Pixelache Network is an international network of cultural organizations engaging with art, technology and social change. Access Space is the UK hub of Pixelache Network. From 2013-2015 Access Space collaborated with other Pixelache Network nodes on the larger EU Grundtvig supported project Open Sourcing Festivals. Apart from sending representatives to project partner organizations Access Space also hosted artists, curators and cultural producers from Finland, France, Iceland and Norway who visited Sheffield for the first time. The project concluded with Do It Anyway Festival, the first digital arts festival at Access Space, in May 2015.
How does an organisation open-source their cultural festival? Can we share the process for organising a festival, so that other groups can use it themselves?
How do organisations support activities and events throughout the year? Can we share the process for sustaining ongoing programs, so that other groups can do this too?
These were the questions that five experimental art, design and technology organisations from the Pixelache Network were asking themselves and others, and exploring, through a mobile circuit of workshops and seminars organized across Europe during 2013-2015. The common objective was to co-produce a digital culture festival together through seven learning steps, taking place in the different partner countries.
In the process, Piksel (NO), Pikslaverk (IS), Mal au Pixel (FR) and Pixelache (FI) were gradually working towards ‘open-sourcing’ their festival skills and tools to provide them to their UK partner Access Space, who tested and utilised them in organising their first digital culture festival, the closing event of this two year cycle. It was hoped this test implementation would refine our materials which have now been released for others to use and build upon. Meanwhile, Access Space Network have shared their approach to providing a contunuing programme of openness – helping its partners to provide opportunities to learn, create and participate throughout the year. We were keen to capture the knowledge embodied in our respective workshops and festival production, and to share this with a broader range of users.
The Open Source DIY Festival Making Kit is a available here.
The starting point for Open Learning Steps and Open-sourcing Festivals was the context of experimental art, design and technology, and the role of organisations in this field in supporting open learning processes. Open Source and Free/Libre culture, spreading from software and hardware, to urban space and organisational issues, unites the partners; however the different node-organisations also bring together a variety of specialisms.