Kaffe Matthews to perform Love Sharks at Hack the Marine

For this edition of  Hack the City, we are again working closely with Alex McLean to continue the Inhabiting the Hack artist+coder experiment we did with Kairotic at the Culture & Heritage edition.

Kaffe MatthewsAs well as a  strong creative presence during the Data Dive and Main Hack, we’re very excited that Alex has been able to reach into his network to invite sound artist Kaffe Matthews (@kaffematthews)  to augment the event with a fascinating lunchtime talk and evening performance to inspire and celebrate both participants at Hack the Marine, and the wider public.

The talk takes place at the Sheffield Methods Institute from 1pm – 2pm on Friday 15 January 2016. Sign up for free via the main event registration page.

From tracing the journies of wild salmon up the river Tyne, hammerhead sharks in the Galapagos archipelago and the rise and fall of the Grand Union Canal as she walked it’s 80 miles from London to Milton Keynes, awarded sound artist/composer Kaffe Matthews will present and discuss the musical ideas she realised as songs, immersive installation and a work for 3 sonic beds through sonifying the data she gathered and more during these experiments.

Kaffe’s performance of Love Sharks then follows from 7:30pm on Saturday 16 January 2016 at Access Space in Sheffield. Tell us that you’re coming via the event page on Facebook.

Sharks are older than dinosaurs. They have evolved with the planet developing extraordinary perceptive mechanisms, and have learnt to navigate in straight lines by tracing the shifts in the earth’s magnetic crust at depths as great as 400m. They are still considered violent aggressors and continue to be slaughtered in vast numbers just for their fins to make soup. The truth is that a shark has to be one of the most sophisticated and beautiful of animals.

Love Shark is a new four channel solo by Kaffe Matthews in which she duets with 6 oscillators driven by 6 hammerhead sharks whose journeys were recorded north of Wolf Island, Galapagos April 2009. Matthews dived with, recorded underwater and filmed hammerheads whilst on a month’s residency on the Galapagos islands 2009. She later worked with shark scientists who gave her this shark hunting journey data. Her 3D sound installation, You might come out of the water every time singing has shown in Liverpool, Edinburgh, Lisbon and the St Pieters Caves, Maastricht.

Love Sharks

Also joining the quadrophonic show will be Shelly Knotts, Holger Ballweg and resident Yaxu.

Announcing Hack the City 5 – Marine & Waterways Edition

In this edition of Hack the City we’re stepping out of the urban context to shine a spotlight on the marine culture, biodiversity, environment and waterways data that is being made available through the huge OpenDefra programme.

We’re particularly interested in exploring how this helps improve understanding about and opportunities for life and living in waterways, coastal areas, wetlands and the communities around them.

What Data is Available?

There’s a growing repository of environment, marine and biodiversity data available via Defra and its agencies on data.gov.uk and other publisher websites.  

We’ll be reviewing some of the more interesting datasets at the Open Data Sheffield meetup on Mon 11 January, and sharing an update on other interesting datasets via the Hack the City website.

Seastar Shrimp - Klaus Stiefel

What’s the Schedule?  

We’re spanning a couple of days to give more time to discover and explore the data, form teams and develop sustainable hacks and projects.

Fri 15 Jan 1pm – 2pm: Lunchtime Talk – get inspired with data-driven artworks and music that bring new perspectives to marine and environment data, and life and living in coastal areas and waterways. Our special guest is sound artist Kaffe Matthews.
Open to all, even if you can’t make the Main Hack.

Fri 15 Jan 2pm – 5pm: Data Dive – find out what data is available and how it’s used, hear about the industry and research challenges and opportunities, and use these to generate some ideas to work up during the hack.
Highly recommended for Main Hack participants.

Fri 15 Jan from 5pm: Pre-Hack Social – recharge over a drink and some food, meet the other participants, hatch your hack plans and find some collaborators to work on projects together.
Exclusive to Main Hack ticket holders.

Sat 16 Jan 10am – 6pm The Main Hack – announce your projects, bolster your teams and make something happen. There’s food and refreshments throughout the day, culminating in a show’n’tell of what’s been done and awards.

Networking drinks follow from 6pm in the After Hack Social, and a data-driven music performance by Kaffe Matthews, Alex McLean and others from 8pm at Access Space.   


Friday’s Data Dive will take place at the ICOSS Centre on Portobello, near the University Roundabout and tram stop of the same name. Now home to the Sheffield Methods Institute.  

The Main Hack on Saturday takes place at Sheffield Hallam University’s Cantor Building on Arundel Lane, not far from the train station.

Kairotic to hack Hack the City

Hack the City evolves and experiments with every iteration, and on this occasion we’re hacking the hack with the well-placed intervention of Kairotic, the Weaving Codes – Coding Weaves project.
The project is led by artist-programmer Alex McLean and takes the relationship between patterns in code and traditional weavecraft as a starting point for investigating the influence of digital technology in making.

For the Heritage & Culture Hack, Alex has mustered a fine group of live-coders and crafters for an alternative take on the analog/digital expression of data and craft culture. While the inspiration for many on the day will be making apps using data about culture, the Weaving Codes project is bringing livecoders and crafters together to hack the Hack the City hack – making cultural objects from data.

Interested to see what emerges from the experiment? You can still get tickets for the Show’n’Tell – doors open at 6:30pm for demos at 7pm.

space invader 3

Hack the City 4 – the Culture & Heritage Challenge

The Culture & Heritage edition of Hack the City is on its way! Join us on 10 Jan 2015 to see and show your city’s cultural offer in a new light through open data.

Any civic or urban experiment, visualisation or hack based on open data is fair game for the event. If you want to try something more ambitious, we are supporting the Open Data Challenge Series. This offers a chance to win £50k equity-free funding for your open data startup concept, if it helps address the current theme challenge:

How can we use open data to engage more people, and more diverse people, in UK heritage and culture?

Early Bird tickets are available free for individuals and teams thanks to support from our partners at the Digital Society Network and Sheffield Methods Institute.

Participate as an individual >> Create a team >>

Work in culture / heritage? We’re really interested in finding and creating value from the non-personal data in Sheffield’s cultural and heritage sector. If you work in an organisation in the sector anywhere across the city region and want to find out how you can do this without commercially exposing your organisation, please do get in touch.

If you’d like to sponsor Hack the City to help cover post-hack networking or contribute to prizes – please do get in touch.


2015 Dates for Hack the City

Unavoidably and regrettably, the fourth edition of Hack the City (previously earmarked for 11 Oct 2014) has had to be postponed. But fear not – we return in the new year with more challenges and more data to play with on 11 January and 14 March. Pop the dates in your diary and sign up below to get ticket release notification.

Any hacks are eligible, but as always there is a spotlight theme. For January, we’re particularly interested in culture, and what open data can reveal about the city’s cultural scene, artefacts and opportunities. If you run or involved in a cultural organisation or project, please do get in touch to find out how to open up your data to create new opportunities.

Details about March’s theme will follow.

Hack the City 3 – the Summer 2014 Challenge

We’re back this summer for the third instalment of Hack the City. Join us at the Showroom Cinema on 16 Aug 2014 for a day of open data wrangling, urban and civic hacking and to develop your service prototypes and startup concepts.

As before, we are supporting the Open Data Challenge Series which offers a chance to win £40k equity-free funding for (on this occasion) your housing-related open data startup. So, while any urban or civic project is welcome at Hack the City, this time we’re especially excited to explore how data can can help private or social tenants better understand their housing options.

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Hack the City – the Food Challenge – POSTPONED

In the wake of Harvest Moon, Hack the City strikes back for a fourth time, inviting you to take up the open data challenge around Food. Join us in Sheffield on 11 Oct 2014 for a day of open data wrangling, urban and civic hacking and to develop your service prototypes and startup concepts.

As before, we are supporting the Open Data Challenge Series which offers a chance to win £40k equity-free funding for (on this occasion) your food-related open data startup where it helps to address the following question:

How can we use open data to help people eat more healthily, eat more sustainably and/or have a more secure food chain?

So, while any urban or civic project is welcome at Hack the City, this time we’re especially excited to explore how data can can help improve eating and producing healthy and sustainable food.

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After the Hack

Earlier this month we welcomed hackday veterans and newcomers to the first Hack the City. Of course, it wasn’t about breaking into City Hall’s computer systems – it was about helping people find out about and engage with their city through the public data that’s available to them.

Some came to experiment with open data, others to knock together a civic hack, and a few to prototype a data-driven startup concept with a view to entering the Open Data Institute’s Challenge Series programme.

Before we get into where the different hack projects are a few weeks on, it’s worth remembering that hackdays aren’t just about the hacks on the day. Conversations that start on the day can lead to some great contributions and collaborations that continue or are realised only after the event. Some of those we’d love to see taken forward that started at Hack the City include:

The breadth of organisations getting involved on the day was great – the Open Data Institute and Nesta, the Home Office, as well as community organisations and commercial enterprises of varying scale.

That gave us a great mix of talent and interests in the room, including citizens, policy advisors, data owners, designers, entrepreneurs, marketers, journalists as well as software developers to turn ideas into reality.

In all, nearly 30 folk gathered to progress half a dozen hack projects, chosen from over a couple of dozen ideas to improve urban and civic experiences using open data that were put forward at the start of the day.

Thanks to everyone who came along or supported to make Hack the City a success.  If it has inspired you to get involved or you want to find out more about open data in your local area, you’re welcome to join us at future Open Data Sheffield meetups. They’re usually in the evenings on the third Monday of the month, but keep updated for the latest by following @opensheffield on Twitter.

Hack the City was produced by MundoJumbo for Open Data Sheffield, in partnership with the Open Data Institute and Nesta  as part of the Open Data Challenge Series.  You can find out more about Series’ Crime and Justice Creation and Innovation Weekend on 12-13 October from this piece by Simon Whitehouse, the first Series Lead.

On the next page is a rundown of the first Hack the City projects, including where to find out more about them or get involved. For blow-by-blow happenings of the day check this Storify.