Co-founder, Foundation for Digital Creativity.

Claire has over 20 years of experience as a senior teacher, creative technologist and programme manager in the edtech sector, and is a strong advocate of improving girls’ and women’s opportunities in STEM.

In 2017 she launched the The Foundation for Digital Creativity with Dr Andrew Robinson, as a not-for-profit organisation with a mission to remove barriers and ignite inspiration to enable everyone to bring about social good through the use of digital technologies. Education programmes are centred around adults and children motivated by curiosity and the desire to understand how technology and engineering innovations can positively impact on issues relevant to them.

Claire contributed to a peer reviewed research paper with Leeds University in 2017, exploring the impact of maker education on the formal curriculum in secondary schools. She is now undertaking her own research around digital making and wellbeing through the university’s Doctorate of Education programme.

What does diversity mean to you?

Diversity means recognising and respecting people’s differences and valuing that contribution as a way to introduce greater perspective and empathy. Sometimes it can’t be measured through standard monitoring and data collection at work as it includes different experiences, cultures, personalities and the educational pathways of individuals.

Why do you care about diversity?

I’m an educator at heart which should go some way to explaining my interest in promoting inclusion and valuing diverse learning communities. Organising the Leed Raspberry Jam meetups offers a great chance for our group to try out new ideas with digital making activities. The diversity of experiences from individual makers nurtures a supportive environment that can be different to those in formal education settings. It’s brilliant to see first hand how intergenerational teams foster further opportunities for creativity and innovation.

Programmes in schools often include me working on initiatives to encourage girls to take up STEM subjects at KS4 and address the lack of diversity in those fields. We need to tackle the perception of some girls that STEM subjects are ‘too difficult to learn’ and look to rework the curriculum to address this issue as all learners make decisions about GCSE. Currently, only 1 in 5 Computer Science GCSE pupils are female, and this needs to increase if we’re to move towards true diversity in STEM and ensuring a diverse and talented pipeline of digitally-literate and creative learners.

What inspired you to start your current journey?

My teaching background is quite broad as I started life as a Technology subject specialist in secondary education before transitioning to link with SEN and inclusion. Now we’re recognising the value of digital skills to an inclusive society and how diversity in digital industries can drive change and innovation to make the world a better place. Development of our ‘Internet of Things’ programme allows us to support everyone to make connections with their own lives and consider real world application of digital skills, regardless of previous programming experiences. We believe these skills should be available to every adult and child to have a voice for equal participation in democratic and global environmental issues. With diversity in thinking and participation emerges a brighter and more inclusive future.