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Robyn wants to get more women into technology

Robyn och KTH arrangerar teknikfestival_liten
Paulina Modlitba Söderlund (Tekla project leader), Robyn and Sophia Hober (KTH Dean). Photo: Sara Arnald.

She’s a kick-ass performer, and great songwriter. But that’s not all. Robin Mariam Carlsson—aka Robyn—is becoming a fantastic ambassador for technology.

It would be fair to speculate that technology has for a long time been an inspiration to the Swedish pop star, if not one of her muses. Robyn has sung about it. She uses it to express herself in ways that are sometimes awe-inspiring. Plus, her interest in what students are doing at Stockholm’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology is well-documented.

But above all, Robyn gets technology. She gets that it’s not an end in and of itself, but a way of making things happen. It’s a creative discipline. Just like the KTH motto says: “Science and Art”. It’s one thing to be technologically competent, but it’s quite another to be technologically creative.

That’s a perspective of technology that isn’t often presented to young people, and it’s one that should be if technology schools like KTH are going to succeed in balancing the gender disparity in their enrollment. We need to start that process early on, and we need creative ambassadors to do it.

That’s where Robyn comes in.

She says that when she was awarded the KTH Great Prize in 2013, she received the mandate to hold a seminar at the university. Robyn gladly accepted the task, but instead of targeting university students, she’s aiming at girls 11 to 18.

“I thought of KTH’s motto, ‘Science and Art’, and wanted to do something to inspire girls who are curious about technology, while at the same time highlighting that too few women are applying to KTH programs,” Robyn says. “Tekla is a festival for girls, in which they get to sample different areas of future technology in what I believe will be a fun and imaginative environment.”

Tekla is about combining technology and creativity. It’s about creating a setting where girls can be inspired and discover new interests. The festival offers something for all students, whether they’re science newbies or hardcore nerds. There will be workshops with motivational speakers; and to top it off, Robyn will give a performance, along with Stockholm favorites, Zhala and DJ Lap See.

The whole thing begins at 8:30 a.m., April 18 and ends at 8 p.m. Tekla is organized by KTH and Robyn, with Spotify, Paradox Interactive, Google and Valtech as partners. Tekla is also supported by the organization Popkollo, a volunteer-based organization which runs a music camp for girls.

Check out the website and watch a video message from Robyn:

David Callahan

David Callahan is editor for international news and media at KTH Royal Institute of Technology.