Creativity Month 2018 – Idea Jam and Bog Standard

As part of the Department of Communities “Creativity Month 2018”, Farset are coordinating two workshop-style events this year, continuing our now 5 year track record of delivering awesome weirdness! Bog Standard and IdeaJam, both kindly supported by the Department of Communities NI


Ideas. We’ve all got ‘em, rattling around in our busy, distracted heads.

On Saturday 31st March, 10am – 10pm, Farset Labs will host IDEA JAM – a chance for creators, designers and developers to clear all distractions and finally sculpt that secret, nebulous idea you’ve been chipping away at for years into that’s ready to pitch and take it to the next level.

You might be harbouring a business, a novel, a video game, a TV pilot, a children’s book or a screenplay… it’s there, hiding behind grocery lists, bank statements and status updates.

It’s time to finally get that idea out of your head and into the world, so you can actually do something real with it.

Artists, developers and other screen industry experts will be on hand to help transfer your concept from brain to pitch, whether it’s a story arc, synopsis, sketch or sizzle reel… and maybe even tell you where to take it next.


The schedule is pretty informal, as this is your time for your idea. Meals will be catered through the day, starting with breakfast at 9:30am. Industry mentors with experience of pitching business, film and game concepts will be available from 10:00am to guide you in fleshing out your idea into something that you can pitch and develop.

By 10:00pm your goal is to have your concept realised, and even ready to pitch to others!

Book your seat now!

Bog Standard – Rethinking the Humble Bathroom

Thus 22nd March, 5:30pm – 10pm

How would you build a better bog? What factors go into improving a service or product?

Design thinking is a buzz phrase that is often thrown around, but what does it really mean? This evening workshop applies design thinking concepts in a concrete manner; exploring the design considerations of the humble bathroom.

Through iterative explorations facilitated by experienced Design Thinking Practitioners, and the use of empathy generating techniques and ideation tools; a mix of attendees from all backgrounds will be encouraged to explore the impact of changing societal, technical and practical needs in a familiar context, all while additional “Chaos Factors” are added over the course of the evening to keep things interesting!

Book your throne now!

FailFast: Come and Play with Ideas on Makers’ Day, part of Belfast Design Week

Twitter FailWhale Artistic Painting
Artistic interpretation of the classic FailWhale, celebrating the inevitability of failure in the fast-moving tech world. Source: ka-92

Fail fast, fail cheap.

Or is it “fail fast, fail often”?

On Saturday, 7 Nov we’re uniting with some of our friends, including The Design Salon and The Potting Shed, for an all-day event, as part of the first ever Belfast Design Week. You’re invited to join us in a creative, hands-on, welcoming environment, as we all take the journey from idea to soup.

Event Summary: Sat 7 Nov 2015 // 10:00 until late (12:30 – 16:00 at Farset) // Register here: FailFast: Makers’ Day Field Trip to Farset Labs // It’s all FREE OF CHARGE.

Yes, soup. We will begin the day at The Hive, venture over to Farset in the afternoon, then end up back at The Hive for a pitching session, while we enjoy some hot refreshment with Belfast Soup. Mmm, soup.

Then we’ll all go to the pub. Mmm, beer.

That Saturday of Design Week is designated as Makers’ Day so roll up your sleeves and come f*@k things up with us. You don’t need to consider yourself a designer or maker to get value out of the day. It’s a good chance to make some smart, creative friends and take part in the fascinating process of developing ideas.

Here’s the planned Itinerary:

  • 10:00 – 12:00: The Potting Shed @The Hive : Bring your new or existing idea to the Potting Shed team and get their multidisciplinary input on how to make it happen or bring it to its full potential.
  • 12.30: Walk from The Hive to Farset Labs.
  • 13:00 – 16:00: FailFast @ Farset Labs: taking the ideas and designing prototypes to see how they might function in reality.
  • 16:00: Walk back from Farset Labs to The Hive.
  • 17:00 – 19:00: Belfast Soup @ The Hive: Buy some soup and pitch your ideas for the chance to win some startup money to make it happen!
  • 19:00 – Collapse: Drinks at The Sunflower.

And here is the official page and links to register for other parts of the day.

For our part, we’re going to focus on that challenging step in the creative process where you have to get your idea out of your head and into the world so it can be given a chance to fail. During the workshop we’ll talk about what prototyping involves, and look at the recent revolution in rapid prototyping, assisted by technologies like 3D printers and the internet. Then we’ll stop talking and play – making simple prototypes with paper and pen and whatever we have to hand.

You can come to all or just part of the day’s events. Or just meet us in the pub in the evening. Mmm beer. There’s no charge but please register if you’re coming so we know the numbers. And we’re seeking techie, creative and communicative people to be in the room to help facilitate progress – please contact me if you can help.

We’re calling it FailFast to resurrect an old project that never got much momentum. I guess you could say it failed, rather fast. But that’s the whole point. There’s a popular sentiment in the entrepreneurial world that failure is a big part of innovation and creativity. So much so that it has become trendy. Most ideas don’t grow into anything substantial. Most startups collapse. The important thing is to try – develop your idea, get your prototype out into the world, see if it works and iterate on its development, and do so as quickly and cheaply as possible. It will probably fail so if you want something to succeed, fail fast, fail cheap and fail often. So yeh, we’re calling it FailFast.

Oh, and it rhymes with Belfast. Sort of.

Creativity Month, and the Need for Cross-Pollination

Design is often neglected: Kyle Gawley from GetInvited
Design is often neglected: Kyle Gawley from GetInvited

This past month, we’ve been involved in DCAL’s Creativity Month, in association with Creativity NI.

This allowed us to experiment with ways to bring the general maker and creative community together, through our Makers Meetup programme (which we’ll be continuing as a basic social event), the Bring and Buy sale (that was decimated by unprecedented weather), and our upcoming DIY Guitar Pedal Workshop (which still have spaces available if you order quickly! We have to close sales tomorrow!).

We’ve also been getting involved in other Creativity Month events; I went to Blick Studios Creative Camp. There was a fantastic array of speakers and activities (And Munchies!), and while I had to dart off soon after lunch (Due to our Club Mate arrival…), I was honoured to be speaking about our little lab.

As with most speaking events, the Q&A is often more interesting than the speaking; one of the thrusts of my discussion was the siloed nature of Northern Ireland’s Creative and Technical Industries; Web Developers talk to Web Designers, Typographers talk to Graphic Artists, and Electronics-heads talk to Radio-heads, but rarely do these silos of talent and experience actually get pierced and mixed.

I suppose if there was an ‘aim’ for Farset, from my perspective, it is to provide an even ground for these silos to interact on. Between our Gathering of Lightning member-driven speaker series to our varied range of hackathons, we are trying to make people mix, because that’s where the best ideas come from; the intersection of two (or more) experience spaces.

Andrew Bolster, waxing lyrical
Andrew Bolster, waxing lyrical

That’s why I would implore you to get involved in what we’re trying to do. This isn’t about software or electronics or computers or gaming or whatever. This isn’t about making money; we’re all running on passion (and Caffeine!). This isn’t about stealing people’s ideas or scooping up equity. This isn’t about chasing funding at the expense of your ethics.

At its core it’s about sharing knowledge, experience, and inspiration across the full range of STEAM* areas for not just the ‘next generation’ with our CoderDojo and Outreach programmes, but also the current and past generations of industry leaders in the creative and technical arts.

Creativity Month was a risk for us to take on; we’re not an art house, we are a collective of the “Creative-Technically Minded”, which doesn’t exactly make it easy to tick bureaucratic boxes and stay honest…

The act of creation and ideation is universal across art and science and engineering and business. Aspects from one area can complement and enhance others.

Only through mixing the melting pot of talent we have in this wee country do we have a hope of a prosperous, and happy, shared future. So please, get involved. Join the labs, Come to an Event or Workshop, or even just share this page to someone you think needs a bit of inspiration.

Thank you.


*Science, Technology, Engineering/Entrepreneurship, Art and Mathematics

DIY Guitar Pedal Workshop

Creativity Month is supported by DCAL and operated by the Nerve Centre
Creativity Month is supported by DCAL and operated by the Nerve Centre

As part of Creativity Month, we have invited the _maker collective up from Dublin to walk attendees through how to build a fuzz distortion pedal from start to finish on Saturday the 30th of March. The workshops are aimed at beginners to D.I.Y. electronics and we cover all the essential skills that you will allow you to create your own electronic instruments and effects for you to take home and love!

These classes are normally priced at £60 for normal tickets and £50 for concessions (seniors, students), however, thanks to support from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure under their Creativity Month programme, we’re able to subsidise this down to £45 / £35 per person, the concession price includes Farset Labs members, and refreshments will be provided at the event.

Guitarists are encouraged to bring their instruments and a small amp if they have them to play / test with.

Please sign up early as we need to confirm numbers by Saturday the 23rd!

You will be invoiced after signing up via email and payment must be made in advance or you may lose your booking

UPDATE: Due to slow uptake we’re extending the booking deadline. The course WILL be going ahead regardless of additional attendance, and late attendance is not guaranteed.

Eventbrite - Creativity Month:DIY Guitar Pedal Workshop