Where to find me at SXSW

February 27, 2011 | Leave a comment

I’m stoked to be at this year’s South By Southwest Interactive festival in Austin.

As well as enjoying the talks, attending events and enjoying wandering around one of my favorite cities in the world, I’m appearing as part of two panels:

The Why & How Of Decentralized Web Identity with Blaine Cook and Christian Sandvig (March 12, 11am in the TX Ballroom 2-4 at the Hyatt)

Wikileaks, the Web, and the Long, Strange Journey of Journalism with James Moore and Scott Braddock (March 15, 9:30am in the Town Lake Ballroom at the Radisson)

Power!In both cases, these are part of a stream. If you’re interested in decentralized identity, you’re probably going to want to start with Federating the Social Web, a panel with Status.net’s Evan Promodou, TummelVision’s Kevin Marks and Socialcast’s Monica Wilkinson, which starts at 9:30am in the same room. Meanwhile, if you want to hear more about Wikileaks, you may want to stick around for Wikileaks: The Website That Changed the World?, with Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger, Vanity Fair contributing editor Sarah Ellison, and ProPublica managing editor Stephen Engelberg, which takes place in the Town Lake Ballroom at 12:30pm.

I’m very excited about working with the participants at both events. I’m pleased to say that James Moore, my co-panelist for the Wikileaks event, is a colleague at Latakoo, and it’s a pleasure to have found another way to work with him. You may know him best for his book Bush’s Brain, about George W. Bush and Karl Rove’s role in his presidency; he’s made a name for himself as an incisive political commentator in print, on television and in documentaries like Fahrenheit 9/11. Here are his not inconsiderable contributions to the Huffington Post. For his Wikileaks panel, he’s brought Edward R Murrow award-winning investigative journalist Scott Braddock on board, and I’ll be there to provide technical and web culture context.

Blaine Cook, meanwhile, was the primary author of both OAuth and Webfinger, which are two of the most important building blocks for the decentralized social web; they’ve been influential in how web applications have been designed and built over the past few years. Formerly lead developer at Twitter, he’s now part of Osmosoft, a part of British Telecom that works on open source, web-based collaboration tools. As well as kindly asking me to join him on his panel on decentralized identity, he’s secured the wisdom of Christian Sandvig, who is Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as well as a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

Finally, although I won’t be speaking at this one, my colleague at the Edinburgh Festivals Innovation Lab Rohan Gunatillake will be speaking with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society’s CEO Kath Maitland about Edinburgh, Austin and the Future of Festivals on March 14th. If you’re interested in digital and the arts, or my work as Geek in Residence at the festivalslab, this will be worth your time.

If you’re in Austin this March, I’d love to see you at either of these events, or anywhere else. I’ll be heavily using Twitter during the festival, so you can always message me there, or drop me a note here in the comments. It should be a lot of fun.

Open data in the arts

December 3, 2010 | Leave a comment

I’m in New York this week for a whirlwind series of meetings with Team Latakoo, but I wanted to draw a little attention to the introduction to open data in the arts I wrote over on the festivalslab blog before I got here:

Open data sounds like a much more techie concept than it really is. It’s really a way to let third parties plug into and spread your organization’s information, in a way that you control, and allows them to create publications, products and services that you don’t have the time, resources or inclination to develop or maintain. You become the centre of a creative ecosystem – something arts organizations, and especially festivals – are already brilliant at. It’s a perfect fit.

You can read the whole thing over here.

Edinburgh Festivals Lab Geek in Residence

September 3, 2010 | 1 comment

Edinburgh FestivalOn Wednesday, the Edinburgh Festivals Innovation Lab announced that I’m their inaugural Geek in Residence:

This is an exciting and experimental new role in which Ben will work with and across the festival set to spot and develop project opportunities and bring his expertise and experience to explore what it is to be a festival in the 21st century.

The Edinburgh Festivals include some of the world’s largest arts festivals – twelve in all – and I’m hugely excited to be part of the mix. Long-term readers will know that it’s not technology as such that excites me, but the human impact of technology – and what could be more human than a set of international arts events that spans the breadth of what global culture has to offer?

About the Lab itself:

The Edinburgh Festivals Innovation Lab is a new experiment and resource for the twelve Edinburgh festivals to explore how they can use digital technology to create new value for audiences, artists, the city and the festivals themselves.

Over the next two years, the twelve festivals will work together and with a wide range of partners to identify, develop and prototype high potential projects which use digital technology to improve the festival experience, for audiences, for artists, for the festivals themselves and for everyone.

We recorded a short interview on Wednesday that serves as an introduction to me and my background, but also why I’m so excited about working with the arts in this way.

Listen!

Photo: Edinburgh Festival by Bex Ross, shared under a Creative Commons license.