After graduating from the University of Sussex in 2010 I spent five years working in the digital media and IT industries in Brighton. In 2011 I joined my local hackerspace, Build Brighton, and shortly afterwards became a trustee. Over the next few years I organised workshops and public engagement events for Build Brighton, worked as a producer for the annual Brighton Mini Maker Faire, and visited other makerspaces and Maker Faires all over the UK.
Almost everywhere I went in the tech industry and maker community there was a noticeable lack of women and femme people. One day, I looked up from my desk at work and realised that I was the only femme person in a room of 30 people. I became interested in investigating ways to support women and femme people’s engagement with technology, and in 2015 I left my job to start a combined Masters and PhD programme at University College London. In 2016 I gained my MSc in Science, Technology & Society, and I’m currently conducting PhD research looking at how some makerspaces have been successful at building a gender diverse membership base.
Alongside my postgraduate studies I’ve taught undergraduate and masters seminars in Science & Technology Studies at UCL, presented at various hacker and maker conferences, and contributed to research and activism projects focused on technology, gender, and building inclusive communities.
PhD Science & Technology Studies, University College London, 2023 (predicted).
- Thesis title: Gender, Technology, and Makerspaces. Supervisors: Dr Emily Dawson & Dr Carina Fearnley.
MSc Science, Technology & Society (Distinction), University College London, 2016.
- Dissertation title: Who’s in and who’s out: The state of the field of the UK maker movement.
BA (Hons) Film Studies (First Class), University of Sussex, 2010.
Grants & Awards
Grand Challenges Doctoral Students’ Small Grant, University College London, 2021.
- Awarded £2,500 for the project ”Re-Imagining Technology to Explore Gender Through a Game Jam”, a collaboration between myself and Leya George (UCL Interaction Centre).
Making Spaces, Lloyds Register Foundation, 2019.
- Contributed to a successful grant application for the Making Spaces research project, awarded £688,467.
MSc STS Dissertation Prize, University College London, 2016.
ESRC 1+3 Studentship, Economic and Social Research Council, 2015.
- Awarded a 4-year studentship to complete an MSc and PhD at University College London, including full payment of tuition fees, a living stipend, and funding for research costs.
BA Film Studies Dissertation Prize, University of Sussex, 2010.
Research Assistant, Department of Science & Technology Studies, University College London, 2021.
- Project: “Exploring Experiences of LGBTQ+ Staff at UCL”. The role involved contributing to the design of a qualitative interview-based research project along with the Principal Investigator and two other RAs, and then conducting and summarising 25 semi-structured interviews with LGBTQ-identifying members of university staff.
Research Support, Public Policy & Grand Challenges, University College London, 2020.
- I worked on two of UCL’s Grand Challenges projects, “AI and the Future of Work” and “Implementing an Inclusive Economy in London”. My main responsibility was to prepare briefing documents and workshop notes for roundtable workshops with senior stakeholders from across academia, policy and business.
Researcher in Residence, NYC Resistor, 2018.
- NYC Resistor was one of the first hackerspaces to be founded in the USA in 2007. I worked with members of the hackerspace to research and document their group’s history, culture, and initiatives to engage female members.
Research Assistant, Institute of Education, University College London, 2017.
- Contributed to the successful funding application for the multi-year Making Spaces research project. My main responsibility was to prepare a literature review for the funding proposal.
Postgraduate Teaching Assistant, Department of Science & Technology Studies, University College London, 2017 – Present.
- 1st year module – Science Communication & Engagement
- 2nd year module – Human Sciences in Society
- 2nd year module – Scientific Communication & Computing
- 3rd year module – Emerging Technologies & Responsible Innovation
- Masters module – Responsible Innovation
Talks & Presentations
- Feminist perspectives. 35th Chaos Communication Congress, Leipzig, Germany, 27-30 December 2018.
- Building inclusive makerspaces. Electromagnetic Field, Eastnor, England, 31 August-2 September 2018.
- Women and femmes, technology, and makerspaces. Science Policy Research Unit PhD Forum, Brighton, England, 17-18 May 2018.
- What even is a “maker”?: How we see ourselves and how other people see us. Electromagnetic Field, Guildford, England, 5-7 August 2016.
- O’Sullivan, E. (2020). All creatures welcome?. Hack_Curio, ed. Gabriella Coleman.
- O’Sullivan, E. (2018). Excellence in the maker movement. Journal of Peer Production, 12.
Administrative Duties & Mentoring
- Panel Organiser, “Celebrating and Critiquing Feminist Inclusion Strategies in Technoscience Communities”, 4S Conference, 2021.
- Student Representative, UCL ESRC Doctoral Training Centre Student Consultative Group, 2015 – 2017.
- Mentor, Wired Sussex Internship Programme, 2011 – 2012.
- Volunteer, Diversity and Outreach Team & Conduct Team, Electromagnetic Field (hacker festival), 2019-2020.
- Organiser, “Feminist Hackers & Makers” (meetup), Chaos Communication Congress, 2018.
- Workshop moderator, “Building Inclusive Makerspaces”, Electromagnetic Field, 2018.
- Exhibitor, “Art:Work”, Tate Exchange @ Tate Modern, 2017.
- Organiser, “Machine Ghosts” (tech psychogeography tour), Haunted Random Forest Festival, 2017.
- Speaker, “Gender & Makerspaces”, PubHD Brighton, 2016.
- Producer, Brighton Mini Maker Faire, 2012-2015.
- Director, Build Brighton (hackerspace), 2012-2015.
- Exhibitor, Big Bang Fair South East, 2015.
- Exhibitor, Elephant & Castle Mini Maker Faire, 2014.
- Organiser, Young Rewired State Brighton (coding summer school), 2012-2014.
- Co-founder, Coder Dojo Brighton (coding club), 2013.
- Workshop facilitator, “Learn to Solder”, Brighton Science Festival, 2013.
- Exhibitor, Dublin Mini Maker Faire, 2012.
- Exhibitor, Derby Mini Maker Faire, 2012.
- Workshop facilitator, “After Effects Animation”, BarCamp London, 2011.
- Workshop facilitator, “After Effects Animation”, Brighton Filmmakers Coalition, 2010.
Trans Pride Brighton, 2021-2022.
- I was the lead producer for Trans Pride Brighton’s first ever livestream Pride festival in 2021, broadcast to an audience of 50,000 viewers from a TV studio in Brighton.
- I also worked with long-term Trans Pride Brighton volunteers and trustees to design policies and procedures for sustainably growing the organisation and producing future events.
- Trans Pride Brighton is the largest Trans Pride event outside the USA and has taken place every summer since 2013.
Zoom Out, 2020.
- I co-founded an initiative to push universities towards developing in-house open source remote teaching solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, instead of adopting solutions such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams whose business models are built on user data extraction.