Hello, Rachel here, with a story that’s best told through images – warning, LOTS of photos ahead!
When I explain how I started working at Raspberry Pi, it ends up being a pretty long story, with lots of interests that became jobs, unexpected opportunities and chance meetings. At the time it didn’t seem very connected – I just followed what I was interested in at the time, found like-minded people, and tried to share what I love with new people too. Before I joined Raspberry Pi as Artist in Residence in 2013, I ran a small arts venue focused on celluloid film with a darkroom and film lab – I wanted everyone to try shooting and developing their own photos!
I’ve now been at the Raspberry Pi Foundation for three years and I’ve had the chance to meet loads of people involved in digital making, from lots of different backgrounds: computer science professionals, teachers, engineers, design agencies, musicians, artists, tinkerers, makers. The thing that every one of them has in common: they follow what they are interested in, don’t worry too much about what label they have, and just concentrate on doing interesting things they enjoy and sharing them with others.
I had an opportunity last year to run an ambitious programme for a small group of young people. Raspberry Pi Creative Technologists was a one-off project to see how a (mostly) online digital-making mentor programme might work. I wanted to make sure people from lots of different backgrounds were involved.
We had loads of fantastic applications – although almost everyone left it until a minute before the deadline to submit, leaving my nerves in shreds!
We picked a great group of young people:
They all wanted to explore how digital technology could enhance their creative pursuits, and their enthusiasms spanned everything from storytelling to animation to circus skills.
First feature in new @TheMagP1 is our amazing Creative Technologists. Well done folks! #RPCT https://www.raspberrypi.org/magpi/issues/36/ …pic.twitter.com/C0TJ1M986d
Over the next 12 months, they developed their interests and skills through mentoring and field trips, starting in Cambridge at Raspberry Pi HQ:
Been great weekend meeting fellow Creative Technologists! Big thanks to @RachelRayns, @ben_nuttall and @Raspberry_Pi!pic.twitter.com/Wz3lOyhkEO
Then in Newcastle for Makerfaire UK:
Creative Technologists soldering their @makerfaire_uk badges #rpctpic.twitter.com/DtJ9RfE3tB
Fantastic series of texts from @RachelRayns to the @Raspberry_Pi Creative Technologists at #makerfaireuk today #RPCTpic.twitter.com/VyNPL3Ocgk
In Sheffield with the Pimoroni crew:
Our Creative Technologists start their first workshop at @pimoroni: Intro to using the Camera Module with APIs #RPCTpic.twitter.com/wNK34QUg2n
It’s only half ten and this is what we’ve become. @Raspberry_Pi #RPCT @connorbanonapic.twitter.com/VsZRXB9Jsp
Our Creative Technologists had an amazing time at Tim Hunkin’s @NovAutomation yesterday.Thanks for having us! #RPCTpic.twitter.com/08NMDyNAxO
Back in Cambridge again for Raspberry Pi’s fourth birthday party, where they ran and supported workshops and gave talks:
Come and find us at the dots board table and make an airplane or rocket! Bundles of Painting Pi fun! #RPCTpic.twitter.com/2yH7d8P6oV
In Manchester at the FutureEverything festival, where they ran more workshops:
About to head off for the first day of @FuturEverything :D Ready to be INSPIRED.
Chatting to Ruby at Manchester Art Gallery #TheImitationGamepic.twitter.com/o4WDY9i5i5
As the creative technologists began to dig into the programme, some found that it challenged their perceptions of their own interests and strengths, and drew on this experience in making decisions to change direction, both within the programme and in their lives outside it:
Proud of #rpct programme for what @radicxl has written! http://catchaneye.tumblr.com/post/125082608175/a-more-personal-post#125082608175 … /cc @RachelRaynspic.twitter.com/DrwKn8Fbrt
The programme culminated with the group’s New Works exhibition, where they revealed the varied and accomplished works that they have developed. They announced it at the Raspberry Pi Big Birthday Bash!
It’s official: #RPCT Exhibition to be held at @Raspberry_Pi HQ on the 23rd of April! Stay tuned for a free ticket!pic.twitter.com/MKxbj0Knf2
The exhibition was hosted at the new Raspberry Pi HQ:
Wonderfully effective capacitance based rope interaction from @OwenDaughtery @RasPiCTpic.twitter.com/zJCLvZzsgQ
This was addictive! @connorbanona @iamrobharvey #RPCTpic.twitter.com/V3ARkIVh0s
Wrapping up the exhibition. It’s been an amazing day! Thanks to all for coming. #ThaliasQuest #rpctpic.twitter.com/FPakC13idC
My interactive video is set up at the #RPCT exhibition. Follow @WhoIsTerror to see the true identity of Terror!pic.twitter.com/YcjhZzBHsM
And @radicxl has made this RIDONCULOUS projection-mapped popup book. One of many pages – we’re speechless w…https://vine.co/v/iUBLlg605hg
3D printed light clock from @miltonio94 @RasPiCTpic.twitter.com/hha0cRfviL
One of the best parts of the programme for me was seeing the creative technologists share their work and their new skills with others. They ran workshops at MozFest, FutureEverything and our Big Birthday Bash, as well as meeting with school groups.
Day one of #mozfest was awesome! Bring on tomorrow!pic.twitter.com/job7F1Puxn
RaspberryPi & #Scratch workshop at @WhitworthArt with @radamar @AmyMediaUK & @RasPiCT guys #Futr16 @FuturEverythingpic.twitter.com/GJoUyIRhYv
Lovely vibe in the @Raspberry_Pi office today thanks to visits from @MaryMagsPiClub and our #creative technologistspic.twitter.com/AzcHZT173N
And, as if that weren’t enough, four of the group also completed an Arts Award Gold qualification – worth 35 UCAS points – as part of the programme!
little message from the @Raspberry_Pi creative technologistspic.twitter.com/GvN3yPBRKX
I’m incredibly proud of our newly graduated creative technologists and I can’t wait to see what they do next. We’ve gained a great deal from the understanding the programme has given us of working with young people, introducing digital making to an audience from diverse backgrounds, and delivering online mentoring and support. It’s been a hugely valuable experience, and it’s one that will help to shape the work we do in future.