Welcome to HacktionLab

From HacktionLab: A UK-wide network tech-activists providing meet-ups, events, workshops, national skillshare gatherings and hacklabs
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Welcome to the HacktionLab Wiki

Please click here to confirm you're coming to HacktionLab and let us know of your dietary requirements and also please sign up to the mailing list. thanks. :)

The aim of HacktionLab is to have a convergence where people interested in and/or working in the areas of alternative media, renewable energy, on-line video distribution, free software and any other form of activism that utilises technology. The idea for the gathering has come from a number of years of experience gained by activists working for organisations such as Indymedia and includes specific experience from involvement in the camps for climate action in Selby (2006) and Heathrow (2007) as well as the No Borders camp at Gatwick (2007):

Ccfotos - 10.jpg Insidefimc.jpg Ccfotos - 15.jpg

Per person we will aim that the convergence will require around a fifteen pound contribution, with an upper limit of twenty. Everyone will be responsible for organising their own transport to the location, except for being collected from Chepstow train station.


The convergence is primary aimed at folk who need to learn or share info on doing mobile media access and video work in situations like G8 and climate camp convergences.

Please come if you have experience(s) to share will others in order to encourage the amount of shared knowledge in the UK-wide media, free software and alternative technology activist network. The weekend is most suitable for activists using media, geeks and hackers (as opposed to crackers) but would also be of interest to anyone else that is interested in attending is most welcome.

Organisations involved

This convergence is being proposed and attended by Bristol Wireless, Indymedia UK, Schnews and Clearer Channel.

ToDo list


Evening Friday 13th June 2008 to afternoon Sunday 15th June 2008.

Would recommend that crew arrive Friday morning (or Thursday evening) to set-up some of the infrastructure, and anyone who wishes should be encouraged to be involved in this, as the set-up forms part of the skills sharing.

Interesting Links


Friday 13th

  • Forward crew arrive in the morning to set up mess tent and other core infrastructure
  • Majority arrive in afternoon, set-up camp
  • Supper + entertainment

Saturday 14th

  • Breakfast
  • Morning workshops
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon workshops
  • Dinner
  • Party

Sunday 15th

  • Breakfast
  • Workshops
  • Lunch
  • What next / parting of company
  • Tat-down team, tat-down!


We have decided upon Highbury Farm located in the Lower Wye Valley on a hill above the village of Redbrook. Highbury Farm is actually located in Gloucestershire, although it should be in Gwent:


The HacktionLab will take place at two locations on Highbury Farm:

  • The barn: proposal is to do the workshops in this space as it has adequate weather protection, mains power and is near enough to the farmhouse to be able to run Ethernet from the farm's ADSL connection.
  • The field: here we'll put up a mess tent and this is where everyone will camp, has lovely view over Redbrook and up the Wye Valley. There is vehicle access into this field via a reasonably firm track.

Highbury Farm is a vegan (perhaps vegetarian) farm and the owners request that meat is not brought or cooked on site. There is an excellent pub across the valley within walking distance that serves fine ales and ciders and may well serve meat dishes for those who cannot do without.


The workshops should be simply facilitated discussions and hands-on skills-sharing activities based around a technology or a way of doing something. The aim is to enable a free exchange of ideas based around a theme, and not too much time should be spend in their planning.

Here is a working list of topics for workshops, please feel free to add to it or propose yourself and a workshop you'd like to facilitate:

Running a rural IMC (Field IMC)

Ccfotos - 06.jpg

  • skillsharing around doing rural IMC's -
  • mobile internet connection
  • 12 volt power issues
  • recycling computers / building a mobile suite


  • Linux and other free software (viable alternatives for alternative media, Kino, Cinelerra, iTheora, GIMP, OpenOffice)
  • basic computer networking
  • basic wireless technology
  • satellite, 3G and mobile comms technology
  • renewable energy and how it works (AC and DC theory)
  • security, privacy and encryption techniques
  • using the web for collaboration - wikis, drupals, plone, etc.

Ccfotos - 04.jpg


  • the next steps for imc video on a UK level, interaction with the main indymedia.org.uk site and creating a specialised video site.
  • tactical collaboration
  • tech skill share on encoding, hosting, podcasting and websites for video
  • streaming
  • free software video tools Open Movie Editor and Kdenlive

There is a source for workshops available for ideas http://clearerchannel.org/guides/s_index.html

Video Websites

More to follow on IMC uk and global internet sites using Drupal

We should have a test site to play about with with amazing aggregation and syndication abilities.

Friendly Tech Environments

What makes a friendly tech enviroment?

Sometimes geek environments can be really cold and alienating to non-geeks. Sometimes they can be terrifically welcoming. What are some of the things we can do as enthusiasts to communicate our enthusiasm and share our skills in a friendly way?

Have a look at this blog post about the recent Transmission gathering in asia http://burningbulan.multiply.com/photos/album/17/TX-AP

And read this critique of gender in Indymedia. can anyone find one?


Kids are most welcome, however we will not be arranging any crêche facilities.


Evening events could include a couple of bands, some open mic, some poetry, and some decent organic cyder around a fire of course ;)



There is both main electricity and Internet connectivity at the farm. We will also bring 3G and satellite alternatives to demonstrate and discuss the technology. It would be great to have some renewables for the camping field for the evening. In the camping field there will be a fire pit, pissoirs and a shit pit.


  • LTSP suite (from Bristol Wireless)
  • Video projector + screen (or white sheet)
  • Mess tent
  • Trestle tables (for LTSP suite / kitchen)
  • Kitchen equipment


  • Catering crew
  • Mess tent set-up
  • LTSP suite set-up
  • Networking, projector and power set-up
  • Shit pit and pissoirs
  • Fire crew

Immediate requirement is for more folks to get involved, this is a workshop event, so all those who come should also expect to be involved in making the whole thing happen, so although we will plan for the equipment to bring, it will be an organic affair (not in the sense of vegetables).

Please encourage other people to get involved by asking them that they join the mailing list at http://lists.psand.net/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/hacktionlab

Transport and site access

Access to Highbury farm by vehicle is somewhat difficult as it is situated up a steep hill in the valley. Most motor vehicles should ideally be left at the bottom of the hill rather than be taken up the track. For small vehicles, carrying the minimum of passengers would help. There is a decent footpath up from the village to the farm, so leaving vehicle at bottom and walking is a good option.

We'll need to get a van or two up to site to bring equipment and food.

The farm have recommended that if anyone wishes to bring a caravan, that they tow it up using a tractor, as this will be easier than trying to tow a vehicle towing a caravan that's got stuck!

Trains to Chepstow, there is then a bus service from Chepstow to Redbrook village, but the last bus leaves the bus station at 6.10PM - You can download a PDF of the bus timetable here. We will therefore need to organise a runner to collect people from Chepstow train station on Friday evening, should there be a need to do so.

From Bristol the farm is about 30 miles, over the old Severn Bridge (M48) and then taking the A466 past Chepstow and about 13 miles up the Wye Valley. The bridge costs something like 5 pounds 30 pence for cars and 10.50 for vans.

There's more info on their web site at http://www.highburyfarm.freeserve.co.uk/visitingframe.htm and also here it is on the map:


The cost will be 4 pounds per person for the camping for the weekend. We also have to add costs for food on top of this. Highbury Farm also expressed that any additional contribution would be much appreciated. The costs for organising this event will be:

  • camping (4 quid per person)
  • food
  • transport of equipment (and tolls for Severn Bridge)
  • any administrative costs

Per person we will aim that the convergence will require around a fifteen pound contribution, with an upper limit of twenty. Everyone will be responsible for organising their own transport to the location, except for being collected from Chepstow train station.

Please click here to confirm you're coming to HacktionLab and let us know of your dietry requirements and also please sign up to the mailing list. thanks. :)