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A Review of CultureTech Festival 2012

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by Startacus Admin

Startacus member Gavin Strawbridge was in attendance at the CultureTECH festival that took place in Derry last week. Here is his review...

The first ever CultureTech Festival took place in Derry/Londonderry from 29th August to 1st September 2012. There was a great buzz around the city throughout the 4 day event and there was also a great buzz on Twitter too.

Over the course of the festival there were numerous speakers, showcases and workshopsheld at all sorts of locations throughout the city. There were several notable keynote speakers including:CultureTECH

Ben Hammersley the UK Prime Minister’s Ambassador to TechCity who made an exciting and significant announcement that Digital Derry has now been twinned with London’s TechCity. (More details on that can be found here)

Other keynote speakers included Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Managing Director of the Barbican Centre, Kath Mainland and Andrew Coulton from the Fringe Festival, Edinburgh, Anita Stokes from Lucasfilm and Niamh Reynolds from Google.

The theme of the first day was “Online marketing for the Rest of Us” and featured talks from many local Northern Ireland companies including Jill Robb from Ambition Digital, Niamh McElhatton from Digital Advertising NI, Ciaran Doherty from Tourism Ireland, Dr Larry Taylor from BT Ireland and Nichola Bates from Grow Sales Online.

This is just a few of the speakers who took part but there were many more. However apart from listening to the talks, there were so many other things to do throughout the festival - from participating in numerous Workshops and Gaming events through to attending one of the many Music events that took place over the course of the 4 days. I tried to attend as many of these events as possible; however it was quite difficult as many ran simultaneously. Some of the events that I did manage to attend were:

CultureTECHSeedComp - This was a competition to find the North West’s most promising digital business ideas. There was a £10,000 prize for the winner and 2 runners up prizes of £5,000. The SeedComp winners for 2012 was ROTOR. Rotor was an app that would allow you to record videos from live gigs and it would attach the music to the video.

Huub.It launch party - I am pleased to say that I was part of the special team for Hubb IT and attended their launch party with many others. This was a particularly exciting time for the founders, Catherine Morris and Breda Doherty as they were Seedcomp runners up last year and one year on they have launched their business with many people now actually using the site.

Liverpool Sound City – Niall from Liverpool Sound City organised a good night with a number of local bands from the city.

Secret Film – I attend one of the Secret Film events that took place during the festival. The film that I attended was the Rocky Horror Picture Show and it was an experience! There were people dressed up as various cast members and they in the usual spirit of these things, acted out their roles while the film was being shown.

CultureTech was not however just for the professional - there were many events for children to partake in as well; although most of these did take place on the final day, Saturday. Some of the main events that took place for children were:

Coder Dojo – This was an event for children aged between 10-14 who had an interest in programming. It was excellent to go and see children being so keen and getting actively involved in programming at such a young age.

Digital Funfair -This was a funfair for children that took place at the same time as a major music event that took place in the Guildhall Square in the centre of the city.The headline act was the acclaimed Belfast performer Duke Special.

Local startup Publishers, Dog Ears also held a launch party to mark the publication of their second book, Puffins’ Rock - again an excellent event for young children,

Overall, CultureTech was a good event and was good for the city. All those who attended do hope that it will return bigger and better in 2013; however we will have to wait and see. If it does come back as we hope, I would highly recommend anyone with an interest in digital technology, culture and the arts to grab a ticket and come along!

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Published on: 6th September 2012

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