At what kind of event could you learn about weather robots, game theory and analogue satnavs all at once? On November 14th BBC R&D and BBC North hosted a 300 Seconds event at MediaCity UK. The format of the event is simple; 8 speakers talk for 5 minutes each on a topic of their choice to an audience of around 100 people. The talks are aimed at the digital community, and all the speakers are women.
As ‘digital’ is a fairly broad term in itself, it’s not surprising that the resulting talks cover a very diverse range of subjects, and this makes them all the more interesting. We heard about everything from using social media to promote care techniques for premature babies, to giving new life to a 1920’s radio shaped like a book. The full list of speakers is given below (which we are proud to say features three BBC R&D technologists, Becky, Rosie and Jasmine above):
- Kylie Hodges, Bliss, The World of Social Media, Premature Babies and International Engagment
- Jasmine Cox, BBC R&D, Maker of Things
- Ciara McVeigh, Discerning Digital, You Don’t Have to be a Geek to Work in Tech
- Victoria Sorzano, BBC, Confessions of a Digital Witch: Finding your Niche
- Amy Lynch, ThoughtWorks, The underrepresentation of women in tech conferences
- Becky Gregory-Clarke, BBC R&D, How to Build a Weather Robot
- Rosie Campbell, BBC R&D, Using Game Theory to survive in a hungry tribe
- Catherine Jones, Science Museum, Turning a 1920's radio into a 21st Century Exhibit
Each of the speakers was engaging, articulate and above all extremely passionate about their subjects and the work they do in the digital industry. Just as importantly, one of the most inspiring things about this event was that the audience itself was comprised of a pretty even mix of men and women. Any woman working in this sector will know what a rare thing it is to find themselves in a technical environment and not be in a minority. It’s incredibly encouraging that a small, voluntary group like 300 Seconds has managed to pull this off four times in the last six months. Even if it’s just for a few hours, it’s a great environment to find oneself in, either as a speaker or an attendee, and we hope it’s a sign of things to come.
Many thanks to the volunteers from BBC North, BBC R&D, BBC Academy and the 300 Seconds team. We would also like to extend a huge thank you to all the speakers, and to all the attendees who showed their interest and support. We hope to be repeating this event in the future, so look out for the next one in 2014.