Everybody’s Hacking: Participation and the Mainstreaming of Hackathons

Nick Taylor, Loraine Clarke

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

22 Citations (Scopus)
362 Downloads (Pure)


Hackathons have become a popular tool for bringing people together to imagine new possibilities for technology. Despite originating in technology communities, hackathons have now been widely adopted by a broad range of organisations. This mainstreaming of hackathons means they encompass a very different range of attendees and activities than they once did, to the extent that some events billed as hackathons may involve no coding at all. Given this shift away from production of code, they might instead be seen as an increasingly popular participatory design activity, from which designers and researchers in HCI can learn. Through fieldwork at six hackathons that targeted non-technical communities, we identify the types of activities and contributions that emerge through these events and the barriers and tensions that might exist. In doing so, we contribute a greater understanding of hackathons as a growing phenomenon and as a tool for participation both in the issues that are tackled and in the imagining of future technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2018
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781450356206, 9781450356213
ISBN (Print)9781450356206
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2018
EventCHI 2018 - Montreal, Canada
Duration: 21 Apr 201826 Apr 2018

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


ConferenceCHI 2018
Internet address


  • Co-design
  • Hackathons
  • Innovation
  • Jams
  • Making
  • Participatory design

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