COVID-19 forced the Festival to switch its 250 physical events which had been organised for April, to 134 online events – all achieved within just three weeks. This autumn’s Festival will offer some physical events, although the majority are once again online.
Inevitably, offering online has attracted international interest, including a Tech in China event, organised by Leeds City Council and featuring Alibaba. The Israeli Embassy is delivering 2 events, the Department of International Trade 4 events and there is also a Eurocities Conference. Closer to home, ODI Leeds, BJSS, Deloitte, Asda and Raspberry Pi have added to the programme.
The range of events is impressive and includes the return of the Women in Leeds Digital Conference. Sponsors and partners include TPP, Crisp, the University of Leeds, Channel 4 and Crisp.
Festival Director, Stuart Clarke, commented:
“I often say that the Leeds tech community is the most collaborative in the UK and to host almost 300 events in our second Festival of 2020 goes a long way to prove that. The Leeds Digital Festival is the most varied tech event in the country, with events covering all aspects of the sector, from healthtech to data to coding to cyber security. There is also a number of events covering how specific industries use tech, for example Arup and SES in construction and engineering, and Opera North and the British Library in the cultural world.
This year has been difficult for many people and firms, so it’s great to see events relating to how we can get back up and running in a post-Covid world, as well as a number of sessions looking at careers in the tech sector. The Festival is a good way for students and recent graduates to get involved in the tech sector.”
Adam Hildreth, CEO and founder of main Festival sponsor Crisp, said:
“We’ve been really pleased to support the Leeds Digital Festival over the last few years as it’s an incredible showcase for the talent we have in the City Region and helps to cement the City’s reputation as a fast-growing tech cluster. As a Leeds born and bred business with an international focus, it’s great to see the growing number of international events taking place, which helps to spread Leeds’ message across the world.”