“Tech isn’t for techies anymore, the digital revolution is for everyone”
The 6-day festival is bringing together people and technology in a spectacular series of events from 17 – 22 October aimed to inspire all – whether you are old or young, a fan of tech or new to the digital world.
Keen to find out how getting involved could help both fledgling and well-established tech businesses and entrepreneurs in the South West, we caught up with Jim Morrison, BDF organiser and founder of Bath-based digital agency Deep Blue Sky.
Inspired by the future
This year’s festival has big ambitions and, with Deep Blue Sky taking on the organisation of the many tech and digital events, it’s garnered such excitement from the South West tech community that its team has raised over £50,000 to put on a record number of talks.
Jim (pictured left) tells us: “It feels like we’re just at the beginning of an epic journey. Tech isn’t for techies any more, the digital revolution is for everyone. The rate of change in the digital sphere – its acceleration – is simply astonishing and this festival is about making sure everyone is aboard; individuals and businesses too, not just the technophiles.
“By showcasing what’s best about the South West’s contribution to the digital revolution we can show as many people as possible what’s just over the horizon and help them to prepare for and embrace that change.”
The hottest events
Of course, with almost 50 events packed into less than a week it can be hard to know where to start. Jim gives us some highlights: “We have so many events; either aimed directly at the tech community or aimed more broadly at businesses and their engagement with the digital economy.
“Get your hands dirty at Bath Hacked’s hack day or sit back and learn about Andrew Reynold’s hack of existing transport data”
“On Thursday I would challenge tech companies to open their minds to how they can do good with the technology they create.
“Friday is the day of the nerd – you can touch a Tesla or discuss the ethical challenges autonomous electric vehicles pose to society. In the evening why not join our roundtable event to learn how to survive in tomorrow’s digital economy.
“When the weekend comes around, get your hands dirty at Bath Hacked’s hack day or sit back and learn about Andrew Reynold’s hack of existing transport data – a subject pretty close to the hearts of those who live and work in Bath.”
The State of Digital Tech in Bath
TechSPARK will also be hosting an event for those keen to get involved with the region’s exciting tech and digital network. Bringing together a panel of founders, entrepreneurs and leaders in a classic brekkie format, this Thursday morning event will open up a discussion about the key issues facing Bath’s digital businesses and how we should face the future.
You can let fellow members know you’re attending by signing up on the BathSPARK meetup group, but you’ll also need to register via the Bath Digital Festival to secure your place.
An inclusive future
Ultimately, putting an emphasis on the existing and emerging talent in the South West, the festival aims to add to the ongoing growth of the South West’s tech cluster. As Jim explains: “I have long believed that the Bath and Bristol area is home to the perfect balance of tech and creative industries. As technology evolves one’s competitive edge becomes less about the pure technology and ever more so about creative applications of that technology.
“For the South West’s digital industry to thrive we need to do two things: First, we need to open the eyes of consumers – people and businesses – to the massive opportunities available for those brave enough to be creative with AI or to disrupt their own ways of working. Second, we need to attract the raw talent to the region needed to support our thriving digital industry – a talent that is in dangerously short supply.
“The festival is about showing off what our tech community is capable of today. But more than that, it’s about creating a platform to catalyse our region’s role in leading the growth of an economy that is increasingly reliant on what we techies do.”
With inclusivity at its core, the festival has focused on making both its events and the cost of a ticket as accessible as possible. A wristband for the entire 6-days costs just £15 (although you’ll have to book in advance for some of the more popular events to be guaranteed a spot).