How to take part in this year's Brighton Digital Festival

A launch event will offer a free online introduction to submitting your project to Brighton Digital Festival which returns at the end of last October after a blank 2020.

Alli Beddoes by Kate Benjamin
Alli Beddoes by Kate Benjamin

The online launch will be on July 28 from 6.30-8pm with tickets free, though booking is essential on Digital Festival, an annual exploration of digital culture, celebrates its tenth birthday in 2021. After a one-year pandemic-related hiatus, it will be relaunching with a ten-day programme from October 29 till November 7.

Throughout its history, Brighton Digital Festival’s community programme has always been key in making the festival reflect the city’s creativity and appetite for technology – and the organisers hope to pick up where they left off.

Alli Beddoes, artistic director and CEO of Lighthouse which is hosting the festival, said: “This emphasis on crowd-sourcing the community-programme is at the heart of Brighton Digital Festival 2021 and we’re inviting anyone who’s interested in running an event to join us at our online town hall event to find out how to get involved. Town hall events are open forums for discussion and this event will be a perfect introduction to the festival for both new and experienced events organisers. All are welcome.”

Lighthouse is a Brighton-based arts charity specialising in connecting new developments in art, technology, science and society. It was involved in the setting up of Brighton Digital Festival in 2011. Five or six years ago the festival became its own CIC. This year Lighthouse takes on what Alli calls a fostering role as regards the festival.

For the festival, Lighthouse will present a programme of community-run, as well as specially-commissioned, events exploring the creative possibilities of digital.

As Alli says: “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 equal access to the production, consumption and understanding of digital culture. Now, more than ever, we need BDF to play an active, ambitious, accessible role within our city to help shape our collective digital creative future. The idea of digital culture changes and shifts by the day, but its importance is what the festival is about. The pandemic has shown the inequalities. As we know, there has been a lot of kindness and generosity in the city in terms of putting computer equipment in homes that don’t have them. That has been amazing, giving it the attention it needed, but across the city there is a real class divide in terms of accessibility and that needs more attention.”

“I think we are in a real position to experience something. I think most festival producers are nervous as we are approaching the winter months and there is some trepidation about what might be possible, but we have got great opportunities with Brighton Digital Festival.

Every year we have a town hall public meeting which is a chance to get together and to hear about our ideas and opportunities. This time it will be online. We will just have to do it virtually, but we will be talking about what we are planning for the programme so far and about all the ways that people can get involved.”