British Council Creative Economy

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5 October 2014

The Art of Hacking

Creative Hacks.  What are they?  We asked Joeli Brearley from CultureCode and FutureEverything to produce a guide to help you concoct the perfect hack.

‘Hack events are less of a factory and more of a gym, a playground and a nightclub. It’s a gym since it builds our prototyping and risk-taking muscles, a playground since it gives us a low-risk environment to try some things that are radically new and it’s a nightclub since it allows us to dance with a lot of different people we may not have otherwise met. And who knows, we may just meet the love of our lives.’
Rohan Gunatillake, Culture Hack Scotland.

As Rohan so beautifully puts it, hacks are an opportunity to bring a variety of people together to seek new ways of collaborating, unravel challenges and create unique solutions.

Whether it’s bringing together creative businesses with developers to better investigate their digital offering; opening up data from the cultural sector and asking geeks to explore it; or bringing together scientists, creatives, engineers and philosophers to create a solution to a social issue, hacks are a great model to use.

The British Council has been running Culture Shift, a global hack programme, taking place across Sub-Saharan Africa, Russia and Brazil for the past three years.  Similarly, organisations like CultureCode, Culture Hack, Sync and Snook have all interpreted their own unique and innovative interpretations of hacks.  All of these different models are included in the guide that Joeli and Tom have produced.

Of course, it’s all very well bringing people together to generate ideas, but what happens to those ideas once the excitement of the hack process has worn off?  Much of the genius of the hack is in the process, not the outcome, but to make sure a hack has a real and lasting legacy, the hack organiser needs to understand how they can best incubate and support ideas post-hack, by providing access to mentoring and funding support.   There are some great examples of where this has been done in the guide. 

If you are looking to run your own hack or want to find out more about hacks in general, please download our guide and share it with your nearest and dearest creative circles.  Do please let us know what you think @UK_CE