Why do I love knitting?

I absolutely love knitting. I have no idea why. If I go a day without knitting I miss it so much. And when I am knitting I feel calm and content. It can’t just be any knitting though. What I enjoy making changes over time. At the moment I really enjoy 2 colour knitting using Double Knitting thickness wool. I’m making a jumper from a pattern called Guthrie. I bought the wool in Ann Arbor in Michigan a few weeks ago when I was over in the USA. What a wonderful wool shop it was, I found it very hard to choose which wool I was going to buy. I settled on a navy blue and a green variegated yarn. Here are the details for any knitters that are interested: 

Ann Arbor Guthrie

I need to follow a pattern that has some kind of colour work and I usually watch TV, well more likely a Netflix series or listen to Audiobooks while I’m knitting. It kind of  feels like I’m meditating. I don’t know about you but I can’t just sit and watch TV. I feel like it only uses up 20 percent of my brain, and I need something else to occupy the rest of my brain or I will go crazy. Knitting fills that void and also provides me, my children and grandchildren with clothes that we can wear, and most of the time look pretty cool too. 

Why do you knit? I’d love to know.

I’d also love to know why I enjoy it so much, if you have any idea please get in touch 🙂

Have you been shouted at by your CEO?

The combination of being in lockdown due to COVID, going for frequent walks to get some exercise and either giving talks or being interviewed about my career has led me to start remembering particular events and situations that have reoccurred during my career.

The type of situation that came to mind on my walk today was “Being shouted at by the CEO”. The situations were, on each occasion, when I was working hard to be useful to the organisation in question and had done absolutely nothing wrong.

These situations all occurred in board meetings and all some years ago. In one instance I was suggesting that it would be useful to have a breakdown of membership data by gender so that we could look at progression of women through the organisation suggesting that if we had that information it would be easy to target specific interventions to improve progression overall. The subject of the discussion at the time was “How can we improve progression?”

The CEO in this case shouted at me something that was extremely offensive so I’ll not repeat it here. There were about 30 people in the meeting. I can’t remember exactly what happened after his outburst as I was so shocked and traumatised by his outburst.

The second incident occurred at a different organisation when I reported back on some really great feedback I’d ascertained from an external expert which gave lots of ideas on how to improve our web and social media presence. I’ve still got no idea why the CEO went ballistic at me for the ideas I spoke about. He completely erupted in the meeting in response to my feedback. Again I can’t remember what happened straight afterwards because I was so traumatised and in shock. He later apologised quietly to me in a coffee break. I accepted his apology.

The third incident happened at a university exam board. The chair of the meeting, my boss’s boss started shouting at me after I presented my report for the module that I’d taught that year. There had been some issues with the module, I can’t remember what they were, but I’d managed to sort them out. I’d met up with the external examiner before the exam board to explain what I had done and why, and they were happy with it.

So I presented my module report, then said that I’d spoken to the external examiner and that they were happy with what I had done. The chair of the board then shouted at me that the external had agreed because I had “charmed” them, and that I was good at charming people and blah blah rant rant. Again I was so shocked I didn’t know what to say. The external examiner then came to my defence repeating that they were completely happy with what I had done.

3 traumatising instances from my career, I still don’t really know why they happened.

I can’t be alone. Have you had similar experiences? If so how did you deal with them?

What exactly was going on? Bullying? Misogyny? If you gave some insights id love to know.

Also what is the best thing to do in these type of situations ? 🤷🏽‍♀️ if you have advice it would be great to hear it.

Thanks for reading my post, please share if you have found it valuable 🙏🏾🤩

Autoimmune disease researcher needed

Hiya, I’m looking for a researcher already working in an appropriate area to conduct a study which looks at whether vaginal mesh implants cause autoimmune diseases or auto immune disease symptoms.

Are you or do you know anyone who might be interested?

Here’s a relevant article about vaginal mesh. It’s an utter scandal that it has been implanted in millions of women then can go on to harden and degrade cutting through women’s internal organs causing pain and disability and sometimes death.

I’d appreciate any contacts who can help us conduct some research.



Research Assistant / Associate for ‘CoroNAb’ at Imperial College London #covid19

Dear All,

We are seeking a postdoctoral research assistant to join us on very short noticeat Imperial College to work on COVID19 evolutionary dynamics. I provide a job description below. This may be suitable for highly motivated post-docs or recent graduates who want to temporarily work on COVID19 for 1-2 years. The work can be carried out remotely for the time being and there is no need to relocate, but the applicant should be based in the UK. Can you please circulate to anyone you feel would be interested and qualified? The official start date is April 1. No joke! We will still consider applications after that date.

Research Assistant / Associate for ‘CoroNAb’ at Imperial College London

We are seeking a postdoctoral research assistant to study evolutionary dynamics and antiviral resistance in SARS Coronavirus 2.  The purpose of this post is to conduct research into evolutionary forces acting on the virus in response to rollout of hypothetical pharmaceutical interventions including likely effects on virus fitness, virulence, and rate of antiviral escape mutations. The postholder will conduct mathematical modeling of evolutionary dynamics and may develop statistical models to detect antiviral escape mutations. Modeling will be coupled with phylogenetic analysis of SARS CoV 2 genetic sequence data. Models may also be developed for the purpose of forecasting public health benefits due to rollout of antiviral medications. 

The work will be carried out within a EU-funded consortium of research institutions developing monoclonal antibody therapies. The post holder will work in the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis and the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College London. The MRC Centre has played a prominent role in mathematical and statistical analysis of the ongoing COVID19 epidemic and has close collaborative partnerships with public and global health agencies (notably the World Health Organization, where we are a Collaborating Center for Infectious Disease Modelling), governments and non-governmental bodies across the world.

Interested applications should send a CV and brief statement of interest to Erik Volz e.volz@imperial.ac.uk

#Mothercare to go into Admininstration – pale, make, stale boards can’t cut it anymore #tech #diversity #

Mothercare to go into administration.

I’m not surprised, and wonder how tech savvy and diverse the Mothercare board of directors are…

The most successful companies in the future are going to have diversity and tech savvyness at their core so that their products and services are fit for purpose in the 21st century, for a global, diverse marketplace.

Old school pale male stale boards aren’t going to cut it anymore.


#MyWeek last week #October #2019 #ificandoitsocanu

Great talk from Andy Stephenson kicking off Rob and I’s Computational Thinking module – 1st year Durham Computer Science module

Lovely to meet Charlie – 1st year CS UG – and all his class

Out in the evening to meet up with friends in Durham

Beautiful Durham Cathedral

On a Durham University panel talking about Diversity and Inclusion with Sir Paul Nurse

Selfie with Camila from maths department and Sir Paul Nurse

Had a great first meeting with 3 of my 1st year CS advisees

Wonderful to meet up with Ian and Corrina, and Lauren, Ian is a Durham CS alumni now doing exciting things with Microsoft in Seattle

Selfie with Lincoln Uni CS students after my public lecture there

3 incredible women who came to my public talk at Lincoln University

Giving my talk at Lincoln University

Talking about #techmums graduation at Leeds Libraries, what a wonderful day

On my way back to London on Friday morning for a meeting with #techmums CEO Lauren – forgot to take a selfie 🤳 😭

Fully funded UK/EU PhD Scholarship in Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics for the Media Industry 

Come and join us at Durham 🤩💃🏽👍🏽❤️🥳

Extended closing date for applications: 22nd of August 2019 

UK/EU PhD Scholarship is to start 1st of October 2019 Funding period: 1/10/19 – 30/09/22 

Project Description:

A unique opportunity of an industrial-collaboration fully funded UK/EU PhD scholarship at the prestigious Durham University (world-wide top 79th by QS World University rankings and 5th in the UK by the Guardian) and Distinctive Publishing Ltd, Newcastle.

The successful PhD student is to experience both academia and industry, and spend up to 50% of her/his time at the Distinctive Publishing business premises, with the rest at the Department of Computer Science, Durham University. The main academic supervisor is to be Professor Alexandra I. Cristea, a world leader in artificial intelligence for the web and web science. 

Distinctive Publishing is looking to introduce an additional product/service to its current platform but introducing two distinct areas to enhance its existing capability of descriptive analytics: 

1. Predictive Analytics Engine – modelling past data to predict future actions, behaviours, or outcomes of readers/users within the existing platform.
2. Prescriptive Analytics Engine – providing direct insight into the consequences of different actions by uncovering the key cause-and-effect relationships that impact the outcomes the publisher focuses on, and will be used for understanding what causes what, and why within the readership of content/publications.

For more information please contact alexandra.i.cristea@durham.ac.uk and consult the original Call at:http://community.dur.ac.uk/alexandra.i.cristea/ad/PhDAdvert_IIP-final.pdf

If I can do it, so can you – Alan Gore’s inspirational story

I love hearing other people’s stories of triumph against adversity, particularly involving education and technology changing people’s lives. I got a DSc from University of Kent at Canterbury Cathedral last year and was honoured to be invited to present the computer science department awards to students before the cathedral ceremony.  Alan Gore won two of the prizes and his lovely mum Jan contacted me after hearing my speech about how education and technology had helped me to bring my family out of poverty. When I heard Alan’s story I asked Jan if Alan would write a blogpost that I could share about his education and life journey. Here it is below. What an amazing, inpsiring man with such a supportive mum. Enjoy. 


I’m writing this on a plane to Svalbard in the Arctic Circle where I will be taking a break with my partner, a research physicist studying the Northern Lights. I’m 28 years old, a recent graduate from the University of Kent, where I collected my degree at the same award ceremony in Canterbury Cathedral where Sue Black was awarded an honorary doctorate.

I was excited to meet Sue and hear her story that day, partly because of her work about Bletchley Park (a place I’ve enjoyed visiting multiple times whilst living and working in Milton Keynes) but also because of what she represents: someone who, despite adversity and an unconventional route through education, has achieved great success in a field that still feels dominated by a narrow part of society.

Whilst I cannot claim to have gone through anything like her experiences, I’m also a mature student who didn’t follow the traditional route to University. If you’d asked me 10 years ago where I expected to be now, it certainly wouldn’t have been here; at that time I already felt that I was “too late” to achieve my goals of going to university and entering the tech industry. I’m writing this in the hope that my story might serve to give some hope to someone in a similar situation.

Throughout my school years I listened to the mantra that at every stage (SATS, GCSE, A Levels) you had to work hard as this was the only chance to progress and do well in the next stage, all the way to university. My parents divorced in my early teens and, perhaps in an attempt to have control over something in my life, I stopped attending school. I left school with only a single GCSE with my plans of university shattered. I didn’t have the five GCSEs needed to get to college or even to get a basic job. My school wouldn’t allow me to re-sit them because of how little I’d attended. I was “too late” to change the path I’d chosen by not attending.

The following year I sat the 4 additional GCSEs I needed for college with the National Extension College, a distance learning charity that at that time would take my mother’s stockpile of Tesco Clubcard Vouchers as payment! After this I started on a BTEC IT Diploma and did well, but ultimately dropped out again, feeling inadequate when compared with my peers. 

By my late teens I felt hopeless, with no chance of work or education. I was struggling with depression and anxiety, as well as trying to come to terms with my sexuality. I retreated from friends and family and I continued drifting like this for years, spending most of my time online, trying to escape a day-to-day life in which I felt I’d failed and was too late to change things.  I was forced into change by my father falling into financial difficulties. Facing the reality of him losing his home and supported by treatment for my depression, I started looking for work.

Eventually I found a role as a supermarket delivery driver; the work was hard with shifts often exceeding 12 hours, but I enjoyed it and did well, progressing to a driver coach/instructor role and then supervising the department. I learned how to handle everything from rescuing vans stuck under bridges to answering irate phone calls from customers and drivers, whilst trying to help someone find something on the shop floor. I regained some confidence and my Mum suggested maybe I could give education another try. 

I enrolled in an Access to Computing course at the local adult college. Access to Higher Education Diplomas are available for anyone who hasn’t already completed an A-level or equivalent qualification; they pack the equivalent of 3 A-levels into a few days a week over the course of a year. They’re designed so that on completion students can go on to university, and the majority of universities accept them. The Access qualification was hard work; I balanced a 30-hour working week with a similar amount of studying, but it paid off. I received a distinction (equivalent to 3 A*) which meant I qualified for scholarship funding at Kent. I received offers from all 5 of the universities I applied to (Aberdeen, Cardiff, Kent, Lancaster and Stirling); the only limitation I faced when applying for Computing degrees was the lack of a maths A Level. 

Going to University, I was apprehensive, I’d be 6 years older than most of the people I’d be living and studying with. I chose a 4-year programme with a year in industry, which meant by the time I graduated I’d be nearing 30. Was this too late? What’s more, many of the people there would have sat dozens of exams over the course of their education, whilst I’d sat almost none.

Exams certainly proved a challenge, as did my lack of maths knowledge. However I found I did well, especially in programming where my Access qualification had given me some excellent tutelage, as opposed to most of my classmates who’d done next to none at school. When it came to applying for work I was similarly worried about the gaps in my CV and history. I also found this wasn’t the barrier I expected.  At the end of my first year, I secured a paid summer placement with the Bank of England, followed by a year’s paid placement with a firm in Milton Keynes whom I now work for.  

University wasn’t plain sailing. My mother was diagnosed with cancer (thankfully now in remission) towards the end of my first year and I found I often suffered from “imposter syndrome” throughout my degree. However, I was helped by a variety of amazing people, from the friends I met in halls in first year, through to university career advisors, managers on placements and of course my partner. I graduated with a first class honours degree in Computer Science and won multiple awards, securing a job with my placement company in Milton Keynes, where I now work (and live on a 55ft narrowboat!). 

As a white male from a middle-class background I write this with no illusions that my relative success means that the same opportunities I had are available to all. The data around education and employment in the tech industry, especially for those from “non-conventional” backgrounds makes for difficult reading (1) (2). I’m immensely grateful to all those who supported me and very much aware that without them and the academic options available, I would not be where I am now. 

I hope that my story might show that it’s never too late to change course and return to education. Despite an education system that drills into children that they must do well in the next exam or else they’re locked out of progressing, it is possible to return to education years later. It might require more effort, but it’s doable. 

Furthermore it’s vital we keep these routes open for people and promote them so that students don’t unwittingly limit their potential. Since I studied for my Access qualification, funding for further education has been cut by around half a billion pounds;  the result of this is that adults over 24+ have to pay (by student loan or otherwise) for any Level 3 or Level 4 qualifications and this has led to a marked reduction (31% according to a government report) in the number of people taking such qualifications. People are (rightly or wrongly) put off even starting on the journey to university by the student debt that now also accompanies our degree programmes. 

I hope that in time our government will come to recognise the value of such funding and reverse some of those cuts. In the meantime I will do all I can to support people going on a similar journey to mine, be it through talking and writing about it or helping provide some of the opportunities I was given, for example by setting up paid internship programmes. 

Written by Alan Gore


Women’s Equality Party – Doing politics differently

Earlier this year I took a deep breath and put myself forward as the Women’s Equality Party candidate to stand in the 2020 elections to be Mayor of London.

As someone who had almost given up on politics ever representing someone like me, and not really imagining myself as a politician, it was a bit of a scary thing to do, but I felt the time to sit on the sidelines had passed. It’s not just that so much is going wrong, it’s about how much could go right if we work together. We have enough resource to make all our lives better, there are so many opportunities out there, we just need to focus on the right things, and work collaboratively to create change. I am so excited to be part of the Women’s Equality Party and to lead our campaign for a better, more equal London supporting and being supported by our wonderful leader Mandu Reid.

One of the most exciting things about our party is that it was founded to do politics differently and work collaboratively to drive change. Anyone who believes in equality can be part of our movement – even if they’re already a member of another political party. We’re the only party not only to allow dual membership but to encourage it, as part of this approach. Other parties talk about working cross-party and building alliances, but sometimes they put their own and or their party’s political advantage ahead of the public interest. Our leaders need to be bold and show that there is a better way to do things.

That’s why yesterday I showed my support for Jo Swinson MP, the new leader of the Liberal Democrats, by joining her party. As a longstanding WEP member and now LibDem member, I would like to welcome Jo and ask her to consider allowing members of her party to join our party and work together, to stop Brexit but not only that, to fight together for a better, more equal future.

Our country is facing an awful and unprecedented crisis. We are not going to solve it using the same old style of politics, the same old entrenched, tribal divisions. There is a way forward, one that brings people together around the things that unite us rather than the things that divide us. Collaboration, working with others to make life better for everyone can give us a bright and hopeful future, one where we *all* have the chance to live our best lives.


If you are, or know of, any women in the Midlands/North of the UK who have a degree and might be interested in our exciting new tech retraining programme please tag them underneath or send them the details of #TechUP Women.
We will take 100 women and retrain them into tech careers: #datascientist, #agileprojectmanager, #businessanalyst or #softwaredeveloper part time over 6 months from July 2019 to January 2020.
We have 15 industry partners working with us including Capital One, Experian, BJSS, Tombola, Northern Power Women, Colorintech, BAME recruitment and Atom Bank providing mentoring and real world advice and experience to our programme.
We’ve extended the deadline until Sunday as several people needed the weekend to get their applications in, application take just a few minutes if you already have a CV.
Please share far and wide, any questions please ask, thanks very much 🙂
Screenshot 2019-05-31 at 18.34.51