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Beyond boy’s toys: Women, play and Mindstorms™ Robotics

Poremba, Cindy (2003) Beyond boy’s toys: Women, play and Mindstorms™ Robotics. In: Life by Design: Everyday Digital Culture Symposium, 10-12 Apr 2003, Surrey, Canada.

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Abstract

The LEGO® MindStorms™ Robotics Invention System is
increasingly used by adults for both serious prototyping
and creative play. What is particularly interesting about the
MindStorms™ system is that it offers women the
opportunity to participate in an embodied computing
environment that supports women-friendly programming
concepts such as Constructionism and bricolage. So where
are the female hobbyists and artists? This paper argues for
the development of a feminine/feminist MindStorms™
robotics practice that subverts the male agency of the
product and creates a dialogue surrounding women and
robotic play. Using a toy for expression and discourse is a
political act: a reclaiming of play time and space for
women, and an affirmation of a programming style that
rejects dualisms and situates women in the programming
experience. This paper will argue the mechanics and
cultural space surrounding the MindStorms™ system make
it a particularly interesting subject for theorizing and
encouraging discourse surrounding women’s relationships
to robotics and play. It also presents several ongoing
projects by the author that explore the idea of subverting
the cultural space surrounding MindStorms™ robotics.

Item Type: Conference/Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2017 20:02
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2017 17:40
URI: http://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/1398

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