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Brighton Digital Festival delivers month-long digital culture celebration

  • Date: 8 August 2012
  • Area: National, South East
Brighton Mini Maker Faire at Brighton Dome, 2011. The Faire is a free interactive festival of creativity and invention for all ages

Brighton Mini Maker Faire at Brighton Dome, 2011. The Faire is a free interactive festival of creativity and invention for all ages. Credit: Brighton Mini Maker Faire

One of the UK’s most exciting digital festivals will take over Brighton again this September, drawing together leading digital conferences, an innovative education programme, inspiring arts and digital projects and grass-roots events.

Brighton Digital Festival will run from 1 to 30 September, offering over 100 events organised by members of Brighton’s digital and arts communities. The festival is supported for the next two years with a £200,000 Grants for the arts award, co-ordinated by Wired Sussex in association with Lighthouse, an Arts Council England National portfolio organisation.

This funding will:

  • support the festival’s children and young people arts and education programme, which sits at the heart of the festival and aims to support the national curriculum by inspiring young people using digital creativity, and offering teachers new opportunities to learn digital skills
  • fund the part of the digital arts programme, curated by Lighthouse
  • provide coordination and infrastructure for the festival for 2012 and 2013

Last year, over 14,000 people attended more than 40 events in the Festival, which involved 37 key organisers and many hundreds of volunteers. Last year’s events included design conference d-construct, Mini-Maker Faire at the Brighton Dome, and the exhibition Solar Systems at Phoenix Gallery by renowned local digital artists Semiconducter.

This year’s Brighton Digital Festival offers something for everyone, from hack days, digital surgeries and industry events, to sci-fi pub quizzes, visual art and literary happenings – and more.

Event highlights include:

  • David Blandy’s Odysseys exhibition - specially curated for Brighton Digital Festival and presented by Lighthouse and Phoenix Brighton, which includes artist talks, screenings and education workshops
  • Nancy Mauro-Flude’s Error In Time and the launch of e-Permanent, a new online exhibition space from Brighton’s Permanent Gallery, supported with a £18,887 Arts Council England Grants for the arts award
  • PixelPyro -  the festival’s opening event on Sunday 2 September, in which the audience trigger a digital firework display projected onto Jubilee Library.
  • Improving Reality 2012 - Lighthouse’s half-day conference, which playfully and critically looks at how designers, artists, and makers are using various technologies to shift our perceptions of reality
  • The return of last year’s immensely popular Mini Maker Faire, which is free and supported with a Grants for the arts award of over £21,000
  • Adventures in (the) Space - Sarah Pickthall co-curator of PUSH ME and Fabrica are joining forces to create an event that explores the opportunities that digital offers to disabled creatives

Support for Brighton Digital Festival is underpinned by the Arts Council’s Creative Media Policy and reflects our commitment to meeting the recommendations for cultural education as described in the Darren Henley report for Department of Culture, Media and Sport, Cultural education in England: An independent review.

Our Creative Media Policy was  launched in July 2012 and sets out our approach to the development and growth of creative media. It outlines how we will support development by brokering partnerships, supporting digital education work, and investing in projects and organisations that are at the forefront of digital and creative media advancements.

Our investment in the creative economy and digital projects like Brighton Digital Festival sits within a framework of larger investment around digital development and specifically in collaborations between digital and arts through a number of investment streams. We recently announced our £7 million Digital R&D Fund for the Arts. This year has seen the launch of our new digital arts channel The Space and our £200,000 partnership between the Arts Council and BBC Academy called Building digital capacity for the arts, which provides workshops and seminars across England.

Phil Jones, Managing Director, Wired Sussex says: ‘This funding is fantastic news. Brighton Digital Festival is a real grassroots celebration, which has been bringing together the digital, creative, and arts communities’ in the city since 2005. It will enable us to provide coordination, advice and support to all the event organisers and help grow the Festival into a real international success story.

‘This Festival is the result of the passion of Brighton’s digital and artistic community and is a real opportunity to enhance Brighton’s reputation for thinking about technology in new and creative ways,’ concluded Phil Jones.

Sally Abbott, Regional Director, South East, Arts Council England, said: ‘I’m delighted that we are supporting the Brighton Digital Festival for another two years through Arts Council England’s National Lottery-funded Grants for the arts scheme. In the space of a year, the festival has galvanised the arts and digital communities into action and matured into a major event for the digital sector.

‘We are especially pleased to support the Festival’s innovative arts and education programme. The Arts Council has a firm commitment to the digital agenda and the opportunities it brings to artists and arts organisations to present and promote the arts in new and inspiring ways, and we are excited that the Brighton Digital Festival will continue to cement the south east’s reputation as a leader in digital culture.’

Brighton Digital Festival runs from 1 to 30 September 2012 at various venues across Brighton. See their website for more information: www.brightondigitalfestival.co.uk