UnLondon Digital Media Association (UnLondon) is a non-profit organization set up to challenge and embrace ideas related to new technologies and social platforms through the education, entertainment and engagement of its membership and the community-at-large.
The purpose of UnLondon is to make change in and around the city of London from outside the normal confines of change making, using unconventional methods. The name UnLondon was chosen as a specific and direct reference to nomenclature endemic of social media community standards. The ‘Un’ prefix is used throughout this community and industry as a method to describe ‘unconventional thinking and practices’. Indeed, the ‘UnLondon’ name comes from our long time expierence both organizing and attending so-called ‘UnConferences,’ which is defined by Wikipedia as a:
…facilitated, participant-driven conference centered on a theme or purpose. The term ‘unconference’ has been applied, or self-applied, to a wide range of gatherings that try to avoid one or more aspects of a conventional conference. The term is primarily used in the geek community, though as of 2009 it has also started to appear in the travel industry.
In order to expand on this ‘unconventional’ way of doing things, UnLondon has crafted a philosophy that describes the platform upon which UnLondon’s membership operates. It’s a living document, meaning that as the membership changes, so does the philosophy. As with our membership document and the policy framwork set by our By-Laws, it’s designed to be ‘hacked‘.
Simply put, UnLondon, and it’s real-world ‘clubhouse’, the UnLab (located at The University of Western Ontario Research Park), are like playgrounds. When you arrive at the playground everything you need is already there – the swings, the climbing trees, the jungle gyms, the soccer fields. Anything that needs to be added can be built by the community and the rules of the playground are defined arbitrarily and on-the-fly.
So it is with UnLondon – all of the tools, resources and supports for innovation, hacking and civic engagement are made available by and for the member community. UnLondon (and the UnLab) are simply agnostic, facilitating entities designed to support the membership in each of their ‘Hacks‘ (the name UnLondon has given to all the projects its member community undertakes).
The founding members of UnLondon have organized several UnConferences, including PodCamp London and Social Media for The Arts (SMArts), and have planed for other events such as PhotoCamp, a StartupCamp, ChangeCamp, etc. All these ‘Camps’ follow the UnConventions of UnConferences.
In addition to UnConferences, UnLondon has a permanent ‘UnLab’ – a place where community members are encouraged to approach a number of areas unconventionally; these areas may include so-called ‘Maker’ culture, social and digital media, steampunk, art and design, and even academic pursuits. The UnLab is a community space with a diverse membership, including artists, computer programmers, web designers, and hardware hackers.
It is inspired by the philosophies of the global hackerspaces movement which encourages people to socialize, share knowledge, and work together on their projects. Moreover, there are other opportunities to apply this vernacular, including UnKlatches (short, periodic real-world discussion groups), and so on. Find out more at www.unlab.ca