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The Lovelace Colloquium in Liverpool – celebrating women and non-binary individuals in computer science

Cherie Stephen, Rebecca Shruti Soren, Charlotte Leong & Sonia Koszut

23 May 2024

The British Computer Science (BCS) Women Lovelace Colloquium is an annual conference showcasing diversity, innovation and dedication to the field.

Now in its 17th year, the conference was held at the University of Liverpool in early April and was an inspiring event. A group of us from the Department of Informatics were excited to join the more than 300 registered attendees and 150 poster presenters at the event.

The colloquium was seamlessly run by local Chair Munira Raja from the University of Liverpool, Event Chair Safia Barikzai (London South Bank University), and Deputy Hannah Dee (Aberystwyth University).

The morning session started with welcome remarks ahead of a day of exploration in computing. Professor Carron Shankland (University of Glasgow) delivered the keynote address, offering insights and encouraging words for the future generation of female tech leaders.

The day continued with invited talks from industry experts. Tafie James-William (Ocado Technology) and Jen Fenner (DefProc) shared their experiences and expertise, providing attendees with a glimpse into the diverse career paths available in computing.

Taps Mtutu (SEO London) and Dr. Gabriella Pizzuto (University of Liverpool) shared their knowledge and experiences, enriching the understanding of the multifaceted nature of the computing field. The speakers highlighted the importance of diversity and inclusion in the tech industry, inspiring attendees to pursue their passions and break barriers. Their engaging presentations sparked discussions and networking opportunities among participants, fostering a sense of community and collaboration in computing.

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A significant portion of the event included the poster competition, where students from universities across the UK had the opportunity to present their research on a variety of topics. Students from King’s presented posters entitled: ‘Robotic Object Manipulation’; ‘Redefining DJing with Multi-Agent Systems’; ‘Sleep Chronicles: Can we crack the sleep code with Machine Learning’; and ‘Decolonisation of AI’.

Prize receiving projects included those covering the ethics of physiognomy in AI and reducing the computational burden of multi-AGV collision avoidance.

Finally, a panel discussion featuring professionals from diverse backgrounds, provided a platform for insightful dialogue and exchange of ideas. Claire Knights, Laura Cumming, Praboda Rajapaksha, Nicola Martin, and Hannah Grimes shared their perspectives on various aspects of the computing industry, enriching the audience with their expertise and experiences.

The 2024 BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium effectively highlighted the contributions of women and non-binary individuals in computer science. Participants left with valuable insights, new connections, and the motivation to pursue equitable opportunities in the field.

King’s students are highly encouraged to attend next year's Colloquium for personal and professional growth, helpful career guidelines, and networking with inspiring peers. Overall, this conference offers a rich experience for anyone aiming to progress in the tech industry.

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