Inhabiting the Hack

Full details of this programme of hack events is now available at

  • The CCN+ is working with a range of creative organizations on questions around laboured prototyping, material innovation, lived coding, wreck culture, non-imagined creativity and imposed smartness. Following an 18 month digital ethnography into hack culture, it has become apparent that these are the methods, materials, processes and presumptions that are routinely negated or dismissed in contemporary hack culture, in innovation or design labs, and in the appropriation of fast innovation into other areas. We have found that hack events and digital labs are places where a number of disjunctures are made invisible, as outlined below:
  • Play hides work (and worker’s rights e.g. minimum wage legislation, etc.)
  • Pitches and prizes hide intrinsic value
  • Product focus hides reflections and learning
  • Emphasis on pre-planning and problem solving inhibits exploration
  • Extra-curricular dates/times exclude carers
  • Appropriation of language (hack, retreat, kata, camp, pattern) loses wider cultural significance in translation
  • Focus on the ‘pitch’ as end-product privileges hylomorphic design over material
  • Focus on contemporary digital technology ignores the long history of ancient technology, stretching back to neolithic crafts
  • Creativity as a combination of ideas (as opposed to challenging rules, navigating beyond boundaries)


The following alternative hacks work to reveal these elements while engaging arts organisations with research.

  • Sonic Pattern and the Textility of Code – 17th June 2015 (in partnership with Access Space and the Crafts Council). Developing collaboration between crafters and coders beyond hackathon prototypes into performances.
  • Wrekshop – 18th-19th July 2015. A workshop, led by artist Paul Granjon, with diverse participants taking e-waste apart in order to examine the layers of technology that are usually hidden, and consider the co-evolution of humans and machines.

  • Uncanny Valley – 7th-10th Sept 2015. A two day hack in the rugged Burbage Valley in the Peak District, hacking in nature, exploring the role of sensors and data in responding to the environment. In collaboration with Lovebytes.
  • Digital Media Labs – 25th-30th Sept 2015. Working with the organisers of their third Digital Media Lab, bringing artists together from across the North of England to Barrow-in-Furness, to learn from each other and develop their practices together. In collaboration with Digital Media Labs and co-funded with Arts Council England.
  • Rewriting the hack  – 21st-22nd Nov 2015. A two-day event held in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, developing historical and contemporary view on the role of women in industry, as post-industrial cities rebrand themselves as digital cities. In collaboration with Shelly Knotts (University of Durham) and Suzy O’Hara (CRUMB, University of Sunderland).

  • Creative Labs – 3rd Nov 2015, at the Open Data Institute (ODI) Summit, London, will involve hacking, workshops, presentations and performances. The Creative Labs will showcase the diversity of open, digital arts, and will include work developed during the Inhabiting the Hack project. An ODI event curated by Alex McLean.