The North’s Digital Spring – ‘ThinkingFuturesonicbTWEENLSxDigital’
The five great cities of the North are buzzing with conferences and festivals as we close out the Spring and head into Summer…
- 5th May – 3rd June: LSx, Leeds' annual web festival returns for its sophomore year with the FOWA Tour, its third BarCamp and a Physical Computing workshop.
- 13 – 17th May: Newcastle's Thinking Digital & BarCamp North East. TD continutes to attract some stella speakers; this year's highlights will be Johnny Chung Lee, Tara Hunt, Alex Sonsino and local geek hero Tom Scott (who'll also be MC'ing BarCamp Leeds)
- 13 – 16th May: Manchester's Futuresonic festival enters its final year, before it transforms into FutureEverything in 2010. The lineup looks amazing with sessions from old acquaintances Stowe Boyd, Ensembli, Stefan Agamanolis and Lee Bryant, along with Jamais Cascio and Usman Haque.
- 11 – 12th June: Liverpool plays host to this year's bTWEEN, previously held in Manchester and Bradford.
- 19 – 21st June: Sheffield's third BarCamp rounds out the Digital Spring.
There's been a little controversy at the overlapping schedules and content – but personally, I think it's cool. Every city's conference or festival has something unique to offer…Manchester's music, Newcastle's ingest of global speakers, Leeds' student show and grassrootsy content, bTWEEN's media focus and Sheffield's newly minted Digital Campus. But the overlaps might actually be helpful as speakers like Stowe Boyd can commit to a few weeks touring across the North and various events, the same way ETech and SxSW's proximity make for a productive conference season in the US.
Ian Forrester is encouraging LSx, Futuresonic, TD and bTWEEN to coordinate more closely next year, so there's great potential to cross-promote and synchronise where we can.
Katie Lips, in her own unique fashion, is attempting to bring some harmony, between TD and Futuresonic in particular, by running a Tech Bus Tour between both conferences (via Leeds!)
2010 already looks like a promising year as FutureEverything spools up and LSx seeks to merge with Live At Leeds…now where will bTWEEN end up in '010?