Digital Bristol Week

Thursday 14 February 2013, 09:00

Mark Jacobs Mark Jacobs programme manager, BBC Academy

Hi I'm Mark Jacobs, programme manager for the BBC Academy.

I run, with a small team of colleagues, an innovative training project called Fusion. Through labs, workshops and conferences we support the development of critical new skills that support the merger of creativity and new technology.

Recently my effort was focused on Digital Bristol Week, the largest free training event yet held in Bristol and one which proved a massive success and could be a model for other cities.

The week-long schedule of networking, training and knowledge exchange for the creative industries was hosted and produced by the BBC Bristol Partnership. The BBC Bristol Partnership is a formal agreement between BBC Bristol and organisations right across the city.

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Watch the Digital Bristol Week roundup video

Collaboration was at the heart of the success of the week – partners included Bristol University, Pervasive Media Studio, Bristol City Council, Creative England, Creative Skillset, Bristol Media and the University of the West of England.

Each day had a different theme and focus: core skills day, broadcast and beyond, technology day with events ranging from presentations on the future of broadcasting to workshops on key skills such as production management, development and leadership.

There was even a mini games summit at the Pervasive Media Studio and an opportunity to play test the extraordinary Memory Dealer.

Bristol Media also delivered a unique 'Open Doors' event where people could visit one of 16 local companies including Aardman.

I believe events of this kind are likely to become an important part of the BBCs future. They build relationships both internally and externally, inform us all about the future and provide vital training and goodwill between staff and the freelance community.

Over 500 delegates were reached across the week and more than a thousand tickets issued. That is a fantastic credit to all involved.

Many sessions in the main conference room were filmed and these videos are on the BBC Academy YouTube channel. The playlist includes a look into interactive documentary making and digital predictions for 2013. They will be, I hope, an invaluable resource for those who couldn’t attend.

Students from the University of the West of England produced excellent films on digital innovation with expert guidance from the BBC Academy’s Deidre Mulcahy.

It was great fun and a big learning curve in how we can use partners to provide camera and edit support around events. At the same time it provided a worthwhile learning experience for the students. Find these clips and more on the BBC College of Production Website.

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Tips on making apps from Max Whitby

BBC Technology also delivered a great Technology Fair with a range of stands on everything from how to use the BBC archive more effectively to accessibility.

An event of this scale involves support both from partners and many different parts of the BBC. A full thank you list would be too long for this blog. But credit must go to the BBC Academy, in particular Tracy Hall and Zoe Brandon and colleagues from BBC Bristol Sue Soni, David Aston and Andy Corp.

Lastly, thanks to everyone who supported this event and produced sessions. We were all delighted with the results and I personally hope it will inspire other events of this kind in the future. If you have any feedback or questions about the week, then please leave a comment below.

Mark Jacobs is programme manager, BBC Academy.

Read more about Digital Bristol on the About The BBC blog and the BBC Academy website.


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