On a warm July afternoon a bunch of digifest enthusiasts got together for our latest community planning meeting. It was really fantastic to see so many faces, some veterans of digifest and some who’ve just joined us.
There was massive range of topics discussed and some great ideas, too many to list but I’ll try to give you a flavour of them. Some of the ideas for sessions we had included:
- A maker session with 3D printing, possibly joining up with other hackspaces and makerspaces
- The tech industry and employability, maybe running a session with UCLU Business Society and UCL Careers
- virtual experiments in medicine, engineering and beyond
- Language learning through social media as well as tools like Memrise, Duolingo, and Live Mocha
Another area we were focusing on was evaluation and feedback. How do we know if people are enjoying digifest and what they’re getting from it without sending out hundreds of surveys no one likes to complete? As well as discussing how to gather feedback we also talked about what it is we want to actually want evaluate: the festival overall? How well we’re building a community? How people change the way they do things after digifest? Individual sessions? Once again we had some really interesting and innovative ideas, often based around the theme ”Fisher Price for adults’:
- We’ve already got the VoxBox team on-board, isn’t it pretty! (powered by Engduinos which we also want to run a session on)
- A crowd sourced Spotify playlist – we’ll ask people to describe sessions with a song
- Monitoring social media channels
- A feedback photo booth
- Could we turn our big red bus into a whiteboard?
- Fridge magnets feedback
- 3D printing tweets or other responses
- Heard Words, machines dictated feedback on to reams of paper
- Digital guest book
You can find much more detail and all of the other things we discussed in the minutes available on the Google+ planning group.
We had a really useful session on the 17th of June and digifest is now really starting to take shape! Once again we had some fab ideas for sessions. One of the most interesting suggestions was to get in contact with the team behind the Engduinos and see if they’d run a session with us. UCL being what it is, some of our academics wanted to build on the great work being done with Arduinos and the Raspberry Pi and make devices like those even better and even more accessible to beginners and so the Engduino was born. We thought maybe we could involve the UCL Academy in this too, all very exciting.
Another big topic of discussion was copyright, creative commons, and open resources. We talked about the importance of copyright in research, how to navigate copyright and IP as a user, the pros/cons of different licensing systems (CC, GNU, etc). All of this lead us onto the idea of running a session around open source software, which would include some of these issues but also give the participants something practical like new tools and pieces of software to use.
All that talk of licensing got us thinking about digital things and the law, and ethics more generally. Particularly the role social media played in Arab Spring and, even closer to home, its use for organising student and other kinds of activism in the UK. It was also widely used in the both the riots of 2011 and the subsequent clean up effort by the #riotwombles, exemplifying the opportunity these tools provide to do good but also the ways in which they can be abused.
From there we chatted about digital art and getting in contact with some of the creative people over at the Slade to show off some of the incredible work they’re doing. One of the people we contacted wasn’t keen on joining the G+ community we’d been using due to privacy concerns and this sparked another lively debate about people’s digital footprint and right to be forgotten. One idea was to air our digital dirty laundry by getting people to display their online footprint on a washing line.
Then we discussed how we were going to promote our amazing festival. Projections onto buildings, video diaries, social media campaigns, pop up events, posters, branded beer mats were just some of the ideas we had. But what would be put on these branded beermats? We need a logo! We pondered what our logo should be and represent; should it be in four colours to represent the four themes? Would that look a little too much like Google or Microsoft? The questions and debates were endless so we decided the best way to proceed would be have a competition. Everyone tinkering and making their own designs (very much in the spirit digifest!) and then the community voting on the one the liked best. We had a ton of entries, some a little whacky and some a little more sombre. Have a look at all the entries below, did we make the right choice? Let us know in the comments.
As you can see it was a really packed session, and we haven’t mentioned the talks on surveillance, Jeremy Bentham, digital death, gender in social media, digital health, crowd sourcing we had too! To find out about those, have a look at the minutes on our G+ community. We’d love to see you at our next planning meeting. So join the conversation and join our newsletter or G+ group to find out more.