The first CO.LAB


Boston was the first intellectual capital of the United States, open to influences from all over the world, with a strong tradition of free speech, support for the arts, scientific inquiry, and open debate. Some things never change.


Connecting through collaboration

CO.LAB teaches students how to work together to solve problems, encounter new ideas, and create something entirely new out of a shared experience.

Collaboration is a powerful driver of innovation and discovery, and open source methodology is a key part of STEAM education. So we’re hoping to empower young women with collaborative skills that will help them succeed in their pursuit of science, technology, engineering and math careers.



Students began by building, programming, and learning how to operate their Raspberry Pi digital cameras. After that, they read and discuss and arrive at a shared understanding of a poem dealing with themes of community and finding one’s place in the world.



After learning some basics of photography and visual storytelling, the girls journeyed through their neighborhoods–finding inspiration, shooting photos, and forming stories based on the poem they had discussed.



Finally, the cohort returned to CO.LAB and, in an open process, collectively culled and curated their photos to create an exhibition that told the story of their overall experience.

What did we learn?

Working together works best

After getting to know one another, building and coding our own digital cameras, learning a few photography basics, and being introduced to Emily Dickinson and her poem, "Hope is the thing with feathers," we explored Boston in search of images that we could use to make her poem our own.

It took patience and openness to find what we needed, but once we did we were able to break the poem down into pieces and choose our favorite pictures for each passage. No one knew for sure what the final piece was going to look like until all of our choices were made and stitched together into our final exhibit.

We hope the people in Boston who get to see it will enjoy it. We had fun making it.

The Exhibit

Hope is a thing with feathers

Technology is only one part of the CO.LAB experience. Some of the most challenging and enriching moments come when creating the final exhibit.

The CO.LAB Boston work was exhibited publicly as a video installation across the city and as fine art prints hung in City Hall. 

Beyond CO.LAB

Big change through small, meaningful steps

CO.LAB introduces middle school girls to the principles of open source—and to a world of technology and collaboration that they may not have otherwise considered.

Red Hat is committed to diversity and inclusion in the technology industry because openness and broad participation feeds creativity and innovation. The best idea can come from anyone, so we make sure everyone has a chance to contribute.

CO.LAB is just one of the ways Red Hat demonstrates the transformative power of people working together.

Open source is like sharing recipes

Whether it’s baking a batch of cookies, or coding a digital camera you made yourself, learning how to do something is only possible when other people share their expertise and advice.

Our collaborators

The open source way

Open source is more than just a way to create software. It's about building things without limitations. And it's about forming new communities without boundaries.

At Red Hat, we're committed to showing what people can do when they make things in the open. Because when we share, we thrive.