Laura's interests include digital inclusion, community development & education, social design and social enterprise.
Laura developed and delivered Older Voices Online, a digital advocacy course for people over 50. She received funding for Older Voices Online from the Community Foundation for Ireland and ran the course in collaboration with An Cosán in West Tallaght. She also teaches digital skills to people who have been affected by mental health difficulties at Threshold Training Network in Tallaght and is a contract trainer for Camara Ireland.
She is also working on Voidstarter, a project that aims to use vacant housing as temporary learning spaces and entrepreneurship labs. Voidstarter was one of the winners on the 2014 European Social Innovation Competition.
In 2014 Laura moved back to Dublin from Wales, where she had been living for 6 years. During that time she worked on a national digital inclusion initiative for Communities 2.0 and the George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling helping communities in Wales to benefit from getting online and delivering digital inclusion training for community organisations, housing associations and social enterprises. She was co-director of Ark-Lab, a social design agency which works with councils and other organisations on projects around public participation and engagement and the co-design of services. She also organised projects around empty shops, alternative community education and art and cycling as a member of the social design network ThinkARK.
Laura is currently studying for a Certificate in Training and Continuing Education at NUI Maynooth. She has a BSc. in Communications from Dublin Institute of Technology, a B.Des in Production Design from the Institute Of Art, Design and Technology Dun Laoghaire and a City & Guilds Level 3 qualification in Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector. In November 2014 she completed the Menter Iontach Nua/DCU Ryan AcademySocial Enterprise startup program (FETAC Level 6)
Laura loves reading and is always happy to hear other people's book recommendations.
Laura developed the Older Voices Online project because she believes there is a need for older people and marginalised groups to be able to use social media and online tools to make their voices heard. Older Voices Online is a 12 week course that taught participants about the power of social media and how it can be used to create positive change. The course includes teaching practical skills like blogging, using Facebook and Twitter and online graphic design tools, which participants used to run a mini social media campaign on a topic of their choice. The course finished in December 2015 and Laura is currently looking at how it can be developed and scaled. The project has been documented by Laura and the course participants on the Older Voices Online blog.
She also works with Threshold Training Network in Tallaght to help people who have been affected by mental health difficulties learn to use the internet to be better informed, take responsibility for their recovery and to improve their sense of wellbeing. She writes a blog for this class, surfclubtallaght.wordpress.com to help the people she teaches to understand the potential of the internet and how it can be relevant to their needs and interests.
As co-director of Ark-Lab Laura developed and co-ordinated public consultations for local councils, engaging with the public in creative ways and uncovering people's opinions and ideas about local issues.
Laura set up Trade School Cardiff and helped to bring Trade School to Dublin. Trade School is world-wide network that organises local, barter-based opportunities to learn. Anyone can offer to teach a class based on their skills, knowledge or experience in exchange for things that they need. Trade School encourages people to value their own skills and share and learn in an environment of mutual exchange and respect.
There are over 50 Trade Schools running all over the world. Find out more at tradeschool.coop
Laura was one of the organisers of Papergirl Cardiff, an art and cycling event that ran in Cardiff in 2011 and 2012. Papergirl Cardiff was a collaboration between ThinkARK, The Printhaus Print Workshops and Cycle Training Wales
Arkade Empty Shop Project
Laura was the organiser and curator of Arkade, a three day mini-festival in an empty shop in one of Cardiff's Edwardian shopping arcades, which included workshops, performance and film.
Please feel free to get in touch if you have any feedback or would like more information about my work.