The Tekla Festival was first held in 2015 on the initiative of world-famous musical artist Robyn. Two years earlier, Robyn had received the KTH Great Prize for her work. The festival welcomes young women to a day of workshops, lectures and appearances by inspiring female role models in the field of technology.
The Tekla Festival started after KTH Royal Institute of technology (KTH) awarded world-famous musical artist Robyn its Great Prize in 2013. Robyn wanted to use Tekla to inspire girls to take an interest in technology, a historically male-dominated sector. The festival is targeted at girls aged 11 – 15. Tekla aims to amass knowledge and experience of inspiring girls to explore technology. It does this by empowering them to build, create and test in an environment where all roles are open to them.
For its first four years, the festival was held at KTH in central Stockholm. To reach a greater number of technology-oriented girls, Tekla moved to KTH Södertälje in 2019.
In autumn 2018, KTH and the Swedish Institute initiated a collaboration centred on an international launch of Tekla. This involved the Swedish embassy in Washington DC. A further four destinations were visited in autumn 2019 and spring 2020. A final call to South Africa (planned for the spring) was postponed owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Swedish Institute has been assigned the task of reinforcing the international image of our country by setting up dialogues and knowledge exchanges in fields where Sweden is a leader. It does this by, for example, offering Sweden’s worldwide embassies “toolkits” (materials, content and formats) for events and exhibitions that can be held locally. Tekla’s contributions to these toolkits are the Tekla Workshop and the Tekla Dialogue (a panel debate focused on highlighting relevant problems and solutions thereto).
The collaboration with the Swedish Institute and Sweden’s embassies enhances the country’s image and, at the same time, strengthens the KTH brand internationally. Via a fun approach and new, exciting environments, Tekla amasses knowledge and experience of inspiring girls to give technology a try.
Purpose and goal
Tekla aims to offer an environment in which young girls can build, test and create technologically along with female role models. The girls are also offered a platform for discussing: the underrepresentation of women in the technology sector; the structural obstacles they face; the shortage of role models; the technology sector’s values; and, how girls’ and women’s roles and opportunities can be boosted.
One of Tekla’s goals is to get more girls and women interested in the natural sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics. The other is to highlight the problems and thereby contribute to a debate on: challenges within the technology sector; and, how change therein can be achieved.