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Press release

  • 25 April 2007

Festival Fringe fun for programmers at Creativity Zone

Computer programmers are invited to team up and hone their coding skills at a Brighton Coding Dojo night at the University of Sussex, on Thursday 10 May.

A dojo is a hall for martial arts training, but at this event the InQbate Creativity Zone - part of the new Centre of Excellence for Teaching and Learning at the University of Sussex - offers a multimedia practice ground for anyone interested in the art of computer coding, gaming, problem-solving and programming.

The Sussex Creativity Zone is a flexible space that offers personal, educational and technical support, along with resources including multimedia equipment and specialised lighting that can be used in a variety of configurations. It is intended that this will support more innovative and effective teaching and learning in both the Creativity Zone and in other teaching spaces on campus.

The Creativity Zone features a programme of "Creativity Cafes" and drop-in sessions, organised each term, to allow people to come and play, see, experience and develop ideas for using the zone. The space is fully interactive and is specially designed for collaboration.

The idea of a dojo for computer programmers was created by Laurent Bossavit and Emmanuel Gaillot, who set up a French Coding Dojo in Paris. It has been running weekly since January 2005. The reasoning behind the movement is that computer programming is an art form that needs to be practised. Therefore, the concept of the martial art kata (system of exercises) was applied to programming - and the place to practise became known as the coding dojo.

Brighton Coding Dojo, a group which meets fortnightly to solve coding problems, is run by University of Sussex postgraduate student Joh Hunt. The Dojo group has been running for six months and is the only regular, established group in the UK.

At each session, up to 12 participants work on a problem using a computer attached to a projector. Two programmers address the challenge of the week, one acting as driver and one as navigator. They lead the whole group through the exercise. If the group fails to understand, then the pair must pause to explain. One half of the pair is swapped out every five minutes. The computer language to be used and the problem to be solved vary from session to session.

People who want to come along and contribute can add their name to the list for any particular session. There is no membership but spaces are strictly limited to 12.

Katy Howland, of InQbate at University of Sussex, says: "We are working alongside the local coding dojo programming group to provide a unique environment to allow students and professionals to work together and learn from each other while tackling some fun tasks using Agile programming methods. It should be a great night!"

Although some basic knowledge of programming concepts is preferred, participants do not need to be proficient in any one computer language. The evening also includes a buffet dinner. Everyone is welcome. Tickets are £3 (Concessions £2). The night is sponsored by the Agile Alliance, University of Sussex and Future Platforms Ltd, and is organised by volunteers.

Notes for editors

University of Sussex Press office contacts: Maggie Clune or Jacqui Bealing. Tel: 01273 706199 or email

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