Sunday, May 05, 2013

Innovation, business and culture at the EBN Congress in Derry (29-31 May)

Derry’s stint as UK City of Culture for 2013 is bringing all kinds of events and conferences to the city. At the end of May, a business and innovation conference with a technological and cultural focus will take over the Millennium Forum.

The EBN Congress will bring together European business and innovation centres, incubators, businesses and entrepreneurs. This year’s congress is being organised by NORIBIC, the Northern Ireland Business Innovation Centre.

The line-up of local and international speakers and contributors is impressive:

Steve Wozniak is best known for co-founding Apple Computer Inc along with Steve Jobs. He’s also a philanthropist and founding sponsor of technology and children’s discovery museums as well as an initial funder of the campaigning Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Richard Florida is described as an “urbanist” and wrote The Rise of the Creative Class, a book whose concepts Derry academic Paul Moore rubbished in his 2011 TEDxBelfast talk.

Tim Smit co-founded the Eden Project where he is still co-chief executive. The project has contributed over £1 billion into the Cornish economy. Long before that he worked as a composer and producer of both rock music and opera.

Michael Gorman is founding director of Dublin’s Science Gallery and has a passion for exciting people about the “creative collisions between art and science”. The Science Gallery was described at last year’s TEDxBelfast as having “no entrance fee and a decent cafĂ© in which you can meet scientists and artists, their exhibitions go beyond simple childish scientific displays and offer an insight into real science”.

And that’s before you list the experts in economics, semiconductors, sustainability, the University of Ulster’s Director of Innovation Tim Brundle and director of Derry’s CultureTECH festival Mark Nagurski and lots, lots more. It’s good to see that the list of speakers is not all male. Themed villages will focus on culture, digital, social and internation opportunities for networking.

The full programme stretches over three days from 29 to 31 May. Local delegates can take advantage of heavily discounted tickets. (The main EBN Congress site handles bookings from further afield.)

Hopefully I’ll be there on the middle day and will post about the atmosphere and some of the content being shared. In the meantime, local creative firm Uproar Comics have produced a light-hearted guide to the congress.

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