Last weekend, Scraperwiki hosted a ‘hacks and hackers’ event at FACT in Liverpool as part of Abandon Normal Devices (AND) Festival, focusing on scraping data related to the Olympics for the #media2012 network.
There is plenty of information, plenty of activity and plenty of action that is happening and can be done in order to tell the untold stories and equip citizens with the skills and the tools to see beyond the sporting frame.
The #media2012 project, launched at the Cornerhouse in Manchester in October 2010, aims to do just that. Inspired by the increasing rise of a organized citizen media presence at the Games since 2000, plus the evolving media technology landscape in general, #media2012 intends to provides a platform to curate and facilitate a national network of independent media makers producing stories about London 2012 (using mobile platforms and social media)- and using the stories to create the first archive of a community-led new media and cultural legacy of the Olympic Games. Covering and amplifying anything and everything that will not be covered by the ‘official’ journalists and media organizations.
Already we have hubs in the North West, South West, East and West Midlands, Scotland and London that are connecting independent media individuals and collectives, volunteers, students and citizen journalists with the wider #media2012 network – and working to provide space for people to work together and to share their content online.
The scraperwiki event on Sunday was a perfect example of the ethos of #media2012. The short and fast-paced collaboration between journalists, academics and developers at the hack day demonstrated that it doesn’t take much to scrap the surface of the Olympic movement if you know where you should be looking. In 6 hours, we managed to produce 3 potential research projects/story ideas that would often take academics working on research relating to the games, months to achieve – as well as providing insight to those grey areas that are not often spoken about in the media.
What we are seeing now has never happened at an Olympic Games before, and there is a real possibility to see London 2012 as the first of its kind; rather a media event that we are supposed to sit back and consume passively, but a media festival that we can break down and take an active role in reproducing in own way. That’s why I encourage everyone to see beyond the sport and take advantage of hacking the olympics and making them their own.
Jennifer Jones is a PhD researcher within the School of Creative and Cultural Industries at the University of the West of Scotland and a Visiting Lecturer within the Media School at Birmingham City University. She is working on projects closely tied to the Vancouver 2010 and London 2012 Olympic Games, in the context of emerging media landscapes and changing labour practices within the creative industries. She specializes in new media methods for data capture, collection and archiving, in particular around social media and mega-events, whilst focusing on the continuous link between digital practice and theory. Jennifer is the coordinator for #media2012, a national citizen media network for London 2012, web editor and staff writer for “Culture @ the Olympics,” a hybrid academic magazine which covers ‘anything but sport’ relating to the Olympic movement.