Culture Lab Newcastle, UK — 12th-14th September 2011 (new dates!)

Culture Lab Newcastle is hosting an international interdisciplinary event open to the general public, on the topic of “connected communities”. We are looking for expressions of interest for talks and projects to exhibit from theorists and practitioners alike.


Many theorists have regarded communities as networks of interacting people within a defined territory, and policy-makers have tended to respond to this particular understanding. However, in an era where digital technologies have supported transnational forms of connectedness and the efficiency of grassroot movements, communities are once again looked at as innovative fertile grounds for alternative social organisation.

In a time when these trends can be manipulated by current governmental agendas, the Connected Communities symposium aims to critically explore evolving notions of community in art, design, history, politics, sociology, journalism, and hacktivism, among others.

Focus will be shed on – but not restricted to – the following topics:

- Effects of digital technologies on community formation, self-realisation, and development;

- How creative use of technology fosters micro-communities, empowers marginalised groups and enables new forms of cultural expression;

- Socio-political impact of community connectivity on society, in particular during this period of economic change.

This symposium will take place over a period of three days at Culture Lab, an interdisciplinary research laboratory and a venue for engagement and public events. It will consist of :

- A conference with talks selected from submitted expressions of interests, and invited speakers.

- An exhibition and a film screening centred on the notions of community and digital media. This will include blogs, documentation of community-based art workshops, art and ethnographic projects.

- A focused hands-on workshop (half a day). A conference can provide a playful environment, and we create a temporary community of practice to explore deeper questions of community. The access will be limited to 15 people on a first come – first served basis. Invitation to subscribe will be sent when the conference program is set.


Talks: The submission should express in a short text of 400 words what their interest, statements and/or work is in relation to the topic of connected communities.

Exhibition: We are looking for projects than can be showcased as websites, blogs, videos, films, installations that underline the impact of digital technologies on communities or that uncover new types of communities.

Please send your submissions in PDF format (additional audiovisual material can be submitted in the form of online material with corresponding URL) to the following email address by 19th May 2011, 23.59 GMT+1:


Deadline for expressions of interest: 19th May 2011
Notification of acceptance: 25th May 2011
Symposium: 12th-14th September 2011 (dates have changed!)


The symposium, all events included, will be free of charge for all participants. Speakers who are not supported by an institution will be offered transport to Newcastle and accommodation.


For more information, please email us at and/or visit the symposium website:


Joëlle Bitton, Lalya Gaye, Andreia Cavaco, Ben Jones, Graeme Mearns and Atau Tanaka (Culture Lab Newcastle)
Ranald Richardson (Center for Urban & Regional Development Studies, Newcastle University)

The symposium is funded by the AHRC research programme “Connected communities” and SiDE research programme at Culture Lab.


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