From Dublin, based in Amsterdam, background in physics / neuroscience. Several years of experience in public engagement with science / maker education, now focusing on e-textile (electronic textiles) and physical computing projects, exploring textile interfaces for electronics, and using e-textiles to make electronics/computing/tech more accessible.
Interests: Geometry, Space Age design, science fiction, bright colours, machines, understanding how things work, baking
From September 2018 to March 2019 I took part in Fabricademy - an interdisciplinary course in textiles, digital fabrication and biology - at TextileLab Amsterdam, to spend some time focusing on an interest I've had for a long time, but never had the time to focus on: the intersection of electronics and craft. For my final project I created an e-textile, modular, analog synthesizer, researching textile interfaces for making sound with electronics.
Between October 2017 and September 2018 I worked with the Makerversity Amsterdam team as Learning Project Manager. Makerversity is a co-working and co-making space for professional makers, doers, creatives and entrepreneurs, a community of 300+ members across two sites in London and Amsterdam - people who make things and bring ideas into reality. Since October I've run a design challenge workshop for the International School of Amsterdam where kids built and tested kites, coordinated a six week product design and rapid prototyping course for teenagers from from a school in the south of Amsterdam, run a maker day for local teachers, and mentored younger community members joining as 'Under 25 members', who get free membership and support in getting their project / businesses / ideas off the ground.
Notable moments: helping 3D scan our team's heads, which our workshop manager Anne then 3D printed and used to make latex moulds, and gave them to me to make chocolate versions of us to give as a goodbye present to a team member who was leaving. Also, seeing Makerversity members use the laser cutter to slice a pizza (verdict: didn't quite cut through and left a distinct aftertaste, but a worthwhile experiment).
I joined the team at MAKESHOP - Science Gallery Dublin's collaborative workshop and shop space - as a workshop facilitator in 2014, and stayed until the end of 2017. In that time I facilitated hundreds of electronics workshops, and worked behind the scenes from the start of 2016 to transform MAKESHOP from a popup initiative to an education-focused social enterprise, with a core mission of lowering barriers to STEAM education and awareness through hands-on, creative workshops, serving thousands of people in the greater Dublin area.
In my position as Coordinator, I managed MAKESHOP's programme, developing and facilitating workshops, coordinating staff scheduling and training, looking after financial administration and budget management, and fundraising for free workshops with DEIS schools and community groups in the local Dublin area. I coordinated MAKESHOP's first popup - taking over a vacant retail space in central Belfast during NI Science Festival 2017, and have run workshops and courses in soldering, simple robotics, design challenges, interactive art with Makey Makey, Arduino, and wearable electronics / e-textiles.
Notable moments include 6 year old Daniel from Belfast teaching me to make a complex paper plane during an electronics workshop (and taking over from me halfway through because I wasn't working fast enough), and the many and varied names given by young workshop participants to their creations (top contenders: 'Slime the ultimate destroyer', and 'Liam Neeson the robot')
I worked for Science Gallery on and off between 2008 and 2017, starting in the final year of my undergraduate degree as a mediator in the first ever exhibition - working on the exhibition floor and discussing exhibits with visitors. After completing my masters in 2011, I returned to Science Gallery, working again as a mediator between 2011 and 2013, and coordinating the mediator team as Lead Mediator for two exhibitions in 2013. I've also worked as a researcher for the exhibitions TRAUMA (2015) and RISK LAB (2013), researching exhibition content and visitor experience, and working with researchers and artists contributing to the exhibitions. I've assisted with financial administration, exhibition evaluation, and exhibition installation, and facilitated workshops with Education programme participants and the public.
Notable interactions with the public include the visitor who claimed to be a time traveller and wanted to book an exhibition tour for 2042, and the visitor who wanted to hire me to work on his perpetual motion machine. And as part of research for RISK LAB I spent a lot of time on the Central Statistics Office's website researching unusual causes of death in Ireland, for an exhibit where visitors picked a raffle card that told them the past odds of dying in a statistically unlikely way.
As a research assistant in the Human Reward and Decision Making Lab, headed by Prof John O'Doherty, and split between Trinity College Dublin and Caltech, between 2011 and 2013, I worked on a number of fMRI research projects - from programming experiment tasks in Matlab, through participant recruitment, data collection and analysis, and managing lab supplies.
Notable moment: I spent a considerable amount of time preparing cold salty tea for use as an 'aversive stimulus' to be pumped through plastic tubing into the mouths of participants lying in the MRI scanner - explaining this to participants was always interesting!)
Working as a researcher on the 2011 drama-documentary Wonder House, an exploration of creativity in science, and stories from Irish scientists' childhoods, I assisted director Oonagh Kearney with research and interviewing. On set in Charleville Castle, Tullamore, I assisted the art department with prop sourcing, set dressing, and standby props. As Assistant to the Art Director on the 2014 drama The Guarantee, I researched and sourced props for scenes set in various Irish government departments, and created on-screen graphics and prop documents.
Notable moment: spending most of a day making a Powerpoint presentation look like a convincing Outlook inbox, for use as a prop in a scene where a fictional government official opens an email.
Outside my main employment, I've developed and facilitated e-textile workshops at Edinburgh Mini Maker Faire, researched and produced an impact report on the Science Gallery model for Science Gallery International, and produced and performed a live science show with Dr. Joseph Roche and Nicola Hughes at Electric Picnic, Ireland's largest festival. I've also built a couple of interactive projects for Science Gallery events, including 'Pineapple Pong' a game controlled by pineapples (with Fia Kavanagh), and a playable map of the solar system for the Electric Picnic festival in 2015.
Fabricademy, TextileLab Amsterdam (2018-2019) - A new textile and technology academy, at the intersection of textiles, digital fabricaction and biology. Weekly assignments on digital design / fabrication, biomaterials, open source / circular fashion, open source hardware, e-textiles, wearable electronics, 3D printing on fabric, skin electronics, soft robotics. Final project on electronics and textiles, building a soft synthesizer.
MSc Experimental Physics, Utrecht University (2009-2011) - Advanced courses in computational modelling, semiconductor physics, nanoscience, and history and philosophy of science, with a neurophysics research project in visual perception supervised by Prof. Raymond van Ee.
BA (Mod) Theoretical Physics, Trinity College Dublin (2004-2008) - Courses in mathematics and theoretical physics, with a final year project in computational modelling of sunspot magnetic fields, supervised by Dr. Peter Gallagher.
During my student years I took part in numerous STEM outreach and public engagement projects, including the International Association of Physics Students, the Institute of Physics student committee, co-organising a conference for Irish physics students, volunteering with the Institute of Physics' Lab in a Lorry project, mentoring students participating in Trinity College Dublin School of Physics outreach programmes, and helping run Dublin University Maths Society.