Creative Camp Returns To Belfast

Creative Camp in Belfast December 3rd
Creative Camp in Belfast December 3rd

Creative Camp is returning to Belfast and it’s coming up pretty soon – this Friday to be precise.

Blick Studios and Trans Urban Arts are linking up to bring back Creative Camp, the free unconference for people from all walks of creative life. If you’re familiar with the BarCamp / BizCamp style setup then you’ll find yourself right at home with Creative Camp.

It’s being held at the Blick Studios building in Belfast and kicks off at 10am on Friday.

The blurb…

CREATIVE CAMP is a free un-conference event for people who are passionate about creativity and want to make things happen. CREATIVE CAMP is an event designed to combine the best of creativity, business and technology in a unique format to encourage networking, collaboration and peer on peer learning. Participants are invited to give talks, do demonstrations, and show their work and it is these participants who then set the agenda, decide on topics and generate the content, demos and portfolio presentations.

The event’s purpose is for people from creative industries to meet, network, and learn from each other. This includes Graphic and Web Designers and Developers, Artists, Filmmakers, Photographers, Musicians, Fashion Designers, Students, Educators, entrepreneurs and any other creative practitioners who have ideas, innovations, experience or inspiration they want to share.

Registration is closed for the event, such is the demand, but they are operating a waiting list system. If you want on it, drop an email to info@blickstudios.org or stop by CreativeCampBelfast.co.uk for all the details.

BarCamp Belfast May 22nd

BarCamp Belfast

REGISTRATION is open and underway for BarCamp Belfast, taking place at the University of Ulster on Saturday May 22nd. Already in the pipeline for talks are Freedom of Information … for coders and bloggers, Hyperlocal Belfast (would hyperlocal blogging work in Belfast), Location, Location, Location (looking at smarter phones and the mobile web in 2010), Making money out of fresh air (bootstrapping your startup), Project Management With a Client Focus (keeping your clients involved in the web development process).

There’s a list of attendees there as long as your arm already and it won’t cost you anything to attend.

After many promises to go north over the last few years, I made the trip to BarCamp Belfast last April (would be this weekend coming). If you can, it’s worth trying to make a weekend of it. As it was I’d made all the morning sessions before disappearing for lunch and finding myself caught up wandering around the streets of Belfast. Plenty to see and do, a ridiculous amount of places to eat and drink (or shop if you’re so inclined, including an Apple store).

Last year’s ship was run very well, great talks, great people, great buzz about those in attendance and I still managed to run into a few familiar places. I’d booked myself into the Premier Inn last year, which is grand in terms of accommodation and food but the parking is a no-no and wifi costs (I think) £10 for a 24-hour pass, the most of which you’d be sleeping or out and about. Andy might have suggestions on somewhere close by that has parking and free wifi access (can’t for the life of me remember the name of the hotel you’d suggested!).

Signups are here and follow the herd on Twitter.

Now It’s The Turn Of BizCamp Belfast

If you’ve not yet registered, you’ve still got time to put your name on the signup sheet for BizCamp Belfast, taking place this Saturday at The Black Box in Belfast.

Having enjoyed BarCamp Belfast loads at the end of April, I know the setting, people and topics would make it another great day to attend. If you’re traveling from “the South”, it’s possible to hit Belfast from Kilkenny in around 3.5 hours when you’re constantly moving. The spin back from Belfast for me to Kilkenny was a breeze thanks in large part to roads around Carlow and Newry, in between it’s pretty much motorway all the way.

If you’re driving up for the day, you’ve to pay for on street parking in a lot of areas or you can get multistorey parking about 2 minutes walk from the venue, though expect all day parking to be in the region of £20 or so. If you’re overnighting and don’t have car park access (as happened me when I stayed at the Premier Inn on Waring Street for BarCamp), parking is free on the streets after 6pm and all through Sunday.

Travel notes aside, some of the talks you can look forward to include

If you need a map, check here, and if you want to sign up, visit BizCampBelfast.com.

Off To BarCamp Belfast

I’m off to BarCamp Belfast this morning, been around Belfast since yesterday and liking it so far. My last trip here was 2-3 years ago but went nowhere near the city. Next time around I’ll book a hotel with parking (point to note for those thinking on booking the Premier Inn on Waring Street) – nice hotel, but lack of parking is a pain.

Parking gripes aside BarCamp Belfast kicks off later this morning, registration underway in just under an hour, talks from 9:30pm to 5pm or so and it all takes place at the York Street campus for University of Ulster. Looking at the site this morning there’s over 370 people registered to attend 36 or so talks, panels and breakout sessions throughout the day.

At least I remembered to bring a notebook with me. If you’re in the vicinity, drop in, if we’ve not met yet then say hello. No tricks to identifying me but I’ll be there all the same and I’m looking forward to it. Rumour is there’s drinks afterwards in McHugh’s or the John Hewitt bar but I’m sure all will be revealed later.

Tis The Season For BarCamps

Tis the season for BarCamps, surely. Tomorrow I’m off to BizCamp in Dublin where I’ll join in the region of 200 other entrepreneurs, freelancers and free thinkers in the first business-focused BarCamp to be held here (nice to see another “themed” BarCamp running). Registration starts from 9am tomorrow and with the early train leaving Kilkenny pre-7am I’ll be hoping to make breakfast in Dublin. Talks are scheduled for between 10am and 5:30pm ish and there’s a draft schedule here.

BizCamp Limerick follows on March 21st for those who can’t make Dublin tomorrow (it being “sold out”) or are looking for another helping of talks from more business people. The Limerick session is being held in UL and at time of writing there are currently 71 attendees and 19 speakers registered.

Two events that I’m going to miss (will be out of the country) are the ACE (Awakening Creative Entrepreneurship) in Derry running March 25th – 27th and OSS BarCamp in Dublin on March 28th which runs in DIT’s Kevin Street Campus. While all the speaker slots have been filled, if you’re interested in going to OSS BarCamp, leave a comment on the attendees list.

Finally, in April we’ve got BarCamp Belfast coming up. I haven’t been to Belfast since August 2006, catching Steel Pulse in the Andersontowns Leisure Centre (what a gig!) and it will be good to get across the border and meet some more web heads for the weekend. It’s going to be held in The Black Box on Saturday April 25th and already there’s over 110 signups, the makings of another great day.

The best thing about all of these events is that they are free.

If you’re looking to get out and meet some likeminded people – business types, designers, web heads, geeks, startups, entrepreneurs and more – then get yourself to one of these events because that’s where you’ll find them hanging out.

A New Music Conference for the New Music Economy – This Weekend

I made a note to myself that for 2009 (not a resolution now) I would get on the road more – get to Dublin more, grab a coffee in the Absolute Hotel in Limerick at some stage, and hit more events and evenings. One event I’m sorry to be missing though (it’s a five hour drive up and I’m swamped for the weekend) is UnConvention, taking place in Belfast today and tomorrow.

What is UnConvention?

Unconvention is an unconference aimed at the grass roots of the music industry – bringing together musicians and industry professionals for conversation, inspiration and collaboration.

or as About.com have it listed…

“a music industry convention that really isn’t like a music industry convention at all. The event is aimed at the independent music industry. Entrance fees are in keeping with indie music budgets (free!) and the discussions all surround making it in music outside of the mainstream machine. At night, indie musicians get to show off their chops on local stages”

Bands, labels, entrepreneurs, music industry insiders and outsiders – it’s an event that I should really be at and I know I should be at so I’m happy to be following the activity for the weekend here on Twitter and here at UnConventionBelfast.com.

The Official Blurb

The 2-day conference has attracted strong interest from all over the UK and Ireland; organisations who have signed up for involvement include BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio Ulster, Music Managers Forum, Island Records, Sony Music Publishing, NIMIC, Oh Yeah Music Centre, Birmingham University, Fat Northerner Records, Smalltown America Records, Richter Collective and First Music Contact, among many others. Radio 1’s Huw Stephens was one of the first to sign up to the event, and had this to say: “I’m looking forward to finding out more about the scene in Belfast, which seems to be thriving at the moment. Rory McConnell’s Radio 1 show features so many quality artists from Northern Ireland so to get to Belfast and meet the bands and managers is an exciting prospect. In the music world, doing it yourself is essential at the moment, and so I’m looking forward to seeing what will be discussed.”

Friday night’s showcase line-up includes Ed Zealous, A Plastic Rose, Colenso Parade and Strait Laces on the live stage, and Vertigo Smith, Escape Act, Junior Johnson, Cat Molojian, Seven Summits and The Monts; spanning a highly diverse range of styles and genres.

From a music industry perspective, the potential of UnConvention to boost the industry locally and further afield was recognised by key sponsor, Belfast City Council. Councillor Michael Browne, Chairman of BCC’s Development Committee comments “Belfast City Council is committed to helping support the development of the creative industries in our city which, if nurtured and supported in the right way, have the ability to make Belfast truly competitive on the global stage. UnConvention provides an exciting opportunity to showcase Belfast’s eclectic music scene and musicians and provide useful networking and business development opportunities for those working in this sector.”

Attendees can that Rich Dale, Tracy Dempsey, Nick Fitzsimons, Jennie McCullough and Andy McMillan for organising the event.