Fun Palaces and Digital Culture for All

Fun Palaces is an ongoing campaign for cultural democracy - supporting local people to create their own science, arts, tech, digital, and craft events, made by and for their local community.

Fun Palaces weekend is the first weekend of October every year.

Since 2014 there have been 572 Fun Palaces, led by over 10,000 local people, with 214,000 people taking part in hand-on engagement with every form of culture, not least digital culture.

Read and see more from Fun Palaces in Gateshead, Bridgewater, Bedford, Lancaster, Kent, Exeter, Tameside and Bristol about how they integrated digital activity, for all ages, into their Fun Palaces.

Of course there’s a huge amount still to do to support fully accessible, intergenerational and participative Fun Palaces to thrive across the UK and beyond, but with 47% of Fun Palaces led by people from the lowest (ie, most deprived) three indices of the Index of Multiple Deprivation*,  62% of the Maker teams (leading locally) including people from an ethnic minority, and 34% of Maker teams including people under 18, we are beginning to make real inroads into genuinely grassroots and community-led participation in hands-on digital culture.

*more detail in Fun Palaces 2016 Evaluation

Why the contribution is important

The crossover between digital and crafts, arts and science, has enabled locally-led Fun Palaces across the UK to offer hands-on participation in digital activity. Because Fun Palaces are led by local people, they often offer less formal access to digital culture, and as 34% of Fun Palaces Maker teams include people under 18, this means there is great scope for young people to lead on digital activity, as part of an intergenerational event.

Many adults have been trained to think of themselves as interested in arts OR science, and the wide range of activities on offer at a local Fun Palace make it possible for people to join in with activities they often feel are not for them. Older people might turn up for the crafts and stay because they discover the code club for adults (taught by children) as at Brixton Library’s Fun Palace in 2015 or the Minecraft session led by a ten year old for all ages at Luton’s Fun Palace in 2014.


by StellaDuffy on July 11, 2017 at 10:41AM

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  • Posted by willpsaunders July 12, 2017 at 11:02

    It would be great to hear more about the opportunities you feel digital technologies & platforms offer if Fun Palace's is all about democratising culture. Would you imagine there's a way that Fun Palaces could use digital to support community cohesion or could you source assets from a community to support participation ie UGC projects like this one might hint at even more interesting & exciting ideas?
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