Monthly Archives: January 2015

Hacks/Hackers Manchester – Contributoria and Quarantine

Openness and participatory media were the broad themes of January’s Hacks/HackersMcr meet-up. What kind of magic happens if you open yourself up to a community of strangers either face-to-face or online? And is there such a thing as a free lunch – in the Northern Quarter, at least?

We were very pleased to welcome Dean Vipond of Contributoria.

“Contributoria is a community funded collaborative platform for journalists launched at the start of 2014 and supported by the Guardian Media Group in the UK. This cheeky short film has been created by illustrator Nic Hinton and animated by @BennyCrime and explains what’s on offer at the online platform. It was first shown at the International Press Institute conference in Johannesburg in January 2014.”


Dean even brought some revolutionary media product called a NEWSPAPER to share out. Hacks/Hackers were fascinated….

Paper copies of Contributoria


There was a very different presentation from artist, Richard Gregory, who talked about his conversation project in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Walk in to the Kabana curry cafe on the right date, and you could get your lunch for free in return for engaging in conversation with the artists. You follow a conversation menu and just see where it takes you. Are there lessons to be learnt as we seek meaningful engagement with online communities?


As always, thanks to Kosmonaut for letting us hijack their basement and apologies to the table tennis players if we encroached on their game….


Hacks/Hackers Manchester – looking forward

2015 New Year celebration with the date outlined by colourful fiery sparklers on a dark New Year's Eve night

Accessed from CC By 3.0

In an attempt to shake off the sluggishness of New Year and all that, I met with my co-organiser, Rob, today to do some coffee-fuelled forward planning for Hacks/HackersMcr. Here are some of the ideas we’re working on. As always, do let us know if you have any suggestions for themes, speakers, events or skill-shares. Spread the word!

  1. Late Feb/March – Hack the Election! There’s an election coming up. (Had you noticed?!) But how could news organisations get younger people interested in politics? Are games, apps, cool tools the answer? We’re going to bring together hackers, games developers, Apps developers, journalists, students to work in informal groups on their own crazy ideas (you don’t have to actually build anything there and then! Just come up with an idea and maybe a few drawings). Then groups get the opportunity to pitch them and vote on a winner!
  2. May – Digital Mapping. Maps can illuminate ideas in all sorts of amazing ways so we want to bring together journalists, technologists, artists, geographers to tell us about the latest ideas for mapping the future. We’re expecting this to be a weekend event to give us a bit longer to play and we hope to arrange some mini-skillshares so you can learn a few new techniques.
  3. Learning Lunches. Bring your Own Lunch and learn a new skill! We’re thinking APIs, regular expressions – anything, really, that falls into the broad hacks/hackers remit. Again, ideas and offers welcome.

There are a few other ideas knocking around as well but these are the main ones we wanted to share with our members. We’re also going to be exploring some new venues so, again, suggestions welcome. Could your organisation offer a space, for example?