Brighton Digital Festival, the UK’s largest celebration of digital culture, came to an end on Friday 30th September following a trailblazing month of exhibitions, installations, conferences, workshops and performances.
Now in its sixth year, the month long festival hosted its largest programme yet, with more than 75 organisers holding 196 events across the city throughout September.
EDF Energy was premier sponsor for the Brighton Digital Festival in 2016 and have confirmed their commitment into 2017. It was also supported with sponsorship from Vodafone, Brilliant Noise, Brandwatch and Wired Sussex. These commercial partnerships have helped grow the festival alongside continued support from Arts Council England and Brighton & Hove City Council. A new partnership with the University of Brighton will also increase the festival’s reach in the city’s thriving academic community in the coming years.
Tense – a digital discourse, provided an evening of discussions from digital artists and curators suffering and living with chronic pain. Deaf dancer and choreographer, Chisato Minamimura showcased a brand new score and digital dance piece, Passages of Time, offering a new perspective to the hearing world.
Also prevalent has been a commitment to narrowing the gender gap within the technology industry. Local branch of the award-winning global organization SheSays, invited five women in business to share their big ideas with an audience of 200 women at their sold-out conference and networking event.
Radio // Future Sounds also returned for a second year exploring the future of audio information and radio with a panel discussing women and diversity in radio. At Phoenix, Technology is Not Neutral, looked at the contribution of female artists in shaping what digital art is today. And, Nishma Robb, head of ads marketing and chair of Women@Google UK, discussed the power of communication in changing gender stereotypes at Dots, Brilliant Noise’s one-day summit.
Other events throughout the month included a wide-range of digital performances, prestigious conferences, interactive art exhibitions and educational events, with the collective aim of bringing everyone and anyone, local and international to the core of Brighton and Hove’s creative cluster.
Laurence Hill, Brighton Digital Festival manager said: “ 2016 has been a banner year for BDF – our first as an independent Community Interest Company and the biggest to date. I have been genuinely thrilled by the range of events that have been run by independent organisers in the city, as well as the contributions we were able to deliver through the arts and education strands with funding from The Arts Council, University of Brighton and Brighton and Hove City Council.
“We’re already working on 2017 and beyond and there are exciting times ahead – watch this space,” concludes Laurence.
One of the festival’s main talking points was Virtual Reality. Presented in partnership with leading VR developers Make [Real], VRLAB was a stellar three-day fully immersive experience at The Old Market, featuring more than 15 VR installations. For many it was the first experience of VR technology.
A total of 24 educational events took place throughout the month for kids of all ages, including city-planning sessions using Minecraft, games developing workshops and live-music coding hosted by one of Brighton’s youngest female tech developers, Rosa Fox. Brighton Digital Festival commissioned 6 events this year including PenguinPig, which explored concerns of internet safety for very young, pre-school children.
Many events have already confirmed their return to Brighton Digital Festival 2017, which is now entering planning stages.