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Brighton Fuse: a Unique Project for a Unique City

Brighton Fuse is a 2-year, million pound project aimed at supporting and enhancing the connections between artists and creative practioners in the city and the digital, media and technology cluster.

In the past there has been a bit of a tendency towards a year-zero attitude with some of the digital community, i.e. because digital technology was confronting and reinventing so much in so many areas – from journalism to the music industry to healthcare – then it didn’t have much to learn from the arts and the craft based traditions it was so busy challenging.

This project is based on precisely the opposite point of view – that those producing in the digital domain have a lot to learn from the skills, techniques and knowledge of those active in the established arts and humanities traditions and also that those working in those areas can similarly benefit from engagement with the digital sector.

Of course it’s not as if these connections aren’t already being made. For instance, Disney’s locally based games studio Black Rock recently got its games designers to work with sculptors to understand how they thought about mass and form. Web developers I have spoken to talk about consciously trying to create websites in the same way an architect thinks about the built environment with attention to coherence, accessibility, signposting and hidden pleasures (it is called web architecture, after all). I’ve watched digital designers pour over old typography books and heard bloggers engaging enthusiastically with authors.

It would be interesting to understand how it might also have an impact the other way round – what did those sculptors learn from the Disney games designers? What might a building architect also learn from a web architect?

There is something absolutely energising about people with different skills sets coming together to develop new skill sets and new ways of working and thinking. That’s what this project is all about – taking two areas where Brighton has an international reputation and understanding in detail how they work together already and how we might be able to support and build that process so that new ideas, practices and business opportunities happen.

We want it to generate economic value for Brighton through this project (through sustaining and building innovative activity across the creative digital IT sector) and also create social value for the city (ensuring a more interesting and rewarding place to live and work). After all, a successful city should not just be about what you do, but also what you want and what you feel.

Brighton Fuse is a partnership between Wired Sussex and the universities of Brighton and Sussex with active
support from the BBC, the AHRC and the CIHE. It starts in June. Really looking forward to it.

Phil Jones

About the author

Phil Jones

Hi, I'm the Managing Director of Wired Sussex, overseeing our strategy as an organisation and work to promote our membership and its needs to local, national and international stakeholders, including government.

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