EVENT 2: Story Hack

A Book Sprint at Gateshead Central Library, Tuesday 7th March 2017, 11am – 6pm

FREE but booking required

To book a place on Story Hack, please contact Rachel Horton (Gateshead Arts development Team, ) via email RachelHorton@gateshead.gov.uk

Story Mode is a series of events that actively explore the role that Libraries play in their communities via a critical engagement with contemporary creative digital practices and how this activity can enable Libraries to grow in capacity and profile.

It presents new ways of working by presenting experiences and approaches from local, national and international practitioners. Story Mode events will connect Libraries to current engagement practices in contemporary visual, digital and narrative arts.

What is a Story Hack?

The advent of collaborative online platforms for journalists, writers and visual artists has had a profoundly disruptive effect upon the nature of traditional media and how we access it. This situation raises more questions than it answers. Questions like: Do digital platforms have the same aura and appeal as physical media? Does the truth matter anymore? Who should we give our attention to and why?

Story Hack is the second event in the Story Mode series.  It will take the form of a book sprint to produce a publication inside of seven hours using the open source collaborative writing platform ‘Booktype’ (https://www.sourcefabric.org/en/booktype/). A booksprint involves everyone getting together to produce a book really fast! It’s that simple. During the day we will learn to use new tools that enable rapid collaborative authorship of printed publications and ebooks.  You can prepare for the event by writing something in advance, dust off something you wrote a while back but never shared, it could be a collection of things you like that are free to share (creative commons or public domain). It can be fictional, fact based, journalistic, academic or introspective in style. It’s up to you.  

We need you!

Story Hack will be led by Sourcefabric and facilitated by Daniel James of the Booktype team. But for it to work we need people who can write, edit, fact check, research, reflect, illustrate, converse and make tea!

This event is aimed at library professionals, socially engaged arts practitioners, local community organisations and anyone with related interests.

In the lead up to the event, participants will be invited to join an online discussion group with Daniel James to focus on themes and prepare some text in advance. Join the group here: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/story-hack

You will need to bring  a laptop to the event and any other reference materials/ resources that might support you to develop content in the Book Sprint.

The first Story Mode event on the theme of ‘Localism’ took place in November 2016. The final Story Mode event will take place later this year.

Story Mode is produced by Dominic Smith (Artist/ Curator, UK), commissioned by the Gateshead Libraries and Culture Team, Gateshead Council as part of their Digital Makings programme. Digital Makings is supported by Arts Council England.

Story Mode/Event 2: Story Hack

Sign up to the Story Hack discussion group  https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/story-hack to keep in touch and ask questions.


10.30am: Doors open/ Registration

11am: Welcome and introduction to the format of the day

The day will be broken up by discussions from the event facilitators (see below)

There will be break out groups to focus upon writing, compiling, editing and book production

6pm Event ends

Booking information:

This event is free but booking is required. Places are also limited – please book by Wednesday 1st March to avoid disappointment.

Facilitators bios:

Douglas Arellanes 

Douglas Arellanes is a co-founder of Sourcefabric, a Czech nonprofit institute developing open source tools for newsrooms. He is an American expatriate who has lived in the Czech Republic since 1992 (though he claims Dakar has the best music anywhere in the world and Cape Town the best scenery). Previous roles have included new media consultant for the Media Development Loan Fund, special projects director at Contactel (a subsidiary of TeleDanmark), and co-founder of First Tuesday Praha, an organisation devoted to helping internet start-ups. Doug is a member of the board of the Prague Civil Society Centre, which promotes civil society in Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia. He is also a DJ on Prague’s Radio.


Dr. Doug Belshaw

Dr. Doug Belshaw is an ‘Open Educational Thinkerer’ working at the intersection of education, technology, and productivity. He’s a consultant who works globally with educational organisations, non-profits, charities, and businesses – as well as being the co-founder of We Are Open, a co-operative that works to spread the culture, processes, and benefits of working openly. Doug is best known for his work on digital literacies and Open Badges, a way to issue alternative credentials. He has experience in the technology sector with Mozilla, the non-profit best known for the Firefox web browser, where he was their Web Literacy Lead. Prior to this, Doug worked in Higher Education with Jisc, and was a teacher and senior leader in English schools . His doctoral thesis focused on digital literacy, pragmatism, and the nature of ambiguity.


Pete Haughie

Pete Haughie is a technological free-radical. Free to experiment in art, hardware, and code as he sees fit to solve problems that may or may not exist in the realms of the real or digital.


Daniel James

Daniel James is the director of 64 Studio, a company which develops free software for media. Since 2010 this company has worked in partnership with Sourcefabric, a not-for-profit organisation which produces software for journalism and sponsors Booktype.

Daniel’s book ‘Crafting Digital Media’ was published by Apress. He previously helped found LinuxUser & Developer magazine and has contributed many articles to Sound on Sound and Linux Format.

Daniel lives on the Isle of Wight, although the James family came from Northumberland. Legend suggests he is related to Victorian rowing celebrity Grace Darling, along with many thousands of other people.

Dominic Smith 

Dominic Smith is an artist and curator whose practice explores open methods of project development through a hands-on, open approach to working with art & technology. He has a doctorate that examines the relationship between open source software production methods and methods employed by artists and curators. His current research and practice focuses on the collaborative nature of digital platforms and the social impact of new technologies. He works as an independent/associate curator with a number of arts organisations and is currently involved in a range of projects across the UK and Europe.


Further information about Digital Makings:

Digital Makings is a year-long programme of participatory Digital Arts activities encompassing a broad range of specialisms for people to discover and explore. The programme in Gateshead Libraries, began in July 2106 and will continue through to September 2017 and in addition to Story Mode events will include –

  • Three Digital Makings Residencies at Gateshead Central Library and other branch libraries with artists Ben Freeth, Karen Underhill and Sheryl Jenkins.
  • Participatory workshops linked to the Thinking Digital Arts Programme with Shelly Knotts and Suzy O’Hara.
  • A For edge painting project and digital collation with Artist Anton Hecht. This will tour libraries in Gateshead, collated digitally and shared through digital and social media channels.
  • Working with Artists from We EngAGE to lead iPad workshops for community groups which are designed to raise confidence and usage for older people and communities.
  • Adding a digital arts ‘zone’ to E-Day a popular event with workshops and drop in opportunities on Saturday 1 October at Gateshead Central Library.
  • Supporting workshops and events led by other digital based artists/practitioners in libraries across the borough.
  • Summer/Easter holiday Culture Camps with a programme of workshops and cultural activities for young people aged 8 – 14.
  • Final Exhibition showcasing the results of Digital Makings project in The Gallery at Gateshead Central Library.

Digital Makings is supported through Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts Libraries fund which has been established to support public library-led projects that stimulate partnerships between libraries and artists and arts organisations, encouraging communities to participate actively in artistic and cultural activities. The Libraries fund is part of the Arts Council’s Grants for the arts funding programme.


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