Paul Mobbs, working in 'The Container', 2003

The Container Project

Container Project logo
In 2003, I travelled to Jamaica for a month to assist in training and building "The Container", a community-based computer and media arts project based in Palmer's Cross, Clarendon. These pages document my visit in the photographs I took whilst the project was under construction, and in the music video that I made of the launch party.

For more recent pictures and information see the official Container Project web site at

If you're curious you can also find Palmer's Cross on Google Mapsthe location of The Container is marked with a green arrow.

The Old Shop

What's "The Container"?

The Container is a project to develop a community computing centre in a 40-foot ISO container. The Jamaican-based project aims to 'repatriate technology' by giving people access to information technologies, and the skills to manipulate them, to serve their own purposes – for example, developing their own recording centres.

Inside The Container in April The idea, and the project that enacted it, was evolved by Mervin Jarman – a digital artist who grew up in Palmer's Cross. He's taken the project forward since my involvement, involving more people, and in 2008 won the Stockholm Challenge Award for "lifelong learning using ICT for community development" (for a more detailed interview with Mervin, watch the video at the end of the page).

Outside the container I was asked to get involved with the project because as well as a background in working with communities/community education initiatives, I'd also done a lot of work with developing computer resources from scrap as part of the Free Range Network's Community-Linux Training Centre project – a mobile ICT training system designed for use with community groups in the UK. I travelled to Jamaica – with the financial support of Media Arts Projects – and worked there during late April and early May 2003. As well as rebuilding computers and building the network, I also trained volunteers in reclaiming hardware and documented the process in photographs and video.

My Palmer's Cross photo-diary

Photo-diary: Everyone's working!
First Report, 16th April 2003

Arriving in Jamaica, and the first day at "The Container".

Photo-diary: Well, we've got a car park now!
Second Report, 17th April 2003

More work on The Container, and the first system is installed.

Photo-diary: Welding by night
Third Report, 19th April 2003

Beginning to put the computer systems together.

Photo-diary: Installing the server
Fourth Report, 22nd April 2003

Getting somewhere, but users start getting in the way!

Photo-diary: Getting the first client machine working
Fifth Report, 23rd/24th April 2003

The slow and painful process of getting the client machines operating.

Photo-diary: Camille and Mike talk to Lisa about developments
Sixth Report, 25th April 2003

Making progress on installation, and Camille and Mike arrive

Photo-diary: Carrot the sound man!
Seventh Report, 26th April 2003

Activities in The Container increase

Photo-diary: 'Little boxes, little boxes...'
Eighth Report, 27th-29th April 2003

Countdown to the launch – almost finished!

Photo-diary: It works!
Ninth Report, 30th April 2003 – Launch Day

The Container is HERE!

Photo-diary: A training session
Tenth Report, 1st-5th May 2003

The last five days in Jamaica – a trip to Kingston to spread the message!

"Computers in Cross" (April 2003)

The music video of the project
A 3min 44sec video that mixes a performance by 'The Weblink Crew' at the launch of The Container, with video taken during the installation of the computer systems. Available as a 6.8 megabyte MP4 video file or a 6.5 megabyte Ogg/Theorea video file (download to your hard disk and view locally). You can also download a 2.7 megabyte MP3 file of the audio from the Weblink Crew's performance.

Linux magazine coverage in 2003

Linux Magazine Article on The Container
which came out as a result of some work I did
immediately after my return.

April 2009: The Container goes from strength to strength

Mervin has continued to develop The Container idea, and now is starting to get the brilliance of his vision for "repatriating technology" recognised.

View the YouTube video for a lot more information on what has happened at The Container since 2003, and on Mervin's future ideas for development.

For this and related videos on The Container and Mervin's work goto YouTube –

2011: Mervin gets his bin!

A few years ago mervin got in touch for ideas of how to put a power supply in a wheelie bin to run a PC. Seems that he's got his bin. See this Vimeo video for details.