Happenstance

2012

Happenstance

Happenstance was a digital R&D project aiming to change the way arts organisations use technology.

Six technology residencies happened simultaneously in three organisations: Lighthouse in Brighton, Site Gallery in Sheffield and Spike Island in Bristol.

I was a resident at the Lighthouse alongside James Bridle. Together we've built Offbott, a journal tool for teams.

The Happenstance project wasn't about delivering products or tools however, but about creating a clash between the bureaucratic nature of the arts sector and the supposedly free-thinking and rebellious world of tech, ultimately resulting in a change of culture within the host organisation. "Thinking digital by default" mantra was mentioned more than once in many discussions preceeding the project. And during. And afterwards, too.

To inject a little bit of the hacker mentality, and gain trust I needed to feel comfortable making suggestions, I ran lunchtime coding workshops. It made me realise that all ingredients of change were already there, just waiting for an opportunity to come out. I added the final push of banning all internal email under the guise of implementing some Agile methodology, and asked everyone to discuss work matters face-to-face. I am still amazed they've agreed.

See also: Offbot, Friday Code Club and Audience.

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