HackCampUK Community Day at Eureka Children's Museum

Reaching Young People

The final HackCampUK Engineer Engagement Event of the series was hosted by our friends at the Eureka Children's Museum in Halifax. On that single day in March, over 1,700 adults and children passed through the Discovery Zone where the engineers had planned a range of hands-on activities to show young people their own experiences of engineering in 2020.

With most children aged ten years and younger, this event was a brilliant opportunity to show the next generation of engineers and their families the diverse range of pathways and themes within engineering disciplines and to communicate those to a different audience.

Eureka 2

Introducing HackCampUK as an Ingenious programme

The original call out set to recruit talented engineers to help inspire children to become the innovators, inventors and problem solvers of the future. Thanks to funding from the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Ingenious Project, the Foundation for Digital Creativity along with:

  1. Wigan STEAM
  2. Mako Create
  3. Edge Hill University

recruited engineers across the North of England to deliver pop-up events for children and families in Wigan, Halton, Leeds and Halifax.

Eureka 3

Feedback from engineers included:

"I was lucky enough to be chosen to attend the Royal Academy of Engineering event at the Eureka Children’s Museum on 7th March to share activities developed around transportation engineering with young children making paper aeroplanes, helicopters and rockets. It was a great chance to engage with various ages asking about how things work, how they could make a project before they had a go, tested projects and then made improvements. HackCamp gave me the opportunity to put engineering methods into practice with young people, something I will continue now with more children and adults."

Eureka 4

More feedback:

"The age of the participants at Eureka was much lower than previous engagements and that meant adapting the build of my planned project to make it quicker so it was within their attention span. Even quite young children, I guess the youngest was around 3-4 years, had a positive experience with all of them reaching the “Wow!” pretty lights LED moment through the digital make!"

"It was great to get the message across that engineers build fun things, and as parents and carers were also involved it was good for the children to see it is an ‘approved of’ activity."

Eureka 6

Building robots, pegging out algorithms, making rockets and digital kaleidoscopes.......

"Thank you so much for letting us join this amazing event. We've had a brilliant day and engaged with loads of talented children!"

Eureka 5

Are you working or studying in the STEM industries, keen to debunk some myths about engineering and inspire young people's dreams?

How can you make a difference?

HACKcampUK is an innovative and exciting programme designed to connect children to careers in engineering and to play a part in shaping change in a rapidly evolving world.

The project is being delivered as part of the This Is Engineering programme with The Royal Society of Engineering and is designed to inspire the next generation of innovators, inventors and problem solvers.

Sharing your story has the potential to inspire our next engineers, just like Sophie here:

Who can apply?

We're running this first training event on Saturday 18th January for university undergraduate or postgraduate students, professionals or recently retired people working in the STEM sectors.

You might be a software, agricultural, biomedical or environmental engineer, a computer scientist, a creative technologist, a mechanic, an aero engineer, engineer in theatre or fashion design.....absolutely anything that involves making and engineering.

What's the commitment?

You'll be joining a programme of support that will include an event at Eureka Museum in Halifax on Saturday 7th March, when your engineering experiences and activities will be shared with some of the young visitors and families on the day.

eureka museum halifax

You'll need to commit to attending both events at PlayLab (18.01.20) and Eureka Museum (07.03.20) and there'll be plenty of support available in between to help you develop your activities - visits, online chats, workshops and the network of other engineers across the North involved in the programme.

There's also a small bursary available to support each engineer with materials or resources needed to deliver their activity at the March event.

playlab in leeds

We've hooked up with the Trans-Pennine STEM Ambassador hub at The National Science and Media Museum in Bradford and will be using their Action Zone space for a mentoring session with engineers on Wednesday 29th January, too. It'll be a chance to learn more about their network and get involved as a STEM Ambassador.

national science museum bradford

Dates for the Diary

Saturday 18th January: Launch event at PlayLabs in Leeds 12-4pm

Wednesday 29th January: Optional meetup at the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford 4-6pm

Monday 24th February: Optional meetup at Barclays Eagle Labs in Leeds - 4 until 6pm

Saturday 7th March: Sharing activities at Eureka Museum in Halifax

Where can you sign up?

Registration is now open through this Eventbrite page

What's the plan?

This first session will be very hands-on and workshop activities will cover how you can run everything from a 5 minute assembly to an hour long workshop, practical sessions in schools or a Scout camp, a school careers day or assembly.

We'll include information about how you can enthuse young people by telling your story as an engineer, start to plan and co-design resources with us, look at how to plan an engaging session in libraries and schools and how to tackle safeguarding and diversity issues.

Who's involved?

The HackCampuK team sees The Foundation for Digital Creativity, Wigan STEAM, Edge Hill University and MakoCreate coming together again to equip engineers across the North of England to plan and deliver sustainable engineering workshops to young people. We're all very excited to be working with you!

Thanks to PlayLab Leeds for hosting this first workshop and Eureka Museum for inviting us to work with them at the final engagement event in March. Other organisations supporting the programme include the Trans-Pennine STEM Ambassador Network, Barclays Eagle Labs in Leeds, local libraries in each area across the North and academic links.

Democratising innovation with Cisco thingQbator Manchester


Cisco thingQbator is a network of makerspaces with partner universities and we were delighted to be chosen as the education delivery partner for the innovation lab at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The ‘learning by making’ Manchester thingQbator programme is the first in a European university and has supported students from all backgrounds and degree courses to get hands-on with technology and turn IoT ideas into working prototypes.

Undergraduate and postgraduate students from a range of subject areas including psychology, sociology, architecture, maths, computer science, textiles, art, engineering and business have collaborated to build local digital solutions to local problems.

Learning Opportunities

Students have benefited from the opportunity to solve real world problems by developing internet connected objects and experiences from everyday objects and materials in order to provide novel functionality and user experiences. This has included wearables and textiles, smart appliances, print and manufacture-on-demand, even interactive signposts and other street furniture.

thingQbator Manchester has also offered all manner of creative solutions to a range of social problems, from health or global impact/consumption awareness, though social isolation and crime prevention and more; new ways of engaging people in the geographies, heritages and histories.

Student Motivations and Reflection

In collaborating with activities students have been given the chance to develop novel solutions to real social challenge and opportunity using tech, and build-in a reflective diary over time as part of their final assessed piece.

Examples of initial motivations expressed, included in the application process, include:

  1. Inclusivity through connecting subjects as distant as art provides cohesion between academic and imaginative societies to become firmly established.

  2. thingQbator will help me show my confidence and skill set on using data in the social world, my knowledge of statistics on an analytical level will offer greater insights into the social problems that we would be solving.

  3. I’m keen to apply my understanding of psychology to the real physical world, rather than within the confines of a therapy room. I hope that through this program, my developing knowledge of the intricacies of human experience and technological abilities can combine to create real-world action and change.

  4. Activities like thingQbator are an extremely useful learning curve to take the knowledge of Quantitative data over the past two years and apply my own analysis and creativity to have a positive affect on social issues.

  5. Upon completion of my degree I wish to pursue a career in Data Science, and the opportunity this activity offers to manage and manipulate big data.


Final reflections will be submitted after the summer break, and there are some interesting observations coming out of early conversations with this constructionist approach to learning in higher education.

Ashley's blog is a powerful narrative that should be remembered each time we talk about boosting diversity in the digital talent pipeline.

  • How can we extend constructionist approaches to learning as we recognise their significance of supporting students and potential employers to recognise talent and potential in this digital world?

  • To recognise that talent of students from the social sciences, and in fact every subject area of undergraduate studies?

screenshot of student blog talking about thingqbator experiences

Semester One

Students in the first cohort of thingQbator Manchester came together to explore solutions to urban challenges. Groups used field trials across the city to collect and innovate with data.

Individual project goals included reducing social isolation, improving air quality, app development with an ethical carbon footprint and wearables to highlight the interrelationship between urban planning and smart cities.

Semester Two

The second cohort of students have just presented back their projects and working prototypes as pitches, forming part of their 30 credit assessed module in the thingQbator space.

Activities over May and June included workshops, self-directed study, hack events, visiting speakers from local networks such as Open Data Manchester, Reason Digital and Making Rooms.

A collaborative session with SMEs hosted at Cisco's Mi_idea gave another opportunity to learn from and with other organisations who had used technological innovations to underpin their ideas for social change.

Examples of Problem Finding and Prototype Solutions

One group have developed an IoT transport prototype and pitched their solution from an initial observation to research assisted travel and accessibility through data.

'Transport Capacity Tracker' takes data from TFGM and utilises object recognition and machine learning to improve the travel experience for individuals based on real-time data and making informed decisions.

object recogntion sackville gardens

object recognition oxford road

Green Desk

'Green Desk' is a project focused on improving indoor air quality which will impact on well-being and productivity in the modern workplace.

Smart Bag

The following smart bag has been researched and built by a third year textile students using emotional design skills to underpin the technical build. Her aim was to stimulate conversations around positive mental and physical health and the project was selected to be displayed at the Design Show in London this month.

iot bag 1

iot bag 1


Softcare: A comprehensive virtual and physical mental health care platform.

UV Shield

Improving health through UV awareness is part of the mission statement from a group of students presenting this next prototype:

SHIELD: Awareness, Efficiency and Prevention.

2 students presenting their iot project uv defense

uv iot project presentation page 1

uv futures

Want to know more?

The examples above are quick introduction into the work developed by the students as they've collaborated with people from local and global networks. Contact us at info@digitalcreativity.foundation if you have any specific questions or would like to know more about any of the projects.

Apply now! Join us to build a Community Network of Air Quality Sensors in Leeds.

HACKcampUK: New project supported by The Royal Academy of Engineering


We're delighted to be collaborating with Edge Hill University, Wigan STEAM and Mako Create on a new Royal Academy of Engineering funded project giving children the opportunity to design the future and protect the planet with careers in engineering.

Schoolchildren across the North of England will soon be able to experience the future with a series of pop up events hosted by engineering professionals as part of a Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious Project.

HACKcampUK is an innovative and exciting project designed to connect children to careers in engineering and to play a part in shaping change in a rapidly evolving world. The project is being delivered as part of the This Is Engineering programme and is designed to inspire the next generation of innovators, inventors and problem solvers.

The events will include opportunities for children aged 10 – 14, and any interested adults working with children, to experience engineering during hand on workshops hosted by engineers working in environmental, computing, chemical, civil, structural and medical engineering.

For more details click here and get in touch about proposed activities by emailing us at info@digitalcreativity.foundation

#TechWomen100 winner

Wonderful news to start another exciting week.

One of our co-founders, Claire, has been announced as a #TechWomen100 winner. We're delighted that she's been included in this list of emerging talent as we continue to support an increase in the digital talent pipeline.

Congratulations to every talented #womenintech on this list of brilliant role models.

Increasing participation and diversity in digital careers

We recognise how diversity in tech can drive change and innovation and are proud to support the Tech She Can Charter from PWC.

Our education programmes ignite inspiration and boost self-efficacy to address the gender imbalance in tech and we’re dedicated to supporting a talented pipeline of digitally-literate and creative learners. Read more about the programme and our pledge here.

Driving Diversity in Tech

As part of our ongoing commitment to a diverse workforce, we’re very proud to announce that we are now a signatory of the Tech Talent Charter (TTC).

The TTC is an employer-led initiative to encourage greater diversity in the tech workforce of the UK, and was supported in the government’s policy paper on the UK Digital Strategy earlier this year.

From Debbie Forster, CEO of the Tech Talent Charter:

“It’s vital for the industry to come together as a whole to do more to show females that a career in technology is incredibly rewarding, to increase the number of females working within the industry, to attract people who are considering a career change, and to encourage younger generations to consider these careers from the word go. One single company can’t do it alone, which is why we’re asking organisations to pledge their support for the Tech Talent Charter and join us on our exciting journey.”

Signatories of the charter make a number of pledges in relation to their approach to recruitment and retention and are supported every step of the way.

We’ll be keeping you updated on our progress, and you can find out more information here: https://techtalentcharter.co.uk/

tech talent charter mission statement

IWD2018: Inventions of the Future with Woman@ASML

On International Women's Day we partnered with The Ada Show again to launch a new 'Inventions of the Future' project.

This time the challenge centred around Ada Lovelace conceptualising a flying machine in 1828.

Now it was the turn of staff at ASML in Eindhoven to consider environmental change using the power of flight. Envirosense was used to connect the kites to the surrounding environment and become data collection nodes through flight.

team of 5 women adding wearable tech and sensors to a kite

Over the day, the Women@ASML community led teams of staff to design, build and test their own connected kites.

group of adults and children testing 2 kites with environment sensors attached outdoors

And of course to lead the first test flights during the afternoon!