OCSI and the Dream Factory

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Lately, Brighton has been awash with a strange crowd. Alongside the usual masses of developers and designers, the city streets have been host to futurists, artists, sci-fi writers, knitters, hackers, and journalists – anyone with an interest in what can be done with technology. Yes, it’s time for the Brighton Digital Festival again, and there are hundreds of events going on throughout September.

As part of the festivities, OCSI are extremely happy to be sponsoring the Dream Factory, a “social hangout space” on Vine Street in the middle of the North Laine. (@dreamfactory on Twitter)

Photo: Julia Horbaschk

The space is open to members and guests during afternoons from Tuesday to Thursday throughout the month, and sets out to encourage people to connect, discuss and collaborate as much as possible during the festival.  A mix of new technology (such as NFC tags to “log in” to the space) alongside old (each week’s events are printed out and velcro’d to the wall) highlights the aim of merging “traditional” methods with creativity.

The ideas of place and collaboration are at the heart of what OCSI does. Services like Community Insight and the Numberhood iPhone app are all about letting users and service providers  get data for a local area quickly and clearly. And our Community Insight and TSB-backed ‘Next Generation Local Information‘ API projects wouldn’t exist without the collaborative powers of working with HACT for the first, and the Democratic Society, Public-i (also sponsoring the hangout space) and Latest TV for the second.

In fact, the first week that the space was opened, it became clear just how much interest there is in open data and data story-telling – and how much potential for collaboration is out there. From big data to banking, and from individual data to interactive infographics, everyone I talked to seemed to have a fascination with using data and evidence to explore the world.

It’s exciting to see so much passion happening not just as part of the festival, but in Brighton broadly as well. Let us know (via a tweet, perhaps) if you’re thinking of heading along to the space – maybe we’ll see you there!

Graham Lally, OCSI

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