Culture Lab Newcastle, UK — 12th-14th September 2011

Culture Lab Newcastle has hosted an international interdisciplinary event open to the general public, on the topic of “connected communities”. This symposium included talks and projects from theorists and practitioners alike.


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.

As these trends can be manipulated by current governmental agendas, the Connected Communities symposium aims to critically explore notions of community, as evolving with the creative uses and the effects of digital technologies.

Focus was 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 took place over a period of three days at Culture Lab, an interdisciplinary research laboratory and a venue for engagement and public events. It consisted of :

- A conference over 3 days, with talks selected from submitted expressions of interests under the topics of: Collective Action, Participative Platforms, Engagement, Economies, Transnational, (Hi)stories, Technology & Society, Community Art, and Co-Creation.

- An exhibition at Culture Lab OnSite, centred on the notions of community and digital media. This included blogs, documentation of community-based art workshops, art and ethnographic projects. The exhibition ran until the 18th of September.

- Two workshop session using the symposium as a temporary community of practice to explore deeper questions of community.

- A Beats and Pieces party at the local community space Star and Shadow (


For a complete programme, please see the “conference” and “exhibition” pages.


The symposium, all events included, was FREE of charge and open to all.


The conference was transmitted live over Ustream and the videos are still available here


For more information, please email us at


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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