The Community Web2.0: creative control through hacking project sought to explore whether concepts and vocabularies emerging in relation to the Internet could usefully be applied to understandings of off-line contemporary community relations and practices.

The project particularly focused upon the role of hacking and read-writing as a characteristic of contemporary online practices and how this is mirrored in aspects of actual life within and across communities.

The project was largely based within the Wester Hailes area of Western Edinburgh, where a network of residents and community based organisations worked alongside the academic team to establish design methods that put into practice the theoretical framework that had been developed through the project.

Using storytelling as an initial method with which to investigate social practices, the team identified the principle of ‘writing back’ to a subject as a form of hacking. Subsequently the team ran a series of workshops that encouraged community members to ‘write’ their memories of the area on to photographs that were taken from the archives of a local newspaper. As a result of this formative work, the team (including the community partners) developed two design interventions for the area that would offer ‘write back’ facilities as constructive hacking platforms.

Project website –


Sharon Baurley, Brunel University

Martin Phillips, University of Leicester

Chris Speed, Amadu Khan and Jane Macdonald University of Edinburgh

AHRC funded Connected Communities project 2011

Photo: Union Canal, Wester Hailes: paul birrell [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons