Presented by:

Margaret Low

from University of Warwick

I'm Director of Outreach and Widening Participation for WMG at the University of Warwick, UK. I work with young people to encourage them to become creators as well as consumers of technology. My interactive workshops explore creative aspects of technology. I collaborate with local, national and international organisations and communities to explore inclusive, creative learning experiences. In 2008, I set up the student-led, Technology Volunteers project at Warwick, enabling students to present technology workshops for local school children.

I enjoy engaging in creative learning experiences and sharing computer science concepts and ideas with people. I often get carried away with new learning approaches and experimentation and prototyping with technology. I love making games and working with young people.

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TurtleStitch is freely available software that enables the generation and stitching of patterns using a digital embroidery machine, effectively giving programmatic control of the machine. TurtleStitch enables the creation of physical objects through the use of software and hardware, and bridges the world of programming and textiles enabling the creation of stitched patterns on materials, in a way that is accessible to young and old alike. TurtleStitch doesn’t meet the normal notion of physical computing, which often involves programming robots, sensors or microcontrollers, but it does provide a very creative context to programming and introduction to physical computing.

The link to textiles opens many possibilities, and in particular to culture. Many cultures have distinctive textile crafts, and how textiles are decorated often celebrates the culture of their creator. In the city of Coventry (UK) the Stitch in Time project is working with local primary schools, and celebrates the city’s cultural heritage while teaching useful programming and maths skills. The linked Stitch In Time and Place ** project connects with communities of young people around the world. This session will feature collaborative activities in New York and Africa, with the project **Young People and Art From the Continents.

Often, we see any pattern, whether it would be in nature or cultural patterns, which of course often come from nature... and say "that" would make a good coding problem - but in Turtlestitch we have the chance to actually explore this nature/culture/human/technology/computer science relationship that we as humans find so compelling. Also, in the human tradition, aesthetics have always existed and have been deeply explored. Turtlestitch engages the human/mathematical relationship and the human/aesthetic relationship in new and engaging digital ways in our digital world.

This session will describe TurtleStitch, the Stitch in Time project, linked resources, and the project Young People and Art From the Continents. It will share the work being created by these projects, demonstrate how they are created, and describe the benefits to participants. This session will be delivered by Margaret Low, Susan Ettenheim and Max Musau.

Links to useful resources: • TurtleStitch websiteStitch in Time project, University of WarwickTurtlestitch resources at WarwickExploring Coding Stitching Culture

Session Presentation

20 min
Room 2
Snap!Con 2021