MadLab has gathered around itself and interesting and diverse community of artists, scientists, hackers. Most groups meeting in MadLab also have a social and networking aspect to them and MadLab is often organizing events to raise awareness about the space and give different groups a chance to meet. But there are also few meet-ups that are mainly social and bring together people who have found their similar interests via twitter or other social network and want to meet in person. The space is perfect for organising dinners and tea parties, gaming and film nights and Teawitter, Girl Geeks and Sanctuary Gaming Night have grabbed that opportunity.
The first Teawitter tea party took place in February 2010 and since then the meet-up has gained a solid place in MadLabs meetups list and is also a link between, bringing groups together. The idea of the event is quite straight forward – like the organizers have said themselves: “The teawitter party is an excuse for Manchester’s lovers of things tea (and coffee!), cake and twitter related to get together and swap tales, put names to faces and enjoy the best home made confection!”. It started from a punch of keen twitter users with similar interests, for example in baking, wanting to meet up in real life, enjoy good food and socialize.
Teawitter stands out as a group with multiple interests – there really isn’t a limit to themes to discuss in a relaxed atmosphere with tea and cakes. The food is still in a way the focus and a great way to create and open atmosphere for communication. In addition to organising a Picnic, an event focused on Science, Teawitter has also cooperated with other groups from MadLab. Many regulars of the event are also generally passionate about the space and take part in various initiatives. Latest of events was a Microbe picnic in cooperation with DIYBIO where participants brought food that has microbes involved in its production. That involved various kinds of bread and cheese and alcohol and added to the awareness about where the food we consume daily comes from and how it is produced. Teawitter also teams up with the Manchester Science Festival – this year they organize a joint tea party with Manchester Girl Geeks with talks, hands on activities from kitchen chemistry and mathematical origami. Definitely worth seeing.
Teawitter has proved to be a create partner for different groups to organize joint events. No one minds a piece of cake!
Manchester Girl Geeks
Manchester Girl Geeks is an initiative of a PhD student Sam Bail bringing together girls and women who are interested in science, engineering, technology and mathematics. Often it seems that women are marginalised in these fields and this event offers them an opportunity to meet, network and organize various workshops.
Manchester Girl Geeks has actually grown out from the Girl Geek Dinners which is a phenomenon started in London on 2005. Since then the word has spread and women in science have started to gather all over the world. There are branches all over Europe, but also for example in India, Japan and South-America. The event has gained especially big popularity in UK, and reaching Manchester was the logical step. But initially there was two separate events – Girl Geek Dinners where complimented by Girl Geek Teaparties. For now they have merged into one vent regularly taking place in MadLab. They call themselves Mancheter Girl Geeks and organize workshops, meet-ups, lectures and discussions with cookies and cakes on wide range of subjects – from computer and robot building to more casual issues. Manchester Girl Geeks seems to be a great border crossing group in MadLab – they have cooperated with the WordPress user group, get regular help from Hacman and are putting up an event on Manchester Science Festival with Teawitter (look above).
And last but not least: Manchester Girl Geeks are not discriminating towards men – as long as they have an invite from a girl geek they are welcomed to join the inspiring talks and workshops. And diversity in terms of age, background, ethnic, religious groups is seen only as a benefit.