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The FuseBox: A look back at events in the past year

The FuseBox is a studio and collaboration space that we inhabit in central Brighton, which has been open over a year now. It was primarily created to host and provide assistance to start-ups from the creative, digital and tech sector. Between running business support space and programmes; The FuseBox Amp and FuseBox24, the space has also provided itself as a venue for a range of events from workshops to hackathons.

In the past year and a half since our launch in Spring 2013, we’ve seen an array of amazing events take place in the space. Here’s a quick run through of some of the highlights over the past year and a little recap about what we are doing and why.

[caption id="attachment_4324" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The FuseBox studio"][/caption]

The FuseBox is a space for innovation in the creative, digital and tech sector and also home to Wired Sussex. It is 3500sq ft and is largely an open plan space designed to encourage collaboration amongst its users. We are based in New England House, in the heart of Brighton, a pebble throw away from the lively North Laines. We believe that Brighton is the pioneering city for exciting and influential activity that fuses creative and tech disciplines and we are keen to support events that try to do this. We naturally have a platform to promote The FuseBox within The Wired Sussex network but it's open to all. Another community we especially seek out to support are our neighbours; the 90 plus creative and digital businesses within New England House. Over all, we've welcomed in theatre groups, pop-up initiatives, freelancers, dance groups, artists, makers, designers, game developers, hardware developers, hula-hoop meet ups, the list goes on and on.  This is a handpicked selection of just some of the events that have taken place in the studio in the past year...

[caption id="attachment_4329" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Go Beyond the Art of the Doodle: Uncover Your Commercial Potential"][/caption]

Going back to Brighton Digital Festival 2013, The FuseBox hosted (arguably one of our biggest events in terms of logistics) the Big Data Hackathon by BrightonHack. The hackathon spanned continuously for three days and was open for artists, designers, hardware and software developers to come along to discuss the implications of big data and experiment in ways for data to be presented visually. The event was a complete success with a lot of the guests staying on through the whole weekend which meant our beanbags came in very useful for some weary heads. In November we had Roy Petersen partner with Swish Thinking to host: Go Beyond the Art of the Doodle: Uncover Your Commercial Potential. The event took place in our meeting room to try and teach participants how ideas and art can be turned into profitable commercial ventures in today’s connected society. Beautiful doodles manifested throughout the evening on our whiteboards, walls and even windows during the workshop.

Jump another month and we supported Pie + Mash's 2 Day Game Jam. Pie and Mash are a Brighton based game developers and they borrowed The FuseBox to host a challenge for developers, artists, pros and hobbyists. You had to find yourself a team, or go it alone and build a game from scratch over the weekend. Pie and Mash offered up prizes and provided support and food throughout the whole event, including pie, of course! Also in 2013, New England House opened its doors for its annual two-day Christmas exhibition. The show offers tenants a chance to sell their wares and for customers to come and see studios that are normally closed to the public. The FuseBox offered it's space up to the rest of the building for any artist/maker that was unable to exhibit in their own workspace to come and showcase their work here. It meant that we had a wonderful smorgasbord of talent collected from around New England House and we had various stalls that covered illustration/jewellery/textiles and even an opportunity to be 3D scanned and printed by our 3D residents 3Dify.

[caption id="attachment_4333" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Double Blink"][/caption]

In March 2014 we supported New England House theatre group Kriya Arts. Company director Jolie Booth created a new group and event titled Double Blink. They put a call out for software creators, hardware hackers, artists and designers who were interested in censorship, surveillance, and open technology for a weekend of developmental workshops, prototyping ideas and brainstorming sessions. In April, Wired Sussex and The FuseBox partnered with Sophie Giblin's Kollektiv and Brighton based music label/promoter Love Thy Neighbour to organise a night of bands and live mural painting to celebrate art and music in the city. K<3W was extra special to us as Sophie Giblin built Kollektiv- a popup shop and gallery collective- through the very first pilot course The FuseBox ran; The FuseBox Amp. The night was partly put on as a thank you to Wired Sussex/ The FuseBox for running the Amp course and helping Giblin launch her very first pop up project in Brighton.

Also this year we ran a series of free tech workshops entitled ‘3DFridays’ where we offered the opportunity to learn more about the emerging technologies behind 3D printing and scanning. They were hosted by much loved FuseBox residents and 3D experts 3DIFY, who were on hand to offer their advice on: tech, electronics, hacking, hardware, coding and design. They were divided into two parts, the first two weeks were live sessions that took place right here in the studio and the second and third sessions were presented as webinars for those who couldn't physically get to us (an English speaking and a French speaking version!) If you didn't stream them live, you could and still can watch them via LiveStream here.

[caption id="attachment_4337" align="alignright" width="300" caption="FuseBox Session with Rifa Thorpe-Tracey"][/caption]

Summer sped by and suddenly it was September and time for Brighton Digital Festival 2014. The FuseBox played to host to several events for the festival including the final in the series of The FuseBox sessions. These sessions were fortnightly talks based around the general theme of ‘ideas you can use’ and were presented by different guest speakers. We made sure to film everyone and you can read more about them and watch them here. Also for Brighton Digital Festival, The FuseBox's meeting room transformed into a mad scientist's Laboratory for the day for Project: Oggbots!  An event for ages 8-80 but especially aimed for children to learn the basics of electronic engineering by helping to create their very own robot.  OggBots was created by FuseBox24 participants: Maker Club, a Brighton based learning technology company in association with Roots Experience, specialists in interactive and immersive theatre productions.

Currently we are winding down from FuseBox24 with more exciting events in the pipeline including participating in New England House's Christmas Open Studios again in December.  We'll be opening our doors up on the 13th, 14th, 15th  December with stalls and workshops curated by current FuseBox residents Metta Eggs, MakerClub and 3Dify. Please come along if you can and enjoy a mulled wine with us!

If you would like to pop in and see The FuseBox or have any questions please don't hesitate in emailing me or just pick up the phone for a chat on 01273 692888. We would love to hear from you!

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The FuseBox is supported by the Recreate project, selected under the cross-border cooperation programme INTERREG IV A France (Channel) England and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

About the author

Rosalie Hoskins

Hi, I'm the Hub Manager at Wired Sussex. I look after our collaborative R&D space, The FuseBox.

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