A site about how community groups and charities can make the most of data and open data to do something useful. Focused on Birmingham, relevant everywhere.

Birmingham’s Social media scene attracts interest from Barcelona


Chris Pinchen works for  Citilab in a small industrial city just outside Barcelona. He recently visited Birmingham to learn from what was going on with all the civic social media we do here.

He used to live in Rugby and hasn’t been in Birmingham since 1993, then he thought the city was a dreadful place, so now he can’t get over how much it has changed and is bemused by how the city has nurtured such a flourishing social media “scene”.

I first met Chris at Moseley Barcamp.  I knew that the barcamp was popular, but for it to gain interest all the way from Barcelona was pretty amazing. When Chris also visited the Birmingham Social Media Cafe, Nick Booth decided to ask him what he does, and maybe figure out what Birmingham could learn from Barcelona.

What is Citilab

In Chris’ own words, Citilab is difficult to describe but I will do my best. It’s basically a restored industrial building from the late 19th. century measuring no less than 4800 square meters. In there, you can do everything imaginable with technology. They have a public area which you can use for €3/year; here you have access to laptops and digital mentors (they call them monitors, we call them surgeons.)

This is how they describe it, it’s very general but indeed interesting:

Citilab-Cornellà is an experimental Institution dedicated to promote not only the use, but also the construction and innovation of the Information Society.

One thing that I really like is their monthly session where people can come in with all sorts of technological questions like; How to set the timer on their DVD and how to program their washing machine etc.

I can certainly see something like Citilab would work  in Birmingham. We already have the Social Media Surgeries, the Social Media Cafe’sBimingham Hackspace and Multipack, all of which could find something like this extremely useful.

I recommend you take a look at Nick’s interview with Chris below.

2 Responses to “Birmingham’s Social media scene attracts interest from Barcelona”

  1. […] that’s a good question and one that I do my best to answer here in this chat with Nick Booth at the Birmingham Social Media Cafe. I need to post about my visit to […]

  2. Chris says:

    Well my visit to Birmingham was very surreal, like one of those fables where somebody wakes up after a number of years to find…

    When I can get my head around it all, hopefully I’ll be able to write up my visit with the attention it deserves. In the meantime I’d just like to thank everybody I met at Birmingham Social Media Cafe, Moseley BarCamp & Amplified Midlands 09 for being so open & welcoming. Keep up the inspiring stuff!!!

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>