Brighton Digital Festival (BDF) announces its tenth anniversary, a ten-day programme that celebrates the digital culture and its impact on our lives and thinking. The biennial event directed by arts charity Lighthouse is an open-access and community-driven festival with over 50+ activities taking place between 29 October and 7 November 2021.
Offering something for everyone, the festival has a mix of hybrid, in-person and online events ranging from small meetups, workshops and conferences to exhibitions, film installations and immersive audio, visual and VR experiences. Events will explore key issues affecting our daily lives including climate change, the role of digital tech in a pandemic, education and the importance of equal access to the production, consumption and understanding of digital culture.
The festival programme for 2021 has three strands – the Core Programme, BDF Sessions and BDF Open Programme.
The core programme is produced by Lighthouse on behalf of Brighton Digital Festival and comprises five events commissioned by Digital Democracies, and created in partnership with Freedom Festival in Hull and Frequency Festival in Lincoln.
Addressing personal history, race, family and home living, event highlights include Ancestral Wisdom – Ask an Ancestor’. This is an interactive audio installation by Ifeatu Nnaobi that uses artificial intelligence to allow participants to ask their ancestors questions. Its purpose is to get people thinking about how they exist as part of a family and community. Another event is ‘Signals’, a children’s workshop that uses interactive design and games to get kids thinking about historical events.
BDF Sessions delivers a series of five, one-off discussion masterclasses covering a range of topical issues. How can digital be a tool for the circular economy? is one such event on the importance of circular economy and how digital can help us to make the most of these practices.
BDF Open Programme
Reflecting the festival’s roots and core manifesto, the open programme includes a breadth of non-curated, city-led events from all members of the community. Carousel TV, for example, provides a national platform for learning disabled artists to display their creativity. Project Art Works in Hastings presents Ignition – the exhibition at Hastings Contemporary which began as a residency in the main gallery space at Hastings Contemporary during the last national lockdown, with artists working in the temporary studio while the building was closed to visitors. The Project Art Works collective has been nominated for this year’s Turner Prize.
The festival will also see the return of the regular sell-out ‘She Says’ event, hosted by Rifa Thorpe-Tracey of Refigure, it provides an evening of online talks from designer and creativity champion, Meg Fenn and Afrori Books founder Carolynn Bain, to discuss their digital journeys.
With a major focus on circular economy this year, Brighton Digital Festival is also hosting a tech amnesty project, Tech-Takeback, to allow individuals to bring old, disused tech to be cleaned up and sent to charities supporting those in digital poverty. Anyone can bring their old tech to Lighthouse throughout the festival dates, which will be cleaned and updated and given to those in need of equipment throughout the Brighton & Hove areas.
Brighton Digital Festival is grassroots-led, with the creative community of Greater Brighton at its heart. The 2021 programme has been made possible thanks to the support of its 2021 sponsors – Brandwatch, MPB, Uplift, Ironworks Studios, Oban International Brilliant Noise and Plus X Brighton.
To keep up to date with event information and more on the Brighton Digital Festival, visit www.brightondigitalfestival.org.uk or follow @DigitalBrighton on Twitter and @digital_btn on Instagram.