With a keynote by Rebecca George OBE, the Lovelace Colloquium is an inspirational gathering with the soul focus of celebrating and inspiring women in IT.
The BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium is the UK’s conference for women students in computing and 2022 saw about 150 people log on for our 15th event.
It was jointly organised by people from Aberystwyth University (Hannah Dee and Amanda Clare), London South Bank University (Safia Barikzai) and Lancaster University (Lucy Hunt), with admirable support from Olivia Wolfheart and Mandy Bauer at BCS. It was held online, via Discord, Teams and Gather.Town on 13th April 2022.
The day started with a keynote from Rebecca George OBE delivered live on Teams and unrecorded – starting the day this way gave us a superb opener which felt direct and personal. All other talks were presented on YouTube for maximum attendee flexibility, allowing people to watch as scheduled, get ahead by watching in advance, or catch up later. This also means you can watch them on the BCSWomen Lovelace channel.
This year we had two talk streams – longer talks (around 20 minutes) with technical detail, and a skills and careers ‘buffet’ of short talks. We don’t expect attendees to watch all of the short talks, but we hope everyone will find something of interest. The 2022 longer talks covered robotic manipulation, software quality, the life of a software engineer, and speech processing applied to dementia – a very interesting set of technical areas.
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We also had a short Pilates video from Rachel Hubbard, to encourage everyone to stand up and get moving, because in an online conference it’s easy to get stuck at your desk. Our panel, at the end of the day, featured women at various stages in their career journey. The panel conversation was wide-ranging, taking in all aspects of tech careers from the perspective of women in the workplace.
Student posters formed the centrepiece of the day and you can find the winning posters on our website. Our winners came from the universities of Bath, Birmingham City, Cambridge, Cardiff, Durham, Keele, Middlesex and Warwick, and covered topics including algorithmic bias, AI, molecular analysis, data privacy, blockchain and machine learning.
Thanks to our headline sponsors Ocado Technology and our lunch sponsor NMI we had funds to send out snacks and goodies to all finalists, as well as takeaway vouchers so the students could order their own lunches. The night before we held an ice-breaker event hosted by Airbus UK, with a ‘build the best satellite out of things you can find in your house’ contest, and we finished the day with an online quiz/scavenger hunt hosted by AND Digital, encouraging us to find various items in our homes.
With the quizzes, the Pilates and the lunch we all got to move around a lot even though the event was online. Next year, we’re planning to be in Sheffield, in person, and are very much looking forward to holding the event in 3d.