Appy days – Brighton’s festival is not just for the digerati


It’s almost  tecchie time!


The Brighton Digital Festival will receive £173,000 of funding over the next two years.

It will be supported  by public funding through Arts Council England’s Grants for the arts programme, which will provide management, coordination and marketing for two years. It will also fund the two-year appointment of a new festival director, Jesse Black Mooney.

Ms Mooney was the co-ordinator of last year’ event which  featured more than 170 events pulling 40,000 people.

This  year a number of commissions are up for grabs through the Grassroots Fund – the organiser is offering ten awards of £500, to go towards independently organised events that celebrate digital arts and culture. The deadline for applications  at is July 4.

For many people who do not move in digerati circles, the knee-jerk reaction is to dismiss the festival as a bunch of techies getting together to produce a series of baffling and self-indulgent events. Left to the aficionados that is exactly what would happen – which is as many people as possible should get involved and make the festival a true reflection of the city’s talents. From school projects to senior citizen organizations, anarcho-syndicalist movements to faith groups, nobody is untouched by the phenomenal development of digital technology. If the bells and whistles are harnessed to solve  practical and urgent problems – such as how to find meaningful employment for our under-employed highly qualified young people – the results will be worth shouting about.

I would like to see a focus on the implications for privacy and politics of the spread of digital technology. Much has been made in some sections of the media of the supposedly sinister spread of the secret state’s tentacles. But the many words written on the subject have failed to stir a broad public reaction. The Brighton Digital Festival should examine and explain this disconnect.

The festival is one example of how the Victorian’s favourite bathing spot is at the cutting edge of modern life.

It is up to us all to make it a world-beating success.