Tees Valley Mayor Backs Major Regional Tech Festival

Tees Valley Combined Authority | Published on: 14th June 2023

TEES VALLEY MAYOR Ben Houchen has backed TECHNEXT, a major new festival celebrating the North East’s tech sector which includes a range of events in Middlesbrough.

As part of the Festival Fringe programme, Middlesbrough will host three free events exploring the power of AI and human imagination, emerging technologies with expert Kate Baucherel and what technology would look like in the wake of an apocalyptic event.

Mayor Houchen said, “Our ever-growing digital sector is going from strength to strength with brilliant businesses at the likes of our Boho cluster driving forward innovation, with the field supported by experts at Teesside University.

“To help realise our ambitions to become the UK’s first Smart Region – integrating digital technology in everything we do – it’s important we stay at the forefront of the conversation around adoption, the future of the industry and how it is developing.

“These events will feed into the wider TechNExt offering, giving local people, companies and students the chance to engage with the sector and discover all of its exciting applications and possibilities.”

The Teesside festival fringe event programme start on Tuesday 20 June with a keynote speech from emerging technologies expert, Kate Baucherel, followed by a creative writing session at Teesside University Business School. The second event in the programme, “AIdea Generation: GPT Innovators with SeerBI,” will take place at Flok Co-Working Space on Wednesday 21 June. This is a unique event that brings together the creative power of AI and human imagination and is designed to showcase the potential of artificial intelligence in generating stories, art, and inspiring ideas across various mediums, with the goal being to make AI accessible and demonstrate its vast applications in day-to-day life and work.

Finally, on Friday June, The Post-Apocalyptic School of Teesside will ask the big questions about tech including; what technology could destroy humanity? While focused around what a post-apocalyptic world might look like, the event organisers hope to teach important skills which will help delegates live in a more self-sufficient and sustainable way today.

Festival Fringe event organisers include some of the most influential organisations in the North East, including SeerBI, Opencast Software and Innovation Supernetwork. These major tech companies and organisations have created events specifically for the programme which will see them throw their doors open to engage the wider community, and shine a light on the amazing tech we have in this region.

Organised by regional tech network Dynamo and its partner Sunderland Software City, TechNExt Festival will also host events across the North East, with a ‘BIONIC woman’ and a ‘Chief Failure Officer’ among the speakers at the centrepiece conference, and over 30 fringe events taking place from Teesside to Tyneside.

Sarah Thackray, director of Dynamo said, “We’ve had such a positive response to the Festival, and we’re looking forward to bringing the region’s tech sector together through a week of fantastic events.”

TechNExt is being planned as a Good Festival, with ‘for good’ being a core value of every element of the programme.

Sarah explained: “Delivering a Good Festival means we’re focusing on quality, inclusivity, diversity, accessibility and sustainability. It also means delivering a diverse programme and we aim to make our core events truly accessible, considering those with different protected characteristics and ensuring we meet their needs and make them as welcome as possible.

To see the full programme of events and book tickets for festival fringe events please visit https://technext.co.uk/programme/

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