idea, asking if it’s going to be PC (politically correct) if the club is just for women. He told me QMUL had a history of women’s societies with WISE@QMUL being on campus for about 3 years (as it happened this society was run by Becky until she left QMUL, and myself and Magda got it all going again in January 2012!). He also mentioned I should speak to Ilze who is a part of MzTEK and if we did get the group going we would be welcome to use the new MAT workshop facilities. Brilliant ! Later on that afternoon I bumped into Ilze and told her about the ‘Girls Hacking Club’ idea and asked if some of the girls from her group would be interested. She got in touch with them and we arranged to meet for the very first time on Monday 21 February at 5pm, at QMUL library. Becky forwarded the email to girls from C4DM after which Alice replied she was up for coming along. Ahead of our first meeting I sent out an email asking everyone to prepare a short presentation about “what makes them so fantastic” so we could find out more about each other’s work, research and interests and what we hope to get out of the ‘club’. As I was writing this I started sifting through those very first emails and found the minutes of our very first meeting (taken by Nicola who went on to become our official secretary !) which state that: Alice, Sam, Nela, Ilze, Pollie, Berit and Nicola were present at the meeting
1 YEAR 4 MONTHS 3 WEEKS and 2 DAYS later, the 6 girls who attended that very first meeting are still part of G.Hack: myself (Chair), Ilze (Treasurer), Pollie (Communications), Nicola (Secretary), Berit and Alice, and were later joined by Nanda, Kavin and on occasion Magda and Sara. Sam joined us for a few skill sharing sessions in the beginning but got too busy rehearsing and gigging with her band to be fully involved. Looking at the ‘wish list’ at that very fist meeting I think we accomplished more than we ever dreamed we would and as the Chair of the group I am so very proud of what we have achieved in such a short space of time! BIG LOVE & RESPECT goes out to my G.Hack ‘comrades’ who have contributed their time and expertise beyond what was reasonably expected of them and hopefully got a lot out of being part of the crazy G.Hack roller coaster ride! I am looking forward to continuing this amazing journey with you all !
ps below are the first ever G.Hack club meeting minutes (No 1) and some pics I found from those first G.Hack gatherings!