Manchester City Council

Mad Dogs....

Day starts conventionally enough with a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Co-ordinating Group where, from the point of this blog, the most interesting discussion is about how they communicate what they do to the wider public. At the moment they publish a rather traditional annual report to a limited audience, and this morning we agree to try a more dynamic, newsy, web-based approach.

I then meet our relatively new in post Art Gallery Director, although as she has been Director of the Whitworth for some time, she is not a new face. It's an interesting discussion centering around how we get the maximum benefit from running both galleries in tandem. I do a half-an-hour interview for a student's dissertation work, before setting off in the midday sun ( except it was raining ) to visit MadLab in the Northern Quarter.

Even after spending an hour there it's hard to describe. It's an open centre based around science, technology and the arts, although, as they used the expressions themselves, the founders hopefully won't mind it being described as a centre for geeks, dorks and hackers ( have to make clear though that this is very different to the alleged activities of a certain Sunday newspaper ). Apparently Hack centres are mushrooming all over the world in different forms. Groups meet at MadLab to play with electricity and computers making use of a very high-speed wi-fi connection, to make things e.g. Fashion Hackers recycle cloth into clothes for Oxfam, to learn, but there are also less technological activities like book and writers' clubs, alongside social events. As Manchester prides itself on its diversity, this looks like a very welcome addition to what the city has to offer.

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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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