Brighton Digital Festival 2021

Exploring digital culture and celebrating Brighton’s creativity
Learn more about BDF and its history

29 October - 7 November 2021

Multiple venues across Brighton & Hove

Brighton Digital Festival 2021



The annual exploration of digital culture that is Brighton Digital Festival celebrates its 10th birthday in 2021. And after a one-year pandemic-related hiatus will be relaunching with a 10-day programme from 29 October till 7 November 2021.

Lighthouse will present a programme of community-run, as well as specially commissioned, events exploring the creative possibilities of digital, while Wired Sussex will programme and manage The Messy Edge – festival’s flagship conference that explores the frontiers of digital culture.

The experience of lockdown has highlighted the key role digital technology plays in connecting people to culture – whether it’s attending virtual performances, visiting digital galleries or taking part in Zoom pub quizzes. Now, more than ever, we need to ensure equal access to the production, consumption and understanding of digital culture. Now, more than ever, we need BDF to play an active, ambitious, accessible role within our city to help shape our collective digital creative future.


Throughout its 10-year history, the festival has been presenting a crowd-sourced, open-programme. This means that anyone can independently organise an event, submit it to the festival programme, and present it under the festival banner.

Whether you want to organise a hackathon, a dance performance, a conference or an open studio, as long as your event provides meaningful engagement with digital culture, you’re good to go.

For 2021, this independent events programme will remain at the core of the festival and all those interested in getting involved are invited to watch our recorded Town Hall Meeting and visit BDF website for more information.

Open Programme Event Criteria

BDF has a long history of supporting our local arts, tech and creative community, this year we are also welcoming people outside of Brighton to join the programme and host events in our city. If you would like to include your event or experience in Brighton Digital Festival, we ask you to consider the following things, and upload your event by 5 September 2021.

Project merit (project meets at least three):

  • Challenges the dominant digital culture norms;
  • Contributes to community identity and sense of place;
  • Demonstrates creativity and innovation;
  • Strengthens partnerships;
  • Helps to define Brighton & Hove and surrounding areas as a region with a rich and diverse digital arts scene;
  • Delivers a high-quality event for a public outcome.

Community involvement (project meets at least one):

  • Provides an opportunity for collaboration with under-represented community groups;
  • Engages in partnerships and creative collaborations with community/local organisations;
  • Demonstrates new and dynamic ways of engaging the local community.

Accessibility, safety and potentially sensitive content (project must meet all):

  • A safe atmosphere for participants;
  • Legal rights to operate and rent the venue;
  • Accessibility measures;
  • Covid-19 safety measures;
  • Sensitive content disclosure – things that your audiences may need to know at the time of booking;
  • Minimal environmental impact.

Full criteria and information can be accessed via Brighton Digital Festival website here.

Arts and Education strand

The community-run events programme will be complemented by Digital Democracies – a new collaboration with Hull’s ​Freedom Festival​ and Lincoln’s ​Frequency Festival​ on a new national ACE-funded project led by Threshold Studios.

Lighthouse has already presented a Brighton Digital Festival pop-up during 2021 to offer a taste of what’s to come. Visitors to St Ann’s Well Gardens during Brighton Festival were transported to far-flung places and cultures with immersive sound installation 5000 Miles by ITHACA Studios.

We are currently recruiting digital designers, developers, makers, thinkers and do-ers of all kinds to form a steering group to drive the future of the festival in the coming years. Please email Alli Beddoes for more information.


Brighton Digital Festival is directed by Lighthouse and Wired Sussex, with support from Arts Council England. BDF will continue to be supported by Brighton-based digital consumer intelligence platform Brandwatch. Brandwatch has been a key sponsor in the festival’s history supporting more than 30 commissions and projects through the years.

Digital Democracies is the first commissioning consortium of its kind in the UK, supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and Threshold Studios, Freedom Festival Arts Trust and Lighthouse through their partners and funders.

We use Google Analytics cookies to measure visitors to our site. By using this site you consent to receive these cookies. For more information on the cookies we use please see our privacy policy page. You can opt out of receiving cookies. Close this message