Viva Computer! New festival and exhibition opens at the Centre for Computing History

A new festival and exhibition opens next week at the Cambridge Centre for Computing History, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Viva Computer! records the memories of the engineers, inventors, microchip designers, game developers, tech entrepeneurs and end users who have helped create the high-tech world we live in today.*


Come along to celebrate this project through the new exhibition and a great range of activities!

The Centre writes:

Learn to Code with Eben Upton

02 July 2016, 11am - 12pm

Come and build yourself a Digital Alarm Clock! On 02 June we'll be turning our Hauser Studio into an Electronics Lab. We'll have soldering stations set-up and our in-house electronics expert will help you assemble, solder and test your Alarm Clock kit ready to take home with you.

Raspberry Pi: Britain's Biggest Selling Computer

02 July 2016, 2pm - 3pm

Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton tells the story of the Raspberry Pi project and how it fits into the history of computing in Cambridge – and particularly the design of computer hardware.

Come, See and Make History!

02 & 03 July 2016, 10am - 5pm

Explore high-tech tales of the computing pioneers, software wizards, innovative engineers, gamers and entrepreneurs who made Cambridge the nation’s foremost tech hub. And make history of your own by joining our ‘great gadget’ vox-pop, recorded for posterity.

Take a Tablet and Feel Young Again!

09 July 2016, 11am - 12:30pm

Thinking of joining the grandchildren and buying yourself a tablet? This session shows you how a tablet can be good for the over 50s too! Definitely for newcomers to the world of tablet computers, it includes lots of ideas and applications for making the very best of your new toy and showing the kids a thing or two.

Shoot, Edit, Upload Your Family!

09 July 2016, 10am - 5pm

Film your Mum and Dad talking about the wacky tech stuff they used in the 70s, 80s and 90s (yes, we have brick phones, Walkmans and Amstrad Em@ilers on hand!). Then they can film you talking about the downsized digital wonders you use today. We’ll give advice on shooting, editing and uploading your family’s tech musings.

Workshop - We:Code

10 July 2016, 2pm - 4pm

Do you remember sitting round a BBC Micro in the 80s with your Mum and Dad, learning to code using Usborne’s classic computer programming books? Now you can revisit the past – bring your kids along to try out Usborne’s 80s coding books on our BBC Micros, and learn how to code the old-fashioned way.

Talk - Play Safe, Stay Safe, Helping Children Avoid Online Predators

14 July 2016, 6:30pm

Lorin LaFave’s son Breck loved gaming, but in 2014 he was groomed, lured to a meeting, then murdered by an online predator at the age of just 14. Lorin set up the Breck Foundation to raise awareness of online grooming, and show youngsters how to play safe.


23 & 24 July 2016, 10am - 5pm

Come and try the synthesizers, samplers and drum machines that changed the way music is created. This weekend will explore how computers and digital equipment changed the music industry. With classic keyboards, Raspberry Pi computers running Sonic Pi, BBC Micros with sound programming guides, and Apple Macs that let you remix music with bananas… there’s something for all!

Talk - Digital Glitches

24 July 2016, time to be confirmed

With a bit of electronic surgery, rewiring and soldering, old drum machines, electronic toys and synths were customised in the 80s and 90s to create audio magic and mayhem.  Sound magician Richard Atkinson explores the history of beat...

Workshop - Gadget Hack

28 July 2016, 2pm

This is a fun and insightful workshop for those curious about what's inside the gadgets that we use every day!  We'll have a whole bunch of tech from phones and music players to laptops and computers, that you can take apart and explore. Our in-house tech expert will be on hand to help you understand how objects work and how tech has evolved from the simple days of tape recorders to modern MP3 players and mobile phones.

Game On: The Guided Tour!

29 July 2016, 2pm - 2:30pm & 2:45pm - 3:15pm

During these special 30-minute tours, our in-house gaming experts will guide you through the history of videogames from the 1970s to the modern day.

Workshop - Build Your Own Game with Unity

30 July 2016, 10am - 4pm

Did you know that Pillars of Eternity, Angry Birds, Grow Home and Cities: Skylines were all designed using the Unity game development platform? This Unity workshop will help you develop your own indie game with graphics, sound and a sprinkling of mechanical mayhem!

Family Gaming Evening with Nintendo Life

30 July 2016, 3pm - 10pm

Join the fine folks from Nintendo Life for an evening of Nintendo-related fun, frolics and general gaming goodness for all the family. Those who attend will have the chance to play all of Nintendo’s classic consoles, including the NES, Game Boy, SNES, N64 and even the mighty Virtual Boy. There will be systems sourced from multiple regions around the world along with special multiplayer areas for classics like Pac-Man Vs., GoldenEye and a host of Mario Kart entries

Workshop - Build Your Own Adventure Game

31 July 2016, 11am - 12:30pm

Twine is a brilliant tool for constructing interactive online stories. Come along and learn to use it to build a tale of dragons, spaceships or spies (or maybe all three!) that your friends can then play through.


*The interviews with these figures, which form the core of this exhibition, are freely available on the Viva Computer! audio-visual archive (

If you have any queries, get in touch at, or by phone on 01223 214446 


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