Leeds Testing Atelier V

We did it again. Another punk, free, independent Leeds Testing Atelier happened on the 17th October 2017. Thats number five for those of you counting wristbands.

The technology sector in Leeds grows constantly, with big companies like Sky and Skybet having a massive presence in the city. However, Leeds has always had a strong DIY scene for music and the arts, we want to maintain that in our tech scene too. This is what we hope will make us and keep us different. Our venue is a place where other groups meet, to make music, discuss social issues or advocate for the environment. To be part of that community matches our mission and our hopes for tech in Leeds. There have been other blogs inspired by the day, so we will reflect on some of the positives we encountered and challenges experienced.


  • We had 3 brand new speakers on show. Chris Warren, Jenny Gwilliam and Richie Lee were all doing their very first public talk. Chris was even doing his first public talk on his first attendance at any public conference! Giving first time speakers a chance is part of our ethos and we don’t see it as taking a chance, its very much giving everyone a platform regardless of experience. More people sharing stories enriches the community itself with greater understanding, plus its always nice to know someone has faced or is facing similar challenges to you.
  • Many testing conferences address the testing that testers do. This is a great thing. As a craft, we need a place to sharpen our craft with likeminded professionals. However, this testing is only a part of the testing world. On this note we actively encourage developers to attend and talk about the testing they do. At each Atelier we’ve invited developers to discuss testing (and even their frustrations with testers) so it was great to see Andy Stewart and Luke Bonnacorsi talking about testing from another perspective, as well as Joe Swan and Joe Stead on the Test Automation Pyramid panel.
  • The ace thing about the testing community is that there is always a new testing tool, technique or workshops to try out. One such workshop is the Four Hour Tester by Helena Jeret-Mäe and Joep Schuurkes. We wanted to share this with the community present so we thought lets select a subset of the exercises within and get everyone on their feet, thinking and performing tests. Hopefully a few of those in attendance are inspired to find out a bit more about the Four Hour Tester and try it out at their organisations.


  • At the Atelier we strive for diversity in our speakers and panelists, we pride ourselves as a safe space for anyone to speak. 4 of 9 speakers and 3 of 8 panelists were women, of all speakers and panelists one was from a non white ethnicity. While there are many measures of diversity, we know we can always do better, challenge cultural biases and create a conference programme of experiences from all parts of the community.
  • We had a few submissions from further afield this time. Rosie Hamilton travelled from Newcastle to speak. This is a really gratifying indicator of the reach of the Testing Atelier. It does present a challenge as a free event though. Our ability to pay expenses is very limited, in fact Rosie stayed at Gwen and Ash’s house, her company helped with the rest. Not everyone who has a story to tell has a supporting organisation behind them, often the opposite. Much for us to ponder there.
  • Terrifying news everyone. Our resident Norwegian hipster artiste, Fredrik Seiness is moving back to Norge to feast in the icy halls there. We will miss his artistry, t-shirts, weird remarks, focus on diversity and knowledge of where Nick probably is when he won’t answer his messages. To be fair Fred will still visit for each Atelier, tell us we are doing it wrong and that its not like the olden days. However as Fred departs, a fitter, stronger, faster model immediately takes his place. Welcome to the Atelier Richie Lee! 

The organisers who make this happen are Gwen Diagram, Nick Judge, Fredrik Seiness, Sophie Jackson Lee, Stephen Mounsey, Richie Lee, Markus Albrecht and Ash Winter. With a nod to Ritch Partridge as always. We give our time freely to make the Atelier a success. 

We are always looking for speakers, workshoppers and panelists. For example, there was an attendee who tested boats there for a living. Like, on the sea type boats. One of the tests was to set the onboard hardware ON FIRE to see how resilient it was. So talking next time. If you would like to talk, please submit your idea here:

We’ll end with a thank you to all. Attendees, speakers, panelists, sponsors, Jon the media person, Wharf, Felix and Eleanor. All approached the day with enthusiasm and an open mind.

Ash, on behalf of the Atelier Gang.