On Thursday evening I went to my first ever Bath Girl Geek Dinner evening. Geek Girl Dinners was set up 10 years ago by Sarah Lamb who realised how isolated many women were in the science and technology sectors, and wanted to build a community to break down the stereotypes of women in science, encourage those with an interest in technology and figure out where the barriers were. This I can vouch for after attending computer science lectures at university where the ratio of women to men was less than 1 in 10, although as i specialised, my field has always been about 50:50. Men are by no means excluded, though the focus of the group is focused on women in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) industries. Since the original meet in London, other branches have started up not just all over the country but all over the world.
I think I first heard of the Bristol group, however I was uncertain about attending as I am not a programmer and was worried that I would have nothing to say. It wasn’t until I met the Bath ladies at one of the ‘Bath: Hacked’ events that I felt encouraged to come along
I arrived to the fairy light and candle lit vaults of the Porter to a glass of wine and a friendly welcome. I didn’t know anybody except the organisers and speakers, so took a deep breath and started to say hello to people. After a time of meeting and mingling the talk by Leigh Dodds began. This month the topic was Bath: Hacked, the Open Data organisation in the Bath and North East Somerset authority who’s aim is to ”liberate data and make useful things” as well as promoting open data to the wider community (not just techies). You can read more about Bath Hacked in my previous posts here and here
Then came the sandwiches which were truly delicious, I had beef ones and bacon and chicken. There were also these divine little salad pots with salad leaves, olives, croutons, cornichons and pine nuts. After a bit of chatting and munching our food Leigh then introduced us to the City Data Store hosted by Socrata to start the hands on session. Not only does it store the data but has tools for interrogating and analysing the data into reports, graphs and even maps. Its great, you can fiddle about on the site and produce results without any specialist skills.
So that was the first meet up for 2015 and the upshot is that I will definitely be going again to meet new people and learn new things :)
p.s. Sorry for the dark photos. Although the lighting was very lovely in the vaults it wasn’t great for photos and I didn’t want to use the flash