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TechniCulture Update, Plus Save the Date for Our 2016 Philly Tech Week Event

Launched in spring of 2015, out TechinCulture Initiative encourages deeper collaborations among Philadelphia’s arts and culture community and the tech sector.  

We kicked off the initiative with an event during the 2015 Philly Tech Week that highlighted innovative projects at the crossroad of culture and tech, and then last fall we announced the winners of the first TechniCulture Innovation Residency Awards.  Three cultural organizations were matched with a resident technologist to help evaluate their digital needs and develop a plan to launch a project or application that would best suite their mission.  

Here's an update on those projects!

Christ Church Preservation Trust
The Christ Church Preservation Trust team is using its residency to pursue new strategies for encouraging donations at Ben Franklin's grave. The common practice is for visitors to throw pennies on the grave marker in honor of Franklin’s phrase, "A penny saved is a penny earned." However, this practice damages the grave by chipping away at the limestone.  Christ Church is exploring new ways to encourage donations and monetize visitation.  They are working with technologist Davis Shaver, Digital Products & Solutions Lead at Philadelphia Media Network.  Davis is taking them through a comprehensive design process identifying stakeholders, surveying, holding focus groups and collecting data to best understand their challenge and strategize on solutions.  

Philadelphia Young Playwrights 
The Philadelphia Young Playwrights team is focusing on two distinct areas of work.  The first is updating thee website used by their teachers and teaching artists, which is a shared tool that holds resources and curriculum. With resident technologist Davis Shaver, Digital Products & Solutions Lead at Philadelphia Media Network, they are exploring expanding access of this shared space to other constituents and what that means for the password-protected site.  Additionally, they are interested in gaming software or app-based programming that activates, gamifies, and/or virtualizes some aspect of the playwriting process to help unlock student learning.

Tiny Dynamite
The Tiny Dynamite team is producing a cross-country collaboration with a theater company in the UK, ultimately using the internet as a new performance medium.  Using set design and monologues that are streamed to a venue in the UK, Emma Gibson, artistic director, will perform in the piece from the US. The work will debut in April in the UK and is slated to premier in the US in 2017.  They are working with award-winning filmmaker and technologist Ben Kalina.

On March 24, these three teams will participate in the first-ever TechniCulture Design Challenge, facilitated by Natalie Nixon, Director & Associate Professor, Strategic MBA Program at Philadelphia University.  The Design Challenge will enable each of the three organizations to further shape their digital needs or projects by enlisting the help of other experts to consult with and strengthen each project.  The Cultural Alliance is curating these teams to provide critical thinking and support for each organization.  

Save the date! The residencies will culminate at the 2nd Annual TechniCulture event during Philly Tech Week, on Friday, April 29 from 9 am-Noon. Each of the three residency teams will present their experience, learning, and technological advancements. The audience, along with a panel of expert judges, will vote on the three projects, ultimately selecting one winning organization that will receive prizes to further their work.

If you have questions about the TechniCulture Initiative or about the April 29 event, please contact Tracy Buchanan at tracyb@philaculture.org.