Showcasing digital expertise

Researchers across the University are preparing to showcase their digital expertise as part of a packed programme for the largest tech event in the UK. Leeds Digital Festival (LDF) has announced the full schedule for its latest instalment of the hugely popular tech showcase, with 300 events taking place from next Monday until Friday 1 October.

Now in its sixth year, LDF is an open, collaborative festival celebrating digital culture in all its forms, with events covering fintech, coding, social media, artificial intelligence (AI), healthtech and more.

Due to the pandemic, last year’s festival was split into two virtual sets of programmes, attracting in excess of 45,000 attendees from more than 60 countries as far afield as Benin, Peru and Kazakhstan. 

The 2021 edition will take a hybrid approach, with festival organisers looking forward to reintroducing physical events to run alongside the virtual programme, helping to build its growing reputation on both a national and global scale.

As one of the festival’s main sponsors, the University is hosting eight free events (see below for full details).

Carol Elston, Head of the Digital Education Service at the University, said: “We’re delighted to be sponsoring Leeds Digital Festival, celebrating digital culture and the breadth of collaboration across Leeds City Region and beyond.

“As digital skills become more embedded in the ways we reimagine life and work, the importance of innovation, partnership and community grows. The University is proud to help foster these values as we lead our own digital transformation and invest in the online learning and digital tools and systems staff and students need in a digital-savvy world.”

Supporting regional business growth

Professor Krsto Pandza and Dr Josh Morton will offer practical guidance into the potential benefits and pitfalls of a participative strategy process, as enabled by digital technologies

Professor Sarah Underwood, Director of External Engagement in LUBS, said: “The Business School is a real game changer in supporting regional businesses’ growth by ensuring that the local workforce has the skills to thrive in today’s fast-changing digital environment.

“We aim to bridge the gap between academia and industry, and this year we’ve brought together five events for the digital festival, which all focus on digital strategy and transformation and aim to share the latest research and knowledge with industry experts. 

“Through these events, we’re also excited to make some new connections with industry partners that can help contribute to future research in this area. If anyone is interested in working with the Business School, we’d love for them to get in touch.”

Insightful debates

Nexus – the University’s innovation hub – will stage discussions ranging from who can access our data to why the Leeds City Region is fast becoming the destination of choice for global innovative start-ups.

This Nexus event discusses whether we should be concerned about who has access to our data

Nexus Director Dr Martin Stow said: “Leeds is an outstanding centre and innovation ecosystem of digital excellence, and we’re delighted to once again celebrate the vibrant digital scene across our region, as part of the Leeds Digital Festival. 

“Last year saw a hugely successful virtual festival, and this year we’re looking forward to adding to that, by hosting speakers and guests in the Nexus building for what I know will be some highly informative and insightful debates on the future of consumer data and how businesses can access vital early-stage and seed funding. 

“The power of Leeds City Region in terms of community and connections continues to inspire me, and I know that hybrid events like this are fundamental to reaching a wider international audience, as well as enabling a diverse range of participants to benefit from the expertise and insights they bring. 

“Leeds Digital Festival celebrates digital culture in all its forms – from the newest start-ups to global companies – and creates a platform to demonstrate the major contribution tech makes to our regional economy. The Nexus team is thrilled to play our part in that celebration.”

Commenting on the line-up, Festival Director Stuart Clarke said: “Having so many quality events is a real testament to the innovative tech firms in the Leeds City Region, and we can’t wait to show off the talent we have here to a global audience.
 
“The Leeds Digital Festival has become the largest tech event in the UK because of its open nature, and has now been endorsed by the government as an important agenda-setting event, where anyone from the newest start-up to tech unicorns can take part to help shape the future of digital for the benefit of everyone.”

Source: University of Leeds

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