COVID19: Phased Reopening from Tomorrow (24th June)


  • In light of current HMG and NI Executive Guidance, and in accordance to our communicated staging plans, we’ve decided to begin a phased return to Unit 1, starting Wednesday the 24nd of June at 10am
  • There will be new extraordinary guidelines in place regarding conduct within the space, enforcing social distancing, and relevant PPE and hygiene recommendations.
  • Access will be ‘opt-in’ so if you wish to return to the space, email and we’ll arrange for you to digitally sign the pre-return disclaimer and issue you with new access control codes.

Other News While We’ve Been in Lockdown

  • We have lent our new Lulzbot Mini 3D printer to Axial3D for their PPE manufacturing project, providing first responders and medical staff with near-medical-grade safety equipment to combat Coronavirus.
  • Our Folding@Home team burned a lot of CPU-cycles to contribute to COVID19 Research, currently ranked in the top 2% of teams in the world.
  • New CCTV policy in place along with ICO registration that clarifies that CCTV is only to be used for security and compliance with law enforcement and no other purpose (along with a 30 day retention period)
  • #BreakfastClub has been operating 6 days a week since March, with members meeting up via Discord to catch up about their days and share.
  • #InfoSecNI, a professional practice network of cybersecurity workers, has been running semi-regular movie nights and tweet-alongs, with Hackers, Sneakers, and WarGames all being shown (And critiqued!). We’ve been supporting #InfoSecNI with communications and technical resources. 

The Guidelines

Published both here and at for completeness


The purpose of these guidelines is to set out the procedures and restrictions that are put in place to allow Farset Labs to open in a safe manner during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

These temporary guidelines will remain under constant review, with particular respect to any changes in government guidelines or restrictions. Should any subsequent government policy contradict any aspect of these guidelines it will be expected that Farset Labs and it’s members will immediately comply with government policy.

In issuing these guidelines the Labs trustees acknowledge that it may be necessary to close the building again at short notice in response to future government directives.

Organisational Named Person For COVID-19 Response

Best practices dictate that organisations should have a named person responsible for their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As such, Art Knipe will be responsible for these guidelines, will be the contact person for questions regarding our response to COVID-19 and will be responsible for organisational contact tracing in the event of a member reporting an infection. (

Should Art be unable to fulfil this role for any reason Colin Mitchell will deputise (

Guidelines for Reopening of Farset Labs

Farset Labs will begin a phased reopening on 24/06/20 at 10am. The reopening will proceed based on the following guidance:

  • Upon reopening we will request that our members continue to work from home if they can, in line with the guidance from the NI Executive.
  • Access to the building will be subject to these new guidelines.
  • It will be left to the discretion and good sense of individual members to decide whether they can continue to work from home or need to use the space.
  • All members will be required to complete and sign an online Pre-Return form which indicates their agreement with these guidelines. This must be done before they can return to the space.

If you wish to return to the space at this time, you must contact Art Knipe by email ( to notify him of your intention to return. You will then be asked to fill in a Pre-Return Disclaimer, after which you will be given new access control codes.

Do not return to the space if you have not already digitally signed the pre-return disclaimer as you will not be permitted in the building

Guidelines For Access To Farset Labs During Ongoing COVID-19 Restrictions

It is anticipated that social distancing restrictions will remain in place for some time. In order to respect these restrictions and to ensure the levels of cleanliness required to prevent infection members will be expected to adhere to the following guidelines.

  • If you are showing any of the known symptoms of COVID-19, please follow government guidelines on self-Isolating, and do not come to the space
  • If you become symptomatic or test positive for COVID-19 and have accessed Farset Labs please notify one of the Labs trustees. It may be necessary to notify other members if there is a chance you have been in close proximity to them. This can be done without disclosing your identity if you wish
  • Wash your hands as soon as you arrive at Farset Labs and frequently thereafter
  • Please avoid physical contact and maintain at least 2 metres distance from other Farset Labs members
  • No more than fifteen (15) people are to be in the building at a given time, and should endeavour to spread themselves out to enforce social distancing.
  • Where possible, you should avoid touching hard surfaces in communal areas of the building and should wash or sanitise your hands after doing so
  • In order to manage the number of people using the building, only members are permitted to access the building.
  • You should not leave your belongings in communal areas of the building
  • Please play your part in helping to ensure high levels of cleanliness throughout the building
  • All members are strongly discouraged from having items delivered to Farset Labs. If you must use Farset Labs as a delivery address please ensure that you are onsite to accept delivery
  • Internal meeting, including members meetings, should take place digitally
  • You are encouraged to follow all government advice on the use of PPE, if it is possible to do so

In addition to these guidelines and in order to protect the health of our members, Farset Labs will be taking the following steps:

  • All public hire of Farset Labs facilities will remain suspended until further notice, and no non-inducted members, or guests of members, are permitted in the building.
  • Farset Labs will supply cleaning and hygiene stations in the vicinity of all high touch surfaces such as the front door, and throughout the building. You should clean these surfaces before use. You should not remove any cleaning or hygiene products from their locations in the building
  • Farset Labs will provide hand sanitiser at the post-shelves in the main entryway and subject to availability at other points throughout the building
  • Farset Labs will review its cleaning arrangements in order to ensure that high levels of cleanliness are maintained, as far as is practicable

You are reminded that the government advice to best prevent the spread of COVID-19 is still to remain at home if possible.

If you choose to come to the space, you acknowledge and accept responsibility for all risks inherent in that choice.

These guidelines are essential to ensure that Farset Labs remains in compliance with government regulations and does all that is practicable to protect public health and the health of our members.Failure to comply with these guidelines will be treated seriously and may result in temporary or permanent barring from membership of the space, under our existing complaints handling policy available in the Code of Conduct.

🔒 Building Temporarily Closing

On the 23rd of March Boris Johnson announced a complete UK lockdown amid the COVID-19 crisis.

As a result, the Farset Labs building is going to be closed until further notice. The doors will remain open until 7pm on Friday the 27th of March to allow members to collect any necessary belongings and equipment.

A (remote) Town Hall will be hosted on Wednesday at 7pm – 8pm for any of your questions.

In the meantime, some important questions are answered below.

Is Farset Labs stopping all operations?
No, you’ll start to see way more happening online and we hope you join the mischief!

Can I access the space after the 27th of March?
No, until further notice, other than in exceptional circumstances on a case by case basis. In such a case, email or message @directors on Slack.

How does this affect my membership and other fees?
You are free to pause your fees, and reach out to us about refunds for the month of March. However, please keep in mind that the vast majority of membership dues go towards covering core costs which will continue during quarantine.

Stay at home, stay healthy and keep hacking,
the Farset Labs team

Statement on #COVID19

In response to the #COVID19 pandemic, Farset Labs has made the following decisions.

  1. We are no longer hosting any public events as part of Farset Labs programmes (CoderDojo, ELi5, DataArt, etc)
  2. All Meetings (Town Hall, Management, Trustees) will be remote.
  3. It is recommended that external/community hires of the space also suspend, but events will over all be restricted to less than 15 participants.
  4. It is recommended that no more than 15 people are in the building at any one time
  5. The facility will continue to be open to those who wish to use it, following reasonable precautions outlined below.
  6. Private Meetings can still take place on site if reasonable precautions are enforced.
  7. Do not visit if you are symptomatic (continuous cough or high temperature).
  8. If you develop symptoms and have visited the space in the previous 10 days, please notify us on
  9. Hand Sanitiser and Soap will become available throughout the building. 
  10. Facilities are being made available for event organisers to stream presentations to support sustaining their own communities online free of charge.

Provision of Streaming Facilities for Event Operators

Last week, we set up a two-camera streaming capability in the event space. This capability is being made available to all event organisers; members or otherwise, for the purposes of hosting online events with presenters. We’re currently awaiting delivery of an HDMI capture device to include higher resolution of projected screen contents, but if you’d like to take advantage of this facility, please get in touch on

Reasonable Precautions 

(As per NHS and WHO Advice)

  • Wash hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds with hot water and soap.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
  • Stay at home if you’ve got coronavirus symptoms.
    • New, continuous cough.
    • High temperature above 37.5 degrees celsius.
  • Advise social distancing for visitors and members.

Closing comments

There’s a lot of these statements going around, and it is a time of lots of news and statistics and a mix between panic and complacency. 

There is a very high likelihood that we’ll have to shut the facility down completely in the coming weeks. Fortunately, we’re kinda used to that over the past year! If that’s the case we’ll be communicating both openly and privately with members to facilitate safely removing anything they might need from the space while instituting a full “lockdown”.

In times like this, the physical building of Farset Labs is less important than the community; social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation. Whether you’re a member or not, stay connected on our Slack, Share stuff that you think is cool on our Discourse, and when open meetings come up, please dial in just to chill out.

Stay nerdy my friends.
the Farset Labs team

PS if you want to help with the Coronavirus fight with spare CPU/GPU time; we’ve set up a Folding@Home team #241330 (Be patient, the stats site is under a lot of pressure atm…)

Data Art NI – Open DataNI Outreach Funding

Data Art Northern Ireland is a community of technologists, artists, policy makers and other creatives that regularly come together to show, tell and learn about the collision of Data and Art.

Learn about visualisation techniques, data aggregation, and where to get data sources to create, inform, and excite.

If you want to get involved, join our Meetup Group to be first to hear when we release our schedule of events.

Data Art NI

Belfast, GB
456 Data Artists

Meetup bringing artists, technologists and creatives together to show, tell, and learn about the collision between Data and Art.Learn about visualisation techniques, data agg…

Check out this Meetup Group →


Data Art NI is running meetups across Northern Ireland to bring the tech, creative, and public policy sectors together, so share their successes, failures, experiments and experiences, in order to build a shared understanding of how we can make the world, if not a better place, at least a more informed one!

Data Art has been operating as a community-run meetup group since 2017, mostly based in Farset Labs, Belfast.

Thanks to the support of the Department of Finances OpenDataNI Advocacy fund, we are taking the show on the road!

Venues and partners we plan on working with include:

If you’d like to host Data Art NI in your venue, please get in touch with us at

(Also if you’d like to collaborate on running a local chapter of DataArt in your area…)


Meetups are only part of the puzzle; we need to learn how to handle the different facets of “Data Art”, and that takes more than a cursory presentation…

Farset Labs are hosting a series of technical and creative workshops to upskill technologists, creatives, and passionate amateurs in targeted capabilities to enable the acquisition, exploration, augmentation, and visualisation of data in one way or another.

This could (depending on interest displayed) include sessions on topics such as:

  • Programming for Data Analysis
  • Embedded IoT for sensor acquisition and data visualisation
  • Machine Learning and Statistics
  • Geospatial Techniques and Analysis
  • Real-time Visualisation and Sonification
  • Typography and Graphic Design Fundamentals
  • Colour Theory and Interactive Visual Arts Design
  • 3D Design / Game Development
  • Physical Programming (aka Knitting and Crocheting)

But we want to listen to you! And we’ll be planning out the workshops with partners based on feedback received from the Meetups.


Over the past years, Hackathons have become the ‘de-rigueur’ way of engaging with the technology community to showcase some technology, problem, or task to be crowdsourced or socialised, usually in exchange for an .

Rather than running a big, high end, one-off, 24 hour crunch-time hackathon, we are running a quarterly series of hackathons instead, all with the thread around the cleaning, use, analysis and ‘artification’ of open data to inform and excite.

This provides time to really understand processes, projects and experiments, and also for relevant data owners in local government to be able to react and engage with the data-user community through platforms like OpenDataNI, and provide space to get real projects off the ground and make real change in our communities.

Open Data Innovation and Outreach Fund

We’re not the only ones being supported in this programme; Seven projects from Belfast, Derry and Newry have been successful from the £30,000 fund which encourages innovation in the reuse of data on the Open Data NI portal.

Allstate Northern Ireland was awarded £2,500 in partnership with Belfast City Council to host hackathon events for the technology community and STEM students.

Also among the winners was Anaeko Limited, who received £3,000 to host events and marketing activities for entrepreneurs to develop sustainable business models leveraging Open Data.

Derry City and Strabane District Council in partnership with Carnegie UK Trust was awarded £3,000 to host cross sectoral workshops to tell the story of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon; Derry and Strabane; and Lisburn and Castlereagh Council council areas.

Newry 2020 received £4,995 to deliver an integrated environmental sensor network to assess the impact of human activities on the environment in Newry and £2,995 to host outreach events.

Xpand Group in partnership with Belfast City Council was awarded £4,960 to create a shared access platform to enable business case development and decision making for large scale regional projects, while Flax & Teal Limited received £5,000 to develop an environmental disaster simulation tool for use in education and emergency planning.

Northern Ireland’s Finance Minister Conor Murphy, who announced the winners, said: “This fund provides entrepreneurs and organisations with a real opportunity to use public sector data for commercial opportunities and drive future economic growth.

“I am delighted to meet the winners and hear more about the range of ingenious projects and events which will further develop digital skills while creating a culture of data transparency.

“It is encouraging to see the collaborative approach the winners have taken, working with community groups, businesses and local councils to optimise public sector data for research, outreach and innovation.”

Farset Labs is receiving £6,000 (as part of a budget of £11,000) to run the Data Art programme, including 6 Meetups, 6 Workshops and 4 Hackathons, and this budget allocation is directly to fund venue, refreshments, travel and equipment costs.

If you’d like to participate in the programme or help run the project, join the Meetup Group below or contact for more information.

Data Art NI

Belfast, GB
456 Data Artists

Meetup bringing artists, technologists and creatives together to show, tell, and learn about the collision between Data and Art.Learn about visualisation techniques, data agg…

Check out this Meetup Group →

Global Game Jam | 31st Jan – 2nd Feb 2020

Global Game Jam is back in the building to kick-off the new year!
Register your seat now!

Global Game Jam at Farset Labs is back again in 2020, with support from Northern Ireland Screen. The Game Jam will run from Friday 31st January to Sunday 2nd February – come meet some great people and develop a game idea in a weekend. With a party atmosphere from Friday night, there will be plenty of people there to team up with, create something interesting and (most importantly) to have fun!


A global simultaneous hackathon making games of all sorts, from full-scale console productions to mobile, web-based and embedded games, as well as table-top board- and card-games. Some will be just for fun, others for charitable causes like Games For Change, and none of them exist before this weekend!

Farset Labs has been running Northern Ireland’s largest regular public GGJ site since 2013, this year joining over 100 other countries taking part. We will be live streaming video from sites all over the world during the weekend, and there will also be an opportunity to see and play other teams’ games at the end of the event. The details of the venue are also available on our Global Game Jam listing.


We ask that you reserve your seat at Farset Labs on Eventbrite, so that we can get accurate numbers for our food orders (included in your registration).

You can then complete your Global Game Jam registration on or before Friday 31st January.

Global Game Jam is always very popular; so to avoid disappointment, book early!

Registration this year is £5.99 per person – registration will reserve your seat for the weekend as well as helping us to provide you with catered meals for the full weekend and unique GGJ Belfast goodies!

The theme is announced on-site at 5pm on Friday 31st January so we recommend everyone be in Farset before that time, or send word if you will be arriving later on. We look forward to seeing you all, as it will be a great weekend!


There is no required skill level or barrier for entry; we welcome programmers, artists, musicians and anyone else who might be interested in being involved! Bring yourself and your equipment – the organisers recommend that participants wait until the beginning of the event to form teams. We have found that this worked well in the past and gives interesting results.

Please note: You must be over 18 on the 31st of January to participate.

More information will be provided in the run-up, but please feel free to contact or ask us questions via Facebook or Twitter with the #farsetggj20 hashtag.

Brought to you to with support from Northern Ireland Screen.


Start/End: 31/1/18 @ 16:00 – 2/2/18 @ 20:00

Location: Farset Labs, 1 Weavers Court, Belfast

Farset Seat Reservation: [Eventbrite]

GGJ Site Listing: [GGJ 2020]

Facebook Event: []

Hashtags: #farsetggj20 #ggj20