European Project: Digital Girls


Digital Girls aims to inspire and motivate girls and young women to consider careers in the digital technology sector. This transnational project runs from 1 December 2016 to 30 November 2018 and is funded by Erasmus+ in the Netherlands with partners from five European Countries.

The partners are: Dona Daria from the Netherlands (coordinating partner), In the City Studios from the Netherlands, Pressure Line from The Netherlands, Ku Tu Eood from Bulgaria, Smashing Times Theatre and Film Company from Ireland, Aklub from the Czech Republic, K.A.N.E (Social Youth Development K.A.N.E.) from Greece and EURORESO International Cultural Association from Italy.

The project aims to cultivate and enhance digital confidence, employability and entrepreneurial skills for young women who may wish to work in digital technologies. The project aims to identify and showcase women in digital jobs, to map a process for developing digital skills suitable for the labour market, to promote digital technology and foster an atmosphere conducive to building digital technology, and to promote awareness of digital learning through high quality youth work. The project website can be viewed here.

The following activities will take place:

  • Transnational partner meetings
  • Identifying successful role models working in the digital sector
  • The creation of a short film series The World of Successful Digital Women
  • The creation of a Digital Career Roadmap Series for different jobs and professions
  • An online platform to support women in digital technologies
  • A network of local, regional, national and international stakeholders and end users
  • A series of public events (open days in digital companies and inspiration days)
  • Web events and a digital online campaign to encourage a career in digital technologies for young women.

If you would like to attend the Digital Girls open day public events taking place in 2018 please contact Smashing Times at +353 (0)1 865 6613.

Activities to Date

From 1 January to 31 May 2017 each partner conducted research on job profiles in the digital sector in their respective countries. This involved online research and consultations and meetings with key stakeholders. As part of project research into career development for women in the digital sector, each country then identified successful women role models working in the digital sector. In Ireland, three women were identified and interviewed and three role model case studies prepared. Their stories will be made available to encourage other young women to get involved in careers in digital technology.

Smashing Times are delighted to have the following role models on board:

  • Sinead McKenna, Lighting Designer and Head of the Lighting Masters Programme at the Lir Academy;
  • Elaine Reynolds, a video games developer and Creative Director/CEO, of Simteractive, a mobile games development studio specialising in simulation games.
  • Anne Coogan, Business Analyst, Boxever Ltd, providing customer intelligence cloud services

Transnational Partner Meetings

The project results in a series of Transnational Partner Meetings taking place as follows: Sofia, Bulgaria, January 2017; Dublin, Ireland, 8, 9 May 2017; Prague, Czech Republic, 2,3 November 2017; Kalamata, Greece, 21, 22 June 2018; and a Final Conference in Rotterdam Netherlands, 15, 16 November 2018. All partners attended the first transnational partner meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria In January 2017, where they discussed and agreed on the detailed plan for project implementation and the schedule for fulfilling the ambitious project targets.
Smashing Times hosted the second project partner meeting for the European project Digital Girls funded by Erasmus+. The meeting took place in Dublin on 8, 9 May 2017 at The Hub in Dublin’s Trinity College where partners came together to make the final selection of extraordinary women as digital role models and to define digital professions for which a series of digital roadmaps will be developed.

Series of Short Films – The World of Successful Digital Women

On May 9 2017 Smashing Times played host to the Inthecity film crew who are making a series of short films highlighting the stories of female digital role models across Europe. Inthecity interviewed two of Ireland’s digital role models, Sinead McKenna and Anne Coogan. Sinead was interviewed in a number of locations including the Project Arts Centre, Dublin as she weaves her magic on the cutting edge of theatre and technology. The film crew interviewed Anne in her place of work, Boxever Limited, where she works as a business consultant in the area of IT and iCloud services. From interviews to date, the following key skills have been identified in all the job roles, which are problem solving, creativity, communication skills, technical awareness, logical thinking and team working.

Digital Women Role Models – Ireland

• Sinead McKenna, Lighting Designer and Head of the Lighting Masters Programme at the Lir Academy, Dublin

Sinead has led the MFA Lighting Design programme at the Lir National Academy of Dramatic Art since 2013. She has received two Irish Times Theatre Awards for Best Lighting Design (2002 and 2013). Stage Lighting Designs include: Maz and Bricks (Fishamble New Play Company); The Becket/Pinter/Friel Festival, Private Lives (2016 and 2008); Juno and the Paycock, A Month in The Country, The Gigli Concert, The Mariner, The Price and An Ideal Husband (The Gate Theatre); Grace Jones – the Musical of My Life (Blinder Films); Prodijig (Cork Opera House); Uncle Vanya and Richard III (West Yorkshire Playhouse); The Wake, Othello, Aristocrats, Quietly, Alice in Funderland, The Plough and the Stars, 16 Possible Glimpses, The Burial at Thebes, Howie The Rookie and Finders Keepers (Abbey Theatre, Dublin); New Electric Ballroom (Druid Theatre Company/ International tour); Howie The Rookie (Best Lighting Design Irish Theatre Awards); Greener, October, Last Days of The Celtic Tiger, Blackbird (Landmark Productions); Nivellis War (2014 New Victory Theatre NYC 2017) and Pinocchio (Cahoots); Dubliners (The Corn Exchange); and Famished Castle, Travesties, The Importance of Being Earnest and Improbable Frequency (New York Drama Desk Best Lighting Design for a Musical nomination 2009), The Parker Project, Life is a Dream, Attempts on her life and Dream of Autumn (Rough Magic).
She has also worked with Fishamble, Decadent, Gar San Lazare, Corn Exchange, THISISPOPBABY, Siren, The Lyric, Second Age, Performance Corporation, Semper Fi and Gúna Nua. Dance and opera designs include The Wolf and Peter, Agnes, Pageant, and Swept (CoisCéim); (Co-Production CoisCéim, Fishamble, Crash Ensemble), Don Giovanni (OTC); La Traviata (Malmo Opera House); The Rape of Lucretia IYO, The Magic Flute and The Marriage of Figaro (Opera Theatre Company); and Midsummers Night Dream (Opera Ireland).

Sinead’s work involves using vectorworks/CAD based software to plan and design lighting for stage productions in theatre, dance, opera and music. When asked ‘what are your professional beliefs and what does it take to be successful’? Sinead says that ‘Success is doing a job that you enjoy, that you find rewarding’. In relation to her work as a designer Sinead recommends ‘listen and absorb the work of the other artists involved in order to provide an integral design’. Working towards a show deadline in theatre can often be tense and Sinead says ‘I try to keep calm and keep smiling!’. Building relations is important ‘I like to have a good rapport with the crew and lighting personnel, they work incredibly hard and are amazing, talented and funny people!’

• Elaine Reynolds, Creative Director/CEO, Simteractive

Elaine runs Simteractive Ltd, a Dublin-based mobile game development company, currently making Eden Isle: Resort Paradise, a casual sim/building game that lets players create their dream holiday resort. Elaine has worked in the games industry for 10 years, starting out as a gameplay programmer at Traveller’s Tales where she worked on The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Following that Elaine moved into the role of game designer at Lionhead Studios, where she worked on The Fable Franchise and Milo & Kate. Elaine has a Masters in Computer Games Technology, a degree in Psychology, is a BAFTA member and a co-founder of Imirt, the organisation representing Irish game developers. She can be found on Twitter @Elaine_Reynolds and @Simteractive. See for more information on Eden Isle and for more information on Simteractive.

As a video games developer and Creative Director/CEO of Simteractive, a mobile games development studio specialising in simulation games, the main part of Elaine’s job is essentially to lead the game development team by working out what the game will be and what everyone needs to do to make it happen. When asked ‘what are your professional beliefs and what does it take to be successful?’ Elaine says that ‘My work philosophy is that you should find something that you love to do, where you enjoy the day-to-day work involved with it and not just the idea of it or the end result . . . To be successful in the games industry takes determination, focus and hard work’. Elaine says that ‘When it comes to game development education it’s important to stress that there’s no one set route into the industry. When you look at the career paths of people in the games industry they’re extremely varied. The other important thing to stress is that if you do a degree or a course, it’s not so much the qualification that matters, it’s the skills you learn and the portfolio you develop to demonstrate those skills.’

• Anne Coogan, Business Analyst, Boxever Limited

I’m working for Boxever Limited as a Business Consultant, since July 2016. Previously, I was working with a Microsoft Partner called Storm Technology following the successful completion of my HDip in Computer Science in Cloud and Web Computing, which dove tailed into an internship. I had worked as a Legal PA prior to that but having reached the top of my game, and with no ambition to be a lawyer, I decided it was time to make the career change to really challenge myself. I have since developed an addiction to education and developing myself, and am now focused on some personal self-development, which will lead to my being able to teach the Alexander Technique, which is the pension plan.

Boxever Limited is the leader in data science and omni-channel personalisation solutions for airlines and travel companies. Boxever’s Customer Intelligence Cloud enables travel marketers to build a 360 degree view of every customer and apply predictive analytics and machine learning to automatically create personalised, one-to-one marketing experiences that lead to higher conversion rates, increased revenue and truly differentiated customer experiences.

Working in her job as a business analyst and consultant in cloud services and dealing with a team of engineers and non-technical personnel, Anne believes it is important to have a ‘have a go attitude’ and to pull together as a team and to create an environment that is open to input from all, bottom up as well as top down. ‘The ability to communicate freely needs to be nurtured in order to successfully accomplish true collaboration. In order to be successful, one must be able to communicate one’s ideas clearly… and also knowing the appropriate medium to use for a given idea and/or audience.’

Celebrating Women in STEM – Ada Lovelace Day

August Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace (1815-1852) sometimes referred to as Ada Lovelace, was an English mathematician and writer and was considered by some to have written the instructions for the first computer programme in the mid-1800’s. Ada was born Augusta Ada Byron, the only legitimate child of Annabella Milbanke and the poet Lord Byron. Ada’s mother, Lady Byron, (whom Byron called his ‘Princess of parallelograms’) had mathematical training and she encouraged her daughter to study mathematics too. Ada went on to become a pioneer of computing.

Have a look at, a website on ‘Ada Lovelace Day – Celebrating Women in Stem’. According to the website, Ada Lovelace Day (ALD) is an international celebration of the achievements of women in STEM (women in science, technology, engineering and maths) which is held on the second Tuesday of October every year. It was started in 2009 by Sue Charman-Anderson as a day of blogging about women in tech and rapidly developed into a broader celebration of women in STEM, the definition of which people interpret in their own way. It aims to increase the profile of women in STEM and, in doing so, create new role models who will encourage more girls into STEM careers and support women already working in STEM.

It features a flagship Ada Lovelace Day Live! ‘science cabaret’ event in London, UK, at which women in STEM give short talks about their work or about other women who have inspired them, or perform short comedy or musical interludes with a STEM focus. This year’s event will be held on Tuesday 10 October 2017 in London.

The day also includes dozens of grassroots events around the world organised independently from the ADL Live event. These events take many forms — from conferences to Wikipedia ‘edit-a-thons’ to pub quizzes — and appeal to all ages, from girls to university students to women with well-established careers. ALD 2015 was the biggest to date with over 150 independently organised Ada Lovelace Day events, in 82 cities, in 25 countries. In 2017 it is expected that there will be around 80 events in 55 cities, in 18 countries over 6 continents. 

The Ada Awards

Check out the Ada Awards including the Digital Woman of the Year award, the Digital Girl of the Year Award and the Digital Impact Organisation of the Year award.

The Ada Awards are a global initiative recognising outstanding girls and women in digital studies and careers, and the organisations who support them, active in Europe and Africa since 2013. With support from the United NationsEuropean institutions and private sector partners, the Awards have continually grown in impact since their inception — today reaching and promoting hundreds of female role models in digital studies and careers around the world.

The Ada Awards are an initiative of Brussels-based Digital Leadership Institute in partnership with the Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS), Digital Europe and European SchoolNet. They are an official pledge to the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition in Europe. The Digital Leadership Institute is a Brussels-based think tank whose mission is to promote inclusive digital transformation.

Nuria Oliver, winner of the 2016 European Digital Woman of the Year Award, has said that ‘digital disruption risks exacerbating the lack of diversity in tech, but also holds promise for positive change. Oliver observed that ‘The percentage of girls and women in technology in most Western countries is simply not acceptable. But in the future, we will only be able to address problems like global warming and the ageing population with the help of technology. So we need all our diverse human capital on board: to optimise innovation potential and to increase our chances of success in these important fields.’ Click here to access the website of the European Ada Awards.

Digital Girls European Partners

  (The Netherlands)

Dona Daria is an expertise centre for emancipation in Rotterdam. It was established in 2006 through a merge of six organisations with different cultural roots. Themes of expertise are participation, self-determination, domestic violence, health issues and integration of disadvantaged groups, including migrants.

  (The Netherlands)

Inthecity Project Development is a creative multimedia agency. Its team of ‘digital storytellers’ incorporates recognised and proven expertise in filmmaking, animation, web design and development, event video production, and social media. The company’s specialisation is in discovering diverse real-life experiences and bringing the stories to life so they can reach a wide audience with the original message and spirit of the experience. Website:

  (The Netherlands)

Pressure Line is a full-service communication agency, established in 1997. Core competencies are development of communication and dissemination strategies, research and marketing, creation of corporate identities, web design, multimedia projects, developing and designing of learning materials. Pressure Line works for governmental organisations, regional and local authorities, educational and cultural institutions and welfare organisations. Website:


KU TU Ltd is a marketing and communications agency and consultancy, focused on the development of attractive marketing, communication and educational products for a wide variety of organisations and sectors. KU TU has promoted and/or participated in over 20 European cooperation projects and networks providing education and inclusion opportunities in the fields of language teaching and learning, providing learning opportunities for young people, integration of migrants, active citizenship, promotion of tolerance, anti-discrimination and inclusion of marginalised groups, facilitating access and inclusion on the labour market, etc.


Theatre for Change – Performance, Training, Participation

Smashing Times is a professional theatre and film company involved in performance, training and participation. The work is underpinned by a rights-based approach and a commitment to artistic excellence and social engagement. Website:

 (Czech Republic)

AKLUB Centre of education and counselling is an educational and not-for-profit organisation, respected and highly appreciated in the Czech Republic for educational services and for developing educational and integration programs and products. 


Social Youth Development KANE creates projects and structures for youth, to provide educational and training opportunities for young people and professionals and promote the value of education and training. The organisation aims at fighting discrimination, fostering intercultural and social development, and promoting social inclusion and equality, particularly for young people.


EURORESO is a network that involves 49 partners from 28 different European countries. Its membership includes partners from the whole of Europe with wide experience and proven expertise in vocational education and training in all industrial sectors. One of the main purposes of the association is the dissemination of projects and valorisation of their results and products. Website:

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use, which may be made of the information contained therein.

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