London

Government ministers’ misogyny towards Kids Company CEO Camila Batmangelidjh 

Im disturbed by the way that all of the (mainly male) ministers and others being asked to comment on the closing of Kids Company and the demise of its CEO Camila Batmangelidjh use terms such as “mesmerised” and “charmed” as part of their defence in giving the charity large amounts of public funding. This smacks to me of timeless, insipid misogyny.

  
Image copyright The Guardian 

What is the job of a CEO of a large charity? Surely a large part of it is to make sure the charity can continue to run by bringing in funding. How do you bring in funding? I imagine by persuading people that your charity is doing great work and is more important than the others in the same space. 

  
From the Telegraph “Kids Company Camila Batmangelidjh – How we fell for this matriarch” 

Isn’t this what Camila Batmangelidjh did really well? 

Instead of putting their hands up and saying “yes, it’s a fair cop, we should have been more rigorous with our checks into the organisation” etc they all talk about how they were “charmed” or “mesmerised” trying to dodge the blame and put the onus on the CEO for persuading them to behave a certain way. 

There are of course many stories and behaviours going back centuries which promulgate the same misogyny, Adam and Eve and witch hunts for a start, so it’s interesting that in our society this blaming of women for men’s actions is still being used. But isn’t it time we moved on? 

I don’t want my grandchildren growing up in a misogynist world. It’s time for change. 

How technology and education changed my life

It was quite surreal to receive this email today, inviting me to my talk at London South Bank University 🙂

LSBU Alumni 2015
Dear Susan,

As a graduate of the BSc Computing Studies, class of 1993, we are delighted to invite you to an exclusive pre-drinks reception to welcome your fellow classmate, Dr Sue Black, back to LSBU.

“If I CAN DO IT, SO CAN YOU”

Dr Black will deliver an inspirational talk about how technology and education changed her life. When Sue enrolled on the course, she was a single mum living on a Brixton council estate. Today, she is one of Europe’s top 50 women in tech and a key voice in our digital future.

Date: Wednesday 18th November
Time: 17:30 – 21:00 including drinks and buffet reception
Venue: Events Theatre, Keyworth Centre (LSBU Southwark Campus)

This is an opportunity for you to reunite with your former classmates over drinks and hear Dr Black’s talk in a specially reserved area. Please email to register your place at the pre-drinks reception.

As we may not be in touch with all of our BSc Computing Studies graduates, please feel free to invite your fellow LSBU alumni or let us know so we can send them an invitation.

Best wishes,

The LSBU Alumni team
Olivia, Rishi and Laura

Deloitte CIO Dinner at the Royal Opera House

Wonderful evening last night with #womenintech friends at athe Deloitte CIO Dinner at the Royal Opera House. Thanks Rebecca George   

    
    
    
    
    
    
 

“Saving Bletchley Park”, New York roasting, Cheltenham Literary Festival, Raspberry Pi, GCHQ and “Women in the World”

I’ve had a fabulous last couple of weeks, here are some of the highlights, in pictures. No wonder I’m tired 😉

I received and started making the final changes to my “Saving Bletchley Park” manuscript

 

 

I got to have a great catchup there with the wonderful Vanessa Vallely

 

 

I met Elaine Finn and after a couple of glasses of wine at the reception we decided to take a daring selfie 😉

 

 

After the BBC event finished a few of us went for dinner 🙂

 

My lovely son Olly and DiL Tony made a fab family lunch

 

My grandson Felix took a liking to mushrooms

 

The next day I flew to New York

 

..and found myself upgraded to business class! Woohoo, thanks British Airways 🙂

 

My awesome friend Kelly took me to MOMA and I got to check out the Warhol exhibition

 

Wow! It was so incredible to be in the same room as these iconic pics

 

Kelly and I took some colourful selfies in the MOMA garden

 

I roasted my great friend J Kelly Hoey at her 50th birthday party in New York.

 

I took some blurred selfies as I was crossing 6th Avenue

 

I worked on (amongst other things) the acknowledgements for my book “Saving Bletchley Park” at Gimme Coffee in Brooklyn

 

Coincidentally my friend Martin was in New York with his wife and goddaughter, so we met up for dinner at Soho House, then another coincidence my friend Judith happened to be there too, so we caught up too 🙂

 

I had a lovely breakfast in Brooklyn with my awesome friend @ctrouper

 

I stayed at an Airbnb in Brooklyn near Hewes Street subway 🙂

 

The morning after the night before, a massive breakfast with birthday girl Kelly (I can’t believe she’s 50!) and Kelly’s friend Devon, another awesome woman 🙂

 

Kelly and I went for a stroll in Central Park to burn off a few calories from breakfast and happened upon a wedding taking place on the bridge in Central Park. How romantic! They were English too 🙂

 

Kelly and me in central Park

 

My favourite place for BBQ is Virgils in NYC, I have dinner there at least once every trip 🙂

 

Virgils BBQ – ❤

 

Through twitter I met up with Gem Barrett, we had a great dinner at Virgils and then took some drunken selfies in Times Square 🙂

 

 

After 5 days in NYC I was so happy to get home to my family, especially Cheeky, my youngest daughter

 

The next day I was off to Cheltenham Literary Festival to chair a panel on “Navigating our 24/7 culture”

 

On the panel were Annette Karmiloff Smith and Michael Acton Smith, we were introduced by the fabulous Isabella from Cheltenham Ladies College.

 

A couple of days later I went to Cambridge for the day, on the tube on the way there I bumped into my lovely friend Mex aka @anniemole

 

I had a great meeting at Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge to discuss setting up and leading a #womenintech Centre of Excellence at Lucy Cavendish 🙂

 

While I was in the area I nipped in to see mates at the Raspberry Pi Foundation: Carrie Anne Philbin @missphilbin and Philip Colligan 🙂

 

It chucked it down on the walk back to the station 😮 I checked in on Swarm and found myself being tweeted by Microsoft Research offering me an umbrella! I was delighted to accept.

 

That night my daughter Emma treated me and Cheeky to dinner, it was great to catch up 🙂

 

The next day I was off to Cheltenham again, this time to give a talk at GCHQ! I had a great day, met lots of interesting people and bumped into Sir Dermot Turing who was signing hundreds of copies of his book “Prof” about his uncle Alan Turing ready for his book launch the next day.

 

When I got back to London I met up with my mate Steve Hills and we went to a fun private do at L’Escargot in Soho organised by Stephen Colegrave. Mitch from Unbounders read out a couple of “Letters of Note” with his usual great comic timing 🙂

 

The next day I had a bit of a break to take my grandson for a walk by the Thames 🙂

 

I was excited to get a press pass for the Women in the World event at Cadogan Hall, London, as I turned up on the first night celebs were getting their pics taken on the red carpet 🙂

 

There were so many great women there, onstage and off. Google “Women in the World” to see some of the incredible talks. So inspiring 🙂

 

Sarah Gavron and Meryl Streep discussing their film Suffragette, out tomorrow, i cant wait to see it!

 

Ursula von der Leyn, German defence minister was amazing, 7 children and making great changes in German politics. Incredible role model for us all.

 

It was great to get a chance to catch up with my lovely friend Ann O’Dea who runs Silicon Republic in Dublin 🙂

 

…and awesome to catch up again with Lauren Boyle – European Digital Girl of the Year 2014 – and her mum Tania 🙂

 

…and what an absolute honour to meet and get a selfie with the “Dagenham Girls” 🙂

 

Just showing off my press pass, and blue nail varnish 😉

 

I was also featured that day on the cover of the Autumn issue of the London South Bank University magazine, I’m speaking there next month.

 

I bought quite a bit of wool in New York, I couldn’t help myself! The first thing I made was this jacker for my grandson, hope it fits…i need to get some buttons…

 

At the weekend we visited Polesden Lacey National Trust property in Surrey, its an incredible house and gardens, highly recommended

 

Here we are outside the house

 

Did you enjoy that? Me too, let’s go and get a cup of tea…

 

Digital Leaders 2015, a Doctor, a Baroness and a chat show 

 I spent most of the day yesterday at 1 Whitehall Place at the Digital Leaders 2015 conference. I interviewed Martha Lane Fox on stage for half an hour about our digital future, women in tech, quotas, doteverything, and how to catalyse a digitally savvy workforce to ensure future success for the UK in the global marketplace. 

The audience liked our interview so much that many people suggested we should have our own chat show 😀 

Let’s make it happen! Watch this space…

                               

Finding my ancestors via DNA testing

I’ve been interested in my family tree for as long as I can remember. I grew up with a small family and always longed for more relatives, some cousins to play with. 

When I was pregnant with my youngest daughter 12 years ago I started looking into my family tree, and got stuck on one great grandfather Sydney Ambury. I couldn’t find where he was born. 

Fast forward a few years to 2011. I found an article linking Sydney Ambury to Solomon Hamburg, son of Benjamin and Flora Hamburg. Benjamin and Flora had come to London from Amsterdam in the 1800s, lived in Spitalfields, got married in the Great Synagogue in London and had 10 children. I found out that I’m one eighth Jewish. I’d had absolutely no idea about that, and I have probably hundreds of Jewish cousins 😃  

Here’s the blogpost I wrote about meeting up with the first of many of my Jewish cousins Jon and Phil Marx. Jon has put together a massive chart detailing all of our relatives going back for generations He also organised a wonderful reunion at Sandy’s Row synagogue in Spitalfields where 3 of our ancestors were married. 

Today I thanks to my friend Kristie Wells I received a DNA testing kit from Ancestry.com.  

I spat in the plastic tube added the stabilising fluid, sealed and packaged it up ready to send for analysis.   

I’m very excited to find out what the results are. Just 2 weeks and I’ll find out where my ancestors lived 500 to 1200 years ago and get connected to lots of 1st to 5th cousins. I’m so excited! Watch this space for the results…  

#WE – The Women’s Equality Party 

I went to the second meeting of the Women’s Equality Party today at Conway Hall in London. 

After a few rousing speeches we split up into groups to work on 10 different areas of activism or “speed politics” as Sandi Toksvig called it 😃 

I chose campaigning. We then reported back.

 I’m excited about the opportunity that an equality party may bring to get the UK on track. I’m quite disappointed that there has not been that much change in my lifetime, and as I get older I start feeling frustrated that maybe we won’t see equality in my lifetime. It’s a sobering thought.   

Equality for women isn’t a women’s issue. When women fulfill their potential, everyone benefits. Equality means better politics, a more vibrant economy, a workforce that draws on the talents of the whole population and a society at ease with itself.

The Women’s Equality Party will be a new non-partisan force in British politics bringing together women and men of all ages and backgrounds, united in the campaign for women to enjoy the same rights and opportunities as men so that both sexes can flourish.

The Women’s Equality Party will work towards such a society. We will push for equal representation in politics and business to ensure women’s voices are heard at the same volume as men’s. We will urge an education system that creates opportunities for all girls and boys and an understanding of why this matters. We will press for equal pay and equal parenting rights enabling women and men to share opportunity and responsibility in the workplace and at home. We will seek an end to violence against women.

We will bring about change by winning—support, votes and seats. We will not try to present ourselves as a party with an answer on every issue and a full palette of policies. Our focus will be clear and unambiguous and we will not stop attracting votes from the other political parties until they embrace and adopt our agenda of equality.

Women’s Equality Party on Facebook 

All in a day’s work

I had a great day today. Thanks to lots of wonderful people I had a really awesome day. 2 great meetings, I gave a talk at Twitter HQ and organised and spoke at an event at BCS Central London branch. Yesterday I spent the day in bed with awful cold/flu feeling absolutely dreadful.

What a difference a day makes. Incredible. Just got home at 1am feeling shattered but happy. Thanks to everyone who made today special: Julia Shalet, Mazi, Andy Piper and all at Twitter, Bryan Glyck and Kayleigh Bateman, Funmi Adeusi, Lucy Rogers, Anke Holst, Alan O’Donohue, Wendy Woo and Joan Lockwood.

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The Imitation Game + Alan Turing + Joan Clarke: reviews, facts, books, links, useful information

Have you seen The Imitation Game starring Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch? Have you wondered what is historically accurate in the film, what is true and what false? Is Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Alan Turing accurate? Does Keira Knightley’s portrayal of Joan Clarke get over her true character?

This blog post is a collection of links to information that is related to The Imitation Game and will hopefully go some way towards answering questions that you may have about Turing, The Imitation Game and Bletchley Park.

I have been involved with Bletchley Park and known about Alan Turing for over 10 years. I spearheaded a campaign to save Bletchley Park in 2008 which I write about in detail in my forthcoming book Saving Bletchley Park: the story of Bletchley Park and the campaigns to save it. Bletchley Park is now a museum open to the public, do visit if you can and don’t forget The National Museum of Computing next door.

REVIEWS OF THE IMITATION GAME

I wrote a review of The Imitation Game that @pubstrat on Twitter said is

One of the most thought provoking film reviews I have ever read.

Here’s my review written after seeing the film and being on a panel afterwards at the Phoenix Cinema in London: The Imitation Game: Art Imitating Real Life?

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There are many other reviews including:

“Broken codes, both strategic and social” The New York Times

“Why you should watch The Imitation Game and why you might want to skip it” Tech Republic

An engrossing and poignant thriller” The Guardian

What’s the best review that you have read and why? Do post a comment below and I’ll add it to the list 🙂

ruth bourne phoenix panel

Veteran Ruth Bourne, 2 Turing experts and me on stage after a screening of The Imitation Game in London

BOOKS ABOUT ALAN TURING + JOAN CLARKE

The book that inspired the film is Andrew Hodges Alan Turing: The Enigma a definitive biography of Turing. Very few of us would have heard of Alan Turing if it were not for Andrew.

Alan Turing: his work and impact by Barry Cooper who relentlessly promoted and campaigned for more recognition for Turing and his work by organising the Turing Centenary celebrations in 2012.

Alan M. Turing written by Turing’s mother Sara Turing.

There’s also Alan Turing e l’intelligenza delle macchine by Teresa Numerico in Italian.

I’m eagerly awaiting a book by Kerry Howard “Women Codebreakers at Bletchley Park” the story of three female codebreakers: Mavis Batey, Joan Clarke and Margaret Rock. Kerry has recently had contact with Joan Clarke’s relatives which is very exciting news. The book will be out later this month (January 2015).  There’s also lots of info on Kerry’s “Bletchley Park Research” website.

FACT OR FICTION? WHAT IS TRUE AND WHAT IS FALSE?

Steve Colgan and I put together

10 things you need to know about The Imitation Game“, which looks at what was true and false in the film.

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We also did a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) session which is a public Q and A about The Imitation Game and Bletchley Park: “IamA Dr Sue Black, I started a campaign to save Bletchley Park as featured in The Imitation Game. I am joined by co-author of my book Saving Bletchley Park and QI Elf Steve Colgan and we are experts on the history of Bletchley Park and Alan Turning AMA!

FIRST HAND STORIES ABOUT ALAN TURING

I, of course, have not met Alan Turing, but have met several people who did over the years of my involvement with Bletchley Park. Turing’s mentor at Bletchley was the codebreaker Max Newman. Newman also testified for Turing when he was sentenced and prosecuted. I’ve spoken several times to William Newman, Max Newman’s son about Alan Turing and what he remembers of him. William told me stories of when he was a child and Turing used to visit. I relate two of these in Robert Lewellyn’s Carpool interview with me from a few years ago about Turing and Bletchley Park and it’s significance.

CAN YOU HELP? WHAT’S THE BEST LINK YOU HAVE FOUND?

I will be updating this page regularly, this is just a start with information that I know of. Please do add useful links in the comments below and I’ll add them to the page as we go.

 

 

London walk along the Thames at night

Waiting just a few minutes for my son to arrive last night I walked around the south bank of the Thames by the Tate Modern Gallery.

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It is a beautiful area, so different from when I used to walk along here 20 years ago.

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20 years ago it was desolate, now it is vibrant 🙂 I love London.