Barcamp Leeds 2009 highlights

I really enjoyed my day at Barcamp Leeds, part of LSx 2009 – Leeds’ second web festival.

Photo by Nik_Doof under Creative Commons license

Having turned up meaning to talk about kids and code (see separate post) I also ended up reprising The History of Leeds: What Every Geek Should Know, fortuitously followed by Jon Eland on Exposure Leeds‘ vision for Leodis.net, a massive online photographic archive digitised with lottery funding by our local council.

Mohsin Ali, just back from Where 2.0, had also picked up on the growing interest in using old photos and maps as part of mobile, geolocated services. Old is the new new, apparently, especially when it’s out of copyright. I can’t wait to play with this stuff in the cities where I spend my time.

Matt Seward of Kilo75 was thought-provoking on the Art of (Digital) Conversation. So many brands still seem to be stuck in a monologue when dialogue is the order of the day. I can’t help wondering though, whether people really want conversations with brands at all. Surely the only authentic conversations are those with the people who work for brands, not the brands themselves?

Dave Mee’s Merzweb was a revelation. From his associated blog post:

While it feels like our online lives are unprecedented, at least from a technological perspective, they’re not, from an avant-garde art perspective. From the 1920s to the 1950s, a sadly neglected artist from Hanover, Kurt Schwitters, derived his own practice that has earned him accolades from being one of the first multimedia artists, to a pioneer of collage and objets trouvés. I’d like to afford him a new title; Patron saint of the Social Web.

I recently attempted my own One Song to the Tune of Another, so I admire the skill with which Dave weaves together the threads from separate decades and separate media to show that we’re not that different from our forebears.

And how could I forget Microsoft (criticism), John Leach’s latest addtion to the Ukepedia? Seven down, just 2.8 million articles to go :)

There was more, much more, than I’ve written up here. It was a privilege to see a great set of talks in stimulating company, with as many sessions again that I would love to have attended, if possessed of the power to be in two places at once. In particular, I’m sorry to have missed my former colleague Dean Vipond on A Tactile Experience of Digital Music, Sarah Hartley on Blogging in a News Organisation and Emma Bearman‘s Cake and Culture. Maybe next time!

Thanks as ever to the organisers, Imran, Linda, Dom and Tom.

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mattedgar

Product strategy and design leadership in web and mobile media. Before that I was a newspaper journalist and history student

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