Ashley Jane Lewis is a 28 year old Interactive Artist, Maker and Youth Tech Educator. In the summer of 2016 she was listed in the Top 100 Black Women to Watch in Canada.
In her undergrad (New Media, BFA at Ryerson University, 2008 – 2012), Ashley designed The Obama Board, a keyboard that swaps the sound of the note with a word from Barack Obama’s inauguration speech. After showcasing the project at the Toronto Mini Maker Faire she was invited to demo the installation at the Detroit Maker Faire for 20,000 people where she won Make Magazine Editor’s Choice and was highlighted on Barack Obama’s website.
As a graduate, Lewis spent over a year leading the ground-up development of Girls Learning Code, a company aimed to encourage more young females to learn technological skills to help close the gender gap in the field. She has designed educational new media content for the TIFF Bell Lightbox including gadget making workshops for the 50 Years of Bond exhibition, coding and robotics programing for the Maker March Break Camp and various ongoing initiatives. For the past two years Ashley has acted as production lead for the feature art installation at the TIFF DigiPlaySpace, Canada’s largest interactive festival for kids.
Ashley’s previous roles have included interning at Kids’ CBC’s Interactive Department, Digital Media Production at TVO, web content for Mozilla and event host for NASA Space Apps, to name a few. In 2014, with a project that inspires kids to read using interactive and collectable story beads, Ashley’s team won Toronto’s Startup Weekend Maker Edition and placed 2nd globally. Lewis has been featured as a Tech Activist in Metro News and has highlighted diverse tech education as a keynote speaker on numerous occasions for audiences at TEDx, FITC, International Women’s Day and Maker Faire.
In 2014 she was profiled in Reader’s Digest for BYTE, a program that provides creative tech workshops for kids of colour, and Spark Makers, her maker culture meets girl guides start up supported by the Transmedia Zone at Ryerson University. Spark Makers was also featured at Google Geek Street’s youth tech festival and has travelled as far as Johannesburg, South Africa to lead workshops at the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival in the summer of 2015. Lewis also currently works at the RTA School of Media as a New Media Specialist at Ryerson University, aiding students in the exploration of art through code, laser cutting and 3D printing.
Ashley Jane Lewis feels honoured to have had the opportunity to help more than 2,000 youth learn how to code to date.