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A Day in the Life of digital artist Gemma May Latham

Minecraft, digital coding and Bridget Jones

Digital artist Gemma May Latham(Image: UGC)

Name: Gemma May Latham

Job: Digital artist and workshop facilitator

Where were you born: Wythenshawe but grew up in Middlewich

Where do you live now: Northwich

Education: Middlewich High School, Sir John Deane’s College, Manchester Metropolitan University MMU BA (Hons) Fashion Design & Technology , MA Design

Family life: Separated with two boys Barney, 10 and Finlay, 8

Gemma's son's Finlay and Barney(Image: UGC)

I am one of those people who presses the snooze button on my alarm clock for ages because I hate getting up.

As it’s the school summer holidays, there is a lot of childcare juggling – half of the week the boys spend with their dad and the other half with me and my mum

Christine is a huge help when I am out giving workshops.

The boys are at the age where they are starting to sleep in, so mum comes over to our house which makes it easier.

At the moment I am running Minecraft or Patterncraft workshops all over Cheshire East as part of the Shift programme which celebrates everything digital in the borough.

A child using Patterncraft to encrypt messages(Image: UGC)

A lot of them happen in libraries so one day I will be in Disley, the next Alsager and the next in Nantwich.

My work is based on digital coding, encryption and programming so I have a very messy car with a gigantic suitcase in the back containing PiTop computers (using Raspberry Pis), keyboards, mice, pattern punchcards and worksheets.

At the moment, I am working on special Patterncraft workshops, based on the work of Alan Turing, which are also part of Heritage Open Days at Tatton Park and during the Knutsford Promenades.

It’s been really interesting learning more about the man behind the illustrious Enigma machine – and the workshops will be a very hands-on way of learning more about binary, coding and using punch cards to encrypt messages.

Gemma working on a Minecraft project in Crewe Library(Image: UGC)

If I am lucky, in between workshops I grab a bite to eat which is usually a sandwich I have brought with me.

I finish at about 4pm in the holidays and head home where I will try and have tea with the boys and sometimes my mum.

I would love to say that I then do something really exciting with Barney and Finlay but very often I am back at the computer, catching up with emails.

We do try and watch some telly together but tonight I have to tweak some code for the Turing workshop, which will be a great challenge.

To find out more about Gemma’s Pattencraft and Minecraft Workshops visit www.shift-digital.co.uk.

(Image: UGC)

What do you wear to do your job? Very casual clothes. Being an artist is much more physical than people would expect so I like to be comfortable.

What is the favourite part of your job? I love working with young people and love it when I witness a child getting excited about cracking a code.

What is the least favourite part of your job? Setting up and getting hot and sweaty.

What would be your dream job if you weren’t doing what you do now? I would like to have been an engineer. I am not sure what kind but I realise now how my brain works and I love solving problems.

How do you relax when you are not working? I think I have forgotten how to relax and my work has sort of become my hobby. I am quite a geek really and in my spare time I go to coding events.

What is your favourite film? Empire Records - a 90s cheesy teenage film.

What is your favourite book? I am not a big reader, besides technical and coding books and the last novel I enjoyed was Bridget Jones’ diary.

What is your favourite song? Love Shack by the B-52s.

If a film was made of your life, who would you like to play you? Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones because I am almost as clumsy as her.

Have you had your 15 minutes of fame yet? When I was about eight I danced with the Yvonne’s School of Dancing in Crewe. We performed on the stage of the Dominion Theatre in London and I was chosen for the finale and had to lead on Nellie the Elephant and wave.

We want to hear from people from all walks of life – to take part, email leah.jones@trinitymirror.com.

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