Author Archives: juliantait

SMC_MCR October: What Lies Beneath – Unseen Journeys Through the City

Map drawn by Fredrich Engels 1844

SMC_MCR Tuesday 2nd October, 6.30pm – 9pm – The Northern, Tib Street, Manchester (Directions)

Please register to attend here.

This month’s SMC takes a different twist and looks at the hidden Manchester

During 2008 a tipping point was reached where over half the world’s populations lived in towns or cities. To some, cities seem to be the pinnacle of human evolution to others uncontrollable sprawls relentlessly encroaching on the countryside.

Manchester has a unique place in the pantheon of cities. It was the first industrial city, which allowed some to accrue tremendous wealth whilst workers lived in desperate poverty. It was from this crucible of inequality that globally important new ways of thinking about wealth and society were formed. Manchesterism or Manchester Liberalism was a school of economics, born out of the injustice of the corn laws that promoted free trade over the protectionist mercantilism of the time. It also created the background through Marx’s friendship with Engels – whose father owned a mill in Ancoats – for Das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto.

That Manchester became the world’s first industrial city is probably not an accident. It had the right climate for processing cotton, was proximate to the sea and had its own supply of coal. Because it was the first industrial city it is also the oldest and the traces of that city still echo in the weaver’s cottages, mills and canals that still exist.

The Manchester of today is a complex organism of infrastructure, people and systems. It has subterranean passages, department stores with ballrooms and places where things of consequence once occurred. Much of this is hidden and this month’s SMC_MCR hopes to offer a glimpse into this hidden Manchester through four 15 minute presentations.


Dr. Steven Millington

The Mancunian Way Walking Tour was devised by Manchester Metropolitan University and The Manchester Modernist Society, as part of the URBIS Research Forum in 2009.  The Tour has been repeated many times as a device to engage the general public in critical ideas about urban geography, architecture and planning, affording participants to explore the sensual and material qualities of place of the unique landscape created by The Mancunian Way motorway.

This presentation explains the rationale behind this walking tour, loosely inspired by Iain Sinclair’s London Orbital, to highlight the qualities of walking as a means of urban exploration.  Finally, the presentation explores alternate ways of discovering Manchester which utilise multiple sources of geographical data to create new traces and routes across the city.

Morag Rose – Remapping the city through Anarchoflaneurie

The LRM (Loiterers Resistance Movement) is an open interdisciplinary collective interested in exploring and sharing our love for Manchester. We embark on psychogeographical drifts to decode the palimpsest of the streets, uncover hidden histories, challenge power structures and discover the extraordinary in the banal. We aim to nurture an awareness of everyday space, (re)engaging with and (re)enchanting the city. This talk will share field notes from our experiments in anarchaflanuerie and introduce a range of tactics that we use to transform the streets into a playground as we search for new ways to look at, feel and remap Manchester.

Yuwei Lin – Mapping your world

Yuwei Lin of Salford University talks about the importance of having freedom to access, view, change and (re) distribute geographical information and how people can get involved through the free/open source platforms like Open Street Map. For more information about Yuwei’s work visit or

Julian Tait – The Systemic City

Please register to attend here. See you there!

The internet is a cruel place

December’s SMC_MCR – Nigel Barlow

Paul Stokes,co founder of the Daily Mash,was the guest of honour at the third anniversary meeting of Manchester’s social media cafe last week.

The Daily Mash can claim to be the UK’s first satirical website,launched by former Scotsman business editor Stokes and Neil Rafferty,a former political correspondent for the Sunday Times
Stokes told the audience at the Northern Quarter’s Matt and Phred’s that the Mash started as a a way to stop him getting fired from the traditional media.

Launched in 2007,nine people now write for the Mash which tries to publish four to five spoof stories a day.

Stokes described his site as “ a joke delivery system” or “the press association in a parallel universe”

Has he had much problem with libel? Well he answered,”we have never had to take a story down and only once were we threatened with being sued”

Indeed,added the co-founder,”with libel the things you get sued for are not what you would expect to be sued adding another piece of advice “never compare anyone to Hitler”

Surprisingly as least to some members of the audience,the interaction of social media is something that the site has tended to shy away from.Instead it is simply used as a broadcast system.

The secret to their success? being funny about topical stuff because people are already talking about it and would like to add some humour to their conversation.

But as Stokes adds,”the internet is a cruel place….you will soon find out if you are not funny”

We are three and its Christmas

It’s Christmas and our third birthday all rolled up into one and to celebrate, we invite you all to join us at Matt and Phred’s on Tib Street for the SMC_MCR Christmas/third birthday get together/knees up.

To complement the usual SMC goodness, we will be hosting a talk by Paul Stokes, publisher and co-founder of popular satirical news site, The Daily Mash.

Continue reading

The Internet of Elsewhere

SMC_MCR and MadLab are delighted to host a book reading and discussion with American journalist and writer Cyrus Farivar.

Saturday 29th October, 7pm to 9pm on at Madlab Continue reading

Pick and Mix at the SMC_MCR

Pick and Mix brought together six people who had either created a new digital product or where working in an emergent field. It was an opportunity to explore these innovations, ask questions and get under the bonnet of their creations. Continue reading

Got a cool, innovative digital product? Show it off at the next #SMC_MCR

Do you have a cool digital product that you are developing? If so SMC_MCR would like to hear from you to participate in our next event on Tuesday 4th October

Pick and Mix is a chance to see the cool products that people are developing in the Manchester digital community. The format of the event is along the lines of traditional SMC events where we ask six people/companies to show, garner interest and get feedback on the products that they are developing.

If you fancy talking about your innovation in front of a friendly crowd of digitally minded Manchester folk drop us a line at admin(at)

Image credit: Andreavalejos

The Twitterstream from #smc_mcr

The Twitterstream from the ‘Riots and Social Media’ debate is under. It starts five minutes into the debate but gives a flavour of the very active conversation taking place. You will need to scroll to the bottom of the page to get the earliest tweet. Continue reading

SMC_MCR riots and social media debate

Our friends at Littlestar have now made the debate from Tuesday 6th September available online.

Volunteering for SMC_MCR

SMC_MCR is run by a group of people who are passionate about what digital technology and social media can do. Since 2008, SMC_MCR has been run by a core of volunteers and now with the relaunch there is an opportunity for more people to get involved and shape how SMC_MCR evolves.

If you have an interest and feel that you can contribute in the following areas contact us on admin(at) or catch either Julian, Josh or Martin at an event.

We are looking for people who can help with:

• Venue liaison and booking
• Programming
• Event management
• Blogging and awareness (PR)
• Membership management
• Sponsorship