Community Hacking and other projects


Principal Investigator: Prof. Chris Speed
Co-investigators: Dr Sharon Baurley, Royal College of Art Dr Martin Phillips, University of Leicester Ladders to the Cloud Dr Martin Phillips, University of Leicester Dr Peter Matthews, Heriot Watt University Rebecca Bailey, RCAHMS Communities within spaces of flows Dr Janet Dickinson, Bournemouth University

Community Hacking covers a series of three small AHRC Connected Communities grants that has involved working closely with partners and residents across Wester Hailes in Edinburgh.

The three projects (Community web2.0:Creative Control through Hacking, Ladders to the Cloud, and Communities within spaces of flows) explore the design and development of physical and virtual networks. Initially developed in response to concepts of Big Society and Government 2.0 which offer selective interpretations of social networking for fostering better communities, the research has developed critical technical strategies to support community engagement and empowerment through an engagement with local history, the recovery of a neighbourhood newspaper, and experiments in community sharing using mobile phone apps.
Based in the Edinburgh suburb of Wester Hailes, the team of academics, community organisations and local activists have been exploring the affordances of social media to construct ‘bonds’ and ‘bridges’ between and across existing people and groups. Design outputs include the installation of a four metre digital totem pole with QR codes that allow residents to connect to services and share resources, a CodeBook that supports guided social history walks, the development of a community newspaper (online and offline) and the experimentation of a bespoke app to help residents share resources.