Techies in Residence - Just who are CultureTECH
CultureTECH was established in Spring 2012 with generous support from the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce.
As well as hosting the largest technology and creative industries event in Northern Ireland, they also run one of the largest education outreach programmes and have a strong track record in delivering a variety of innovation programmes across technology, the arts and social innovation.
The first CultureTECH festival took place in 2012 as a pilot event, and with a small conference, some digital art, an outdoor gig and a smattering of gaming, 12,000 people too part across a weekend.
Over the next few years, the festival expanded and morphed, as did the venues and reach.
The 2014 festival reached nearly 43,000 people, growing beyond the 3 days of 2012 to becoming a week with events taking place in everything from pop-up venues to community centres, bars to conference halls.
It also grew beyond the city of Derry-Londonderry, with events happening across Northern Ireland, with over 130 partner organisations spanning academia, commerce and creativity taking part.
The programme of events now encompasses everything from the serious to the downright irreverent- as well as training 1,300 digital champions to creating 260 new Jedis and forming an orchestra of fruit based instruments.
Over the last three years our focus has shifted squarely towards working with young people (over 75% of the festival audience is under 25) encouraging them to get creative with technology across a range of cultural domains and creative industries to help create the next generation of creative technologists, as well as promoting cross collaboration between sectors, which is where our track record at delivering programmes comes in.
The Techies in Residence programme represents the largest “in Residence” programme that CultureTECH has managed, having done smaller programmes with arts organisations in 2013 and specifically performing arts organisations in 2014.
These programmes saw 12 organisations have a “techie” embedded in the organisation, to work on theoretical solutions to problems that the organisations faced.
As well as promoting developed relationships between the digital and arts sectors in Northern Ireland, this also gave us a taste for what could come of such a collaborative approach.
As well as the In Residence programmes, CultureTECH has also launched a number of programmes in the last few years. The first of these is IGNITN, a platform for creative challenges, competitions and competitive funding opportunities in technology, arts & culture, media and society.
This has facilitated programmes involving groups such as Forbairt Feirste- the West Belfast Tourist agency, to the NI Open Data Challenge- a means of using publicly held data for the public good and also the TMED Health Challenge- aimed at encouraging collaboration between the health and wellbeing sector and technology and design industries in Northern Ireland.
As well as encouraging disruption and innovation in community and creative sectors, CultureTECH has also teamed up with DCAL to bring Minecraft EDU to every post primary school in Northern Ireland.
The first region in the world to have Minecraft available in school, with an impact on 50,000 children annually- putting Northern Ireland students at the forefront of the education and economic development.
This is the latest educational project developed by CultureTECH, which also includes the Big Video Challenge- getting students to work on peer created learning resources and the Schools App Challenge- working with app developers on student generated ideas.