Inspirational stories about gender-inclusive making

Miranda Moss
Independent artist and researcher

Miranda studied Art at the University of Cape Town and finished her Master’s degree in Sustainable Design at Linnaeus University in Sweden, where she is now involved in a research project on Regenerative  Energy Communities. She describes herself as an artist, outsider engineer, eco-geek and rogue educator from Cape Town, South Africa. Her transdisciplinary practice focuses on the problematics and possibilities of technology from an ecological and social perspective.

“I started slowly, like awkwardly,  shyly researching technology stuff and making things”.

Being a white South African, Miranda felt that she had a privileged education but nevertheless “managed to leave out any science and technology” in her education. Her father was a chemistry professor and she visited him regularly in his lab, but never got actively involved in STEM. She realized that women are socialized in a way that they want to pursue more altruistic endeavors, such as biology, medicine, or psychology, as she did when she studied biology with enthusiasm in school. In addition, STEM is often educated on a very abstract level, she adds, instead of providing hands-on practical experiences where one can see real effects on the world, as it is the case for making.

So Miranda studied art, which luckily can mingle with many different other disciplines.

“When I tried to wire up a light bulb for an exhibition I fell in love” she says. “I started slowly, like awkwardly,  shyly researching technology stuff and making things”.

At the beginning she thought that not having studied technology would mean that there is nothing she can contribute when she exchanges with makers and hackers. But then she But then she realized that her humanistic studies equipped her with the skills to critically reflect and questions things.

So today Miranda says that “the people to be most excluded from developing science and technology should probably be the people actually developing science and technology, because they can see and feel the world from a much more critical perspective.”

As she discovered technology quite late,  it is an ongoing effort for her to make sure that this doesn’t happen to the next generation of girls and nobody is left behind.

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