What is Culture Hack?

Culture Hack is a digital development programme for arts and culture that enables the creation of innovative digital prototypes and creates new working relationships across the arts, technology and the creative industries.

Founded in January 2011, Culture Hack is a not-for-profit enterprise, run by Sync in Scotland and Caper everywhere else.

The original Culture Hack was inspired by the Hack Day format (pioneered by Yahoo!) in which teams of software developers create fast digital prototypes over 24-48 hours.

At an initial first ‘hackathon’ in London in 2011, 80 developers and designers worked with data from arts and cultural organisations including Royal Opera House, National Maritime Museum, UK Film Council, Crafts Council, and The Guardian, to create over 30 digital prototypes.

Since the first event, Culture Hack has grown into a digital development programme – no longer simply about one-off hacks, each Culture Hack programme now lasts for between 6 to 12 months.

Who Takes Part?

So far, over 100 arts organisations and more than 300 artists, creatives and developers have participated in events in the UK and North America, making digital and paper prototypes, forming new collaborative partnerships and devising new kinds of cultural products.

Culture Hack provides a unique opportunity for skills development from whatever discipline you are from, enabling collaborative working, making and sharing.

Participating arts organisations get the benefit of a fast-track development programme that encourages them to understand their data and audiences in new ways. They have the chance to connect with world-class creatives, challenge their preconceptions and collaborate across art forms and geographical divides. It’s a chance to experiment and innovate rather than simply deliver on day-to-day targets and digital plans.

The artists, creatives and developers get the chance to work with inspirational and unique content from some of the world’s foremost cultural organisations – developing and sharing ideas and inspiration with arts leaders, managers and opinion formers.

The programme has delivered corporate benefits to partners including W+K, Google Creative Labs, the BBC, the Guardian and Amazon, and received grant funding from Arts Council England and the Technology Strategy Board.

“Culture Hack is a great opportunity to get a totally different perspective on the resources that we hold. We have since taken forward some of the ideas and have made new contacts and networks that have been instrumental in shaping our digital strategy. We also had a great time in an open, friendly environment where ideas flourished and new networks were formed. Highly recommended.” Fiona Moorhead, Crafts Council @craftscounciluk

“The best thing about Culture Hack Day was seeing how many different organisations are willing to make their data available by building data sets and being collaborative” Bill Thompson, Journalist, BBC @billt