Conscious Code

***Blackspace is not offering Conscious Code WokeShops during the Fall 2022 Semester. See an archive of our Conscious Code WokeShops from previous years below, and stay tuned for more in the future.***


“C Block” was a five-day program from July 16 – 20, 2018 that educated, informed, and inspired young women in the fields of coding, cyber security, cryptography and blockchain technology. This week-long intensive and intentional program incorporated guest speakers, both local and virtual, and carries the theme of creating conscious, thoughtful, aware citizens. The program impacted our community and addressed the need for diversity and women in emerging technologies such as coding and cybersecurity. View full photo album here!

Field Trip to Red Hat

Meet the Teachers!

Ashley Ellis-Pierce is an Application Engineer at GitHub. She enjoys helping others learn to code and is the lead organizer for RailsBridge Triangle and a mentor for Code the Dream, an organization that helps minority and immigrant youth break into tech. Her favorite programming languages are Ruby and Elixir.

Nesha Brently is a Full-Stack Developer with a background in MIS and Supply Chain. I tutor because it opens up an opportunity for genuine and effective knowledge transfer. I’m challenged to provide solutions for learners to improve their overall value in society.

C-Block is a collaboration between Blackspace and Project Bitmobile and was organized in collaboration with Jen Hill. Her goal is to contribute to the field of blockchain technology by informing, inspiring, and empowering those typically marginalized in tech spaces. If you have questions, please email Jen Hill at [email protected] or call her at 919-864-0293.

CONSCIOUS CODE | 3D Printing (2017)

In 2017 our Conscious Code program centered around 3D printing and open source computer programming. Learn more here:

Blackspace developed a 3D-printing conscious code workshop with the Homeschoolers of Color from the Piedmont of North Carolina.

Workshop Partners


Homeschoolers of Color

Triangle Ecycling

The Carrack Modern Art

Workshop Facilitators

Luke Demarest is a visual artist and computer programmer.
He has an active artist practice and is Blackspace’s 3D-printing program manager.
He has worked as a web engineer for Rosetta Stone,
as an artist-in-residence at the American Underground – a Google for Entrepreneurs Tech Hub – and
as principal studio assistant for the Mountain Lake Workshop – a
collaborative workshop nurtured by the belief that genuine art
and culture can develop from any situation in which there are
shared experiences.
Luke is a member of the HacDC 3D-printing group and is an active supporter of free culture and free software.

Pierce Freelon is a musician, professor and social entrepreneur.
He is the creator of Blackspace – a digital makerspace based in Durham, North Carolina – and
the co-founder of the Emmy-award winning PBS web-series Beat Making Lab.
He has taught in the Department of African, African American and Diaspora Studies at UNC Chapel Hill
and is the front-man of the jazz/hip hop quartet The Beast.

Conscious Code

We aimed to develop a dialog about what it means to be a human and a citizen in the changing landscape of our city, state, and country. This workshop was a humanities-centric introduction to 3D-printing and computer programming, serving as a gateway to computer literacy. The result was afronauts that have a deeper understanding of their individuality, their commonality and a new ability to think creatively through code.The workshop culminated in an exhibition of 3D printed sculptures by students at The Carrack Modern Art in downtown Durham, North Carolina.

To teach programming, we created a custom blackspace version of, an open-source modeling framework which take’s a programmers approach to developing 3D models in JavaScript.
Through this software we learned JavaScript and introduced key programming and internet concepts that students could build upon, not just in the 3D-printing context. Triangle Ecycling made conscious code possible by donating computers to every student free of charge. We also earned two educators scholarships to Duke University’s Construct3D conference for educators teaching 3D Printing.
Highlights of the Conscious Code wokeshop are pictured below.

Workshop + Exhibition Locations

212 W Main St
Durham, NC 27701
United States of America

The Carrack Modern Art
947 E Main St
Durham, NC 27701
United States of America


In 2016, Blackspace teamed up with NC State’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Design Center on a conscious coding program. We basically hacked into a 3-foot Darth Vader. We developed a mobile app, which allowed us to pitch down our voices to James Earl Jones-level and speak from our hacked Vader bot. We debuted Blackspace Vader at Moogfest that summer, during a beat making and coding demo. Basically, we took youth from Durham, to a galaxy far, far away with the help of some NC State students. Our app was designed to connect Blackspace kids with youth around the world, so we could share music and ideas through these Darth-vader robots.

The International Darth Vader is a global education tool for students to share music, ideas, and inspire creativity. This product is designed to increase communication between international classrooms and break the isolation of creativity. It will help inspire students to take part in media education and creation, which in turn will help them develop and succeed. Click here to read our design specs.

Meet the design team! Design Sponsor Pierce Freelon, Technical Mentor Bobby Compton, Design Team: Christopher Woedy, Rachel Williams, Logan Adams and Anthony Gill. Darth Vader himself is on the far right.