Multidisciplinary Culture Hacks Use Tech And Design To Solve Local Problems


Culture Shift brings together creative businesses and digital talent to make new products.

Leah Gonzalez
  • 8 july 2014

Culture Shift is a global hack program by the British Council’s Creative and Cultural Economy team.

The program is basically a season of sessions that bring together people from the creative, cultural and digital industries to collaborate and design new products and ideas that address existing challenges related to the cultural sector in their local communities.

The participants in each Culture Shift program are grouped into teams who then compete for a grant award and medium-term business mentoring support to bring their projects to life in the real world. The hack sessions last for 48 hours and the teams present their projects, including a prototype of their product, to a panel of judges.

For the last couple of years, the British Council has been running the Culture Shift program globally in places like Kenya, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Lagos, Russia, Brazil, and Lagos. The program has been supported by organizations such as the UK’s Social Innovation Camp, Snook, CultureCode, CultureTECH, Technology Will Save Us, Pervasive Media Studio, KIMCHI and CHIPS, as well as Google partners iHub Kenya and CcHub Nigeria, and the Hub Johannesburg.

The program was piloted in Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria between March and May 2012. The global hack program officially launched with Culture Shift Nigeria in November and December 2012. In 2013, Culture Shift was taken to Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa.


Some of the projects and prototypes that came out of the Culture Shift sessions include Pakacha in Kenya, a digital platform that allows artists to use a “barter and sell” system to look for and purchase art supplies. Culture Shift Kenya also resulted to the Rubiani project, a mobile application that connects buyers directly with the makers of locally handcrafted good. In 2013, the Kijicho project, a social interactive platform for matatu – public minibus taxi – users, won first place.

Other Culture Shift projects include Nigeria’s Mainframe Films, a group developing a global movies app that promotes African film identity, and PubHub, a self-publishing literature vending machine that aims to make literature accessible and affordable in South Africa, and Meshabbek in Egypt, a platform that helps creative people find the talent and skills for their projects.

Check out the video below which features Culture Shift Egypt to see more about how the program

Culture Shift

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