Abandon Normal Devices – ‘Digital Caravans/Balloon Vortex’

A cutting edge digital media project on two sites – Whitehaven Harbour and the Civic Hall – Abandon Normal Devices brought their spirit of innovation and fun to Cumbria, with over a thousand people attending. ‘Mobile Republic’ featured the world’s smallest blue screen studio, a performance space and a cinema, very impressive for five modernised caravans arranged in a wagon-circle.

The project was sponsored by a partnership of three nationally renowned arts organisations (Fact, Liverpool; folly, Lancaster; and Cornerhouse, Manchester), and a not-for-profit sound and arts music company – Octopus Collective. Their aim was to bring their festival to Whitehaven as the first stage of a nationwide tour in 2013, and an international tour in 2014.

Ruth McCullough, festival producer, said: “This was the first mobile touring project AND has commissioned, so through this we have gained invaluable commissioning, production and presentation skills that we will invest in the future of the project and how we commission and produce projects. It allowed us to present challenging artwork in new contexts to a wide and diverse audience, that will influence how we programme and engage audiences moving forward”.


5 part time jobs created
1000 visitors attracted to Copeland
£100,000 additional funding drawn to the area
20 new volunteering opportunities
12 local people assisted in their skills development


To support the retention of talent in the region and attract the most innovative artists into the region to make new work, share the latest thinking and develop mutually beneficial knowledge transfer partnerships

To develop audiences for digital culture, encouraging people to participate and feel ownership of the programme

To create access to new networks for regional audiences and producers

To extend our network of partnerships across science, arts, sports, higher education and public sector/private sector (health, housing, education and youth)