What Is Moss Code?
Moss Code is the future. Our goal is to introduce computer coding lessons here in Moss Side where it’s sometimes a struggle to stay afloat in hard times. It means exploring programming languages with exotic-sounding names like Scratch, Lisp and Ruby on Rails. People here are unlikely to have access to 3D printers, Arduinos “maker spaces”, despite the thirst. This grassroots project is a baby step in restoring the balance.
Scratching The Surface
Moss Side – and places like it – are left off the map when we discuss where we think the future lies. Scratch the surface of places like these and there are stories to tell. Settled by African seaman in the first half of the twentieth century, Black people came in waves after fighting the Second World War. Their arrival met with institutional racism and resistance, but these pioneers made lasting contributions that moved British society forwards.
Moss Side hosted the 1945 Pan African Congress, a conference of politics and thought that lay the ground for the “Winds Of Change” that foreshadowed the successful independence struggles for African nationhood in the middle of the last century.
As the code-cracking heroics performed at Bletchley Park at the dawn of the computer age fade into history, it’s a fair question to wonder whether this country can compete in the era of the Web. Tim Berners-Lee may be a Brit, but we didn’t do much with that; instead, we collect cast-off ideas from Silicon Valley like a digital Rag & Bone Man. It’s not enough to have a great idea when access to resources and expertise is so throttled by the crust of class and privilege. In reality, tales of California wunderkinds boot-strapping billion dollar startups from a garage on little more than genius, caffeine and a drive to create the next billion-dollar company are a mirage, but make a rollicking good read! Every culture needs it’s origin myth. What we’re left with here are warmed-over ideas, Like London’s Silicon Roundabout – packed to the rafters with Red Brick university graduates and well-to-do kids from the metropolis. We can do better.
Moss Side. Photo: Alex Pepperhill
Futures are born here too, in terraces and community centres far away from the sprawling steel-and-glass buildings that Google and Microsoft call home. Under-resourced Manchester districts well off the radar of The Verge and Wired magazine can give birth to The Next Big Thing – or just wonderful little things. There’s energy here. We need our own vision, and it’s made in places like this.