A Geek-in-Residence?

11 Aug 2012


I can't believe it! I left University to take my first job 11 years ago. During that time I've worked in finance, e-learning, GIS and SEO/digital marketing. Although I've had some interest in these sectors my real interest was just the technology, with a passion for realtime web technologies. I now work for Pusher and can focus almost entirely on realtime web technologies and the application of them. Whilst I'm truly lucky to be able to work day-in day-out on something I'm passionate about, it's always a good idea to gain exposure to new things. New experiences exercise the mind and you never know when those experiences will help with what you normally do.

After attending Culture Hack Scotland my eyes were opened to a new experience; the focus was still technology, but used in innovate and experimental ways with a focus on 'culture'.

Uncultured Me

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the most 'cultured' of individuals. I don't tend to go to musical or theatrical events, art galleries or museums - unless it's to see Dinosaur skeletons; my wife would undoubtedly mention the fact that about 100 of the 150 photos we took whilst in New York a few years ago are of dino bones. I've been to the Tate Modern once and all I can remember from the trip was an upside-down piano and a video of some guy hitting himself where it hurts whilst wearing boxing gloves. I really like going to the cinema, but I only tend to go to watch comedies or blockbusters.

So, how and why have I ended up as a Geek-in-Residence for Sync, "a two year prototyping and innovation programme for the cultural sector in Scotland."?

Exercise the mind

As I said in the introduction, new experiences exercise the mind. But, I'm also aware that my lack of culture isn't actually something to boast about. It's something I want to change and I felt the Geeks-in-Residence programme represented a perfect opportunity for me to use my existing development skills and at the same time give me some exposure to areas that I generally wouldn't be otherwise.

I applied to for a position as geek on the MacRobert project, a project with an initial focus on engaging with students before, during and after events. There were a few reasons why this project was of interest to me.

  1. MacRoberts is an Art centre. What better place to get cultured.
  2. I believe that realtime web technologies will play a massive part in the future of the web. They allow interactive and engaging applications to be built and this matched well with the project outline.
  3. I went to the University of Stirling. Although MacRobert is it's own entity it is still in the heart of the university so I'm hopeful that I can do something to have a positive impact on the university. Back to where I was 11 years ago!
  4. I live very near to Stirling University. It's just handy/ideal!

I put something like this on my application form. It must have worked...

I got in!

A bit like Kevin Flynn entering the grid, I was very excited that, after an interview with Erin Mcguire, I was asked to take on a Geek-in-Residence on the MacRobert project.

I was also really excited to hear that I'd be working with Andy Young of Snook. Andy is a products and services designer so I'm undoubtedly going to learn a bunch of stuff from him. Well, I already have, but I'll save that for another post.