Brighton Digital Festival (BDF) is transitioning to become a seasonal programme hosted by Lighthouse, rather than existing as an independent company. 2021 will see the start of a major collaboration with two other digital festivals to co-commission a range of exciting outdoor digital artworks. A steering group is being recruited to ensure BDF remains a community-driven platform that supports and encourages people across the city to experience and explore digital culture.
Brighton & Hove is home to a thriving digital and creative sector; it is a city overflowing with talent and ideas – full of potential. Brighton Digital Festival will continue to harness this creativity and support ground-breaking and innovative collaborations which are part of the very fabric of our city.
Over the last few years, it has been a struggle to fund a year-round, independent organisation which engages with all the different people, businesses and institutions who make up Brighton’s digital creative community. To overcome this Brighton Digital Festival will now become a seasonal programme hosted by Lighthouse, with the Messy Edge conference being programmed and managed by Wired Sussex. Both organisations have a long history of supporting BDF in all its different iterations and offer connections into both the digital business and arts-focused folk who are such a key part of our community.
“I’m thrilled to have found a safe harbour for the Festival within an organisation with such a great track record and so much shared history as Lighthouse,” said Brighton Digital Festival Chair, Jenni Lloyd. “This will give BDF the space to focus on the fun bit – the creative collaborations, events and exhibitions that showcase the richness of the creative and cultural industries in our city”
Lighthouse is a Brighton-based arts charity specialising in connecting new developments in art, technology, science and society. The support of the Lighthouse team will enable BDF to fulfil its ambition to enable different people and communities across Brighton & Hove and beyond to develop new work in new settings – as creators, audiences and participants.
The experience of lockdown has highlighted the key role digital technology plays in connecting people to culture – whether it’s attending virtual performances, visiting digital galleries or taking part in Zoom pub quizzes. Now, more than ever, we need to ensure equality of access to the production, consumption and understanding of digital culture. BDF plays an active, ambitious, accessible role within Brighton & Hove to help shape our collective digital creative future.
Having taken a hiatus for 2020 to enable its transition, Brighton Digital Festival will kick-start this vision in 2021 with a collaboration with Hull’s Freedom Festival and the Frequency Festival of Lincoln to produce the Arts Council funded Digital Democracies programme. Together, the three festivals will commission a range of exciting outdoor digital artworks that will tour the three cities over the course of three years.
The programme that runs alongside will be produced with and by the community. Lighthouse are currently recruiting digital designers, developers, makers, thinkers and do-ers of all kinds to form a steering group to drive the future of the festival in the coming years. Please email Alli Beddoes of Lighthouse for more information.
Since 2014, Brandwatch have sponsored and supported Brighton Digital Festival helping to make over 30 projects happen.
Images by Jo Thorne Photography