My Week In Happy: Digital creativity, Future Everything


Make it Digital


I created my first web content on a BBC Micro at age 12.

One of the things I really like to do is step outside of my world as a BBC web producer and find out how other people are being creative with digital media.

Writing this entry feels particularly timely as my department, BBC Learning, is looking for external partners to work with for ‘Make it Digital‘ – our focus on digital creativity for 2015.

In the 1980s the BBC Micro computer landed in schools across the UK. I was lucky enough to get my hands on one and contributed to the Domesday Project – an ambitious initiative to crowdsource local information through pupils.


In 2011, the BBC ran a project to surface all the data captured on the huge laser discs that came with each computer, and I was delighted to see that my name had been included in the credits – my first contribution t o web content at just 12 years old.

Building on the huge success of the BBC Micro in the 1980s, the BBC are looked for partners interested in our project to ‘create a hands-on learning experience that allows any level of young coder from absolute beginner to advanced maker to get involved and be part of something exciting’.

If you want to apply for this you need to do it right away!
Expressions of interest close at 2pm Monday 8th December.

Hyper Island

So, on Wednesday I visited Hyper Island to take part in their very first ‘Learning Lab’. Hyper Island offers students an alternative to conventional academic institutions, with opportunities ranging from apprenticeships to MA programmes across the globe.

Learning takes place in Hyper Island’s own studios and, vitally, within industry settings. The Learning Lab was a teaserf for their latest MA programme, Digital Experience Design, which launches in April 2015.

The evening was hosted by Lauren Currie, Catherine McHenry and Tash Wilcocks from Hyper Island and Tom Higham from Future Everything (Manchester’s annual festival of ideas).

We quickly broke up into teams and got started with rapid idea generation (Post-It notes and marker pens at the ready), we worked rapidly to identify ‘broken’ aspects of further education, locate ‘pain points’ and work up a solution.

I worked with a graphic design lecturer, digital creative and filmmaker to prototype ‘Dean’s Den’ – an informal, non-hierarchical space (think bean bags and throws), where pitches for small sums of money for project can be made by students and lecturers, but the decision has to be made there and then within the Den and not deferred elsewhere.

It was great to meet so many enthusiastic and friendly folks and I’m very much looking forward to Hyper Island’s next Learning Lab.

Manchester Digital

Popped my head round the door of the Manchester Digital Christmas party on Thursday at the Cane & Grain in the fashionable Northern Quarter. Didn’t intend to stay for long but got chatting to lots of friendly people from across the industry from hosting companies to recruiters and games developers. It’s great to feel part of such a vibrant tech and digital scene in Manchester.

We often talk about making Manchester a Top 5 city in the UK for Tech, but for me it already has the top slot.