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Culture Hack East

Culture Hack East was launched in November 2011 with a programme of events bringing local cultural organisations together with developers and technologists to create paper and digital prototypes, new collaborations and ideas. Caper, in partnership with Creative Front Cambridgeshire and the Cultures of the Digital Economy Research Institute at Anglia Ruskin University, and with support from Arts Council England, developed a strategy and implementation plan for Culture Hack East, from 2011 into 2014. On Tuesday 8th November 2011 the Culture Hack East: Kick Off event took place at The Junction, Cambridge.  The evening began with an opening presentation from the BBC’s Bill Thompson followed by a brief Q&A panel session, breakout groups ,a round up from Andrew Nairne (Kettle's Yard Gallery) and concluded with networking reception.  Achieving a fantastic attendance, the purpose of the event was to introduce the concept of Culture Hacking to Arts and Culture Organisations to find out how they can share data, collaborate better, be innovative and engage our audiences effectively through digital.  


Culture Hack East returned and was organised in collaboration with Creative Front, and took place on 16th-17th June 2012 at Anglia Ruskin University’s Cambridge Campus.  With around 100 attendees, participants were challenged to make innovative new culture-related products in just 36 hours.

The day kicked off with arts organisations introducing their data before the teams got to work. There were also talks from inspiring speakers including Dr Robert Mullins, co-founder and trustee of Raspberry Pi; the incredible credit-card sized computers developed by Cambridge local (and world-famous) organisation. At the end of the 36 hours, the hacks were presented and judged. Creative and often surprising, they included audio visualisations of tweets and a Shakespearean eBay. Saturday night retro gaming entertainment was supplied by the Centre for Computing History.

Read the Storify

Selected Prototypes were;

Proms Audio Visual Data Hack By Alistair MacDonald – @alistair, Leigh Garland – @toychickenFOLLOWS, Andrew Downs – @andrewd23wk, and others

Ulyssize By Stef Lewandowski and Rachel Coldicutt

Tales You Win By Stef Lewandowski

Junction Kids By Harry Harrold – @harryharrold

Firstsite-Goldrush By Gary Aston – @madebysplendid, and Diogo Neves – @DiogoSnows



In February 2013 a Culture Hack East Ideas Lab event was held at Anglia Ruskin University. The two day event brought together cultural organisations, technologists, designers and developers to experiment with rapid ideas generation and the opportunity to win some funding to develop those ideas further. More than 30, including Hoipolloi, The Junction, Wysing Arts Centre, ADeC, CRASSH, Cambridgeshire County Council, Tribal Labs and Stride Design gathered together to participate.

User journeys were created, paper prototypes developed and ideas pitched to the panel, which consisted of Georgia Ward (Arts Council), Zoe Svendsen (Metis Arts), Rachel Drury (Arts Policy Researcher in Residence, University of Cambridge), and Daniel Jones (Erase). The two projects below were then selected to receive development bursaries of £2,500 each to take their ideas beyond paper prototypes to the digital stage.

Selected Prototypes were;

Art Buddies by SpecialmovesParrabbolaDanceDigital and firstsite

Wall of Cambridge Archaeology app by Dr Chris Wingfield (University of Cambridge’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology) and Billy Gibson (Atlas Live)

The event was run in partnership with Creative Front and CoDE at Anglia Ruskin University, with support from the Arts Council


Introducing the new Culture Hack Data and the Culture Hack Toolkit.

Culture Hack Data is a new online repository signposting some of the most useful, hackable open cultural data Culture Hack East has found.  They wanted to make it easier to discover data and providers; if you know of a good-quality data source that should be added, there’s more detail here.

Culture Hack East has also created the Culture Hack Toolkit- a useful guide to producing your own digital prototyping programme; available to download for free. It includes examples of different models of Culture Hack events, practical tips and external resources.

Culture Hack is a non-profit CIC (Community Interest Company) run by Caper. All money raised for Culture Hack goes back into the programme.



  • Caper
  • Arts Council England
  • coDE

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