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Recently, I gave a talk at transmediale as part of their Free Culture Incubator series. I’ve embedded the video below. I highlighted three case studies that I think exemplify how advocating for the arts successfully can make profound differences to how we experience urban spaces.

Firstly I mentioned BeautifulCity.ca, a campaign to introduce a billboard tax in the city of Toronto, with the tax money distributed to art and culture projects. They were very successful in winning the first battle, which was implementing the tax, but now they need people to speak up once more in favour of how the budget is actually allocated. Check out their Facebook event for more details on how you can help this terrific project.

I also mentioned Ile Sans Fil, the wireless community group that I used to work with, that built a grassroots infrastructure in Montreal that is wildly successful. They were also pioneers of using their infrastructure as a platform to distribute art and community content to their users. They have been so successful at building infrastructure and in their advocacy work that wireless internet infrastructure is now an issue in the Montreal municipal elections.

Last but not least, I mentioned Manchester Open Data City, a huge initiative by FutureEverything. FutureEverything is leading the advocacy around making Manchester the UK’s first open data city, by identifying data that can be made available, and looking at issues of data interoperability, quality and management. I’m programming the FutureEverything conference this year, and can tell you that Open Data and its implications for citizen participation and creativity will be a hot topic. Hope to see you in Manchester this May for FutureEverything!