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Chris Anderson – Makers: The New Industrial Revolution

Watershed, 18 September 2012 18.00-19.00

If a country wants to remain economically vibrant, it needs to manufacture things. In recent years, however, many nations have become obsessed with making money out of selling services, leaving the real business of manufacturing to others. Chris Anderson’s new book Makers is about how all that is being reversed.

Over the past ten years, the internet has democratised publishing, broadcasting and communications, leading to a massive increase in the range of participation in everything digital – the world of bits. Now the same is happening to manufacturing – the world of things. Chris Anderson, bestselling author of The Long Tail, and editor in chief of Wired Magazine, explains how this is happening: how such technologies as 3D printing and electronics assembly are becoming available to everybody, and how people are building successful businesses as a result.

Whereas once every aspiring entrepreneur needed the support of a major manufacturer, now anybody with a smart idea and a little expertise can make their ideas a reality. Just as Google, Facebook and others have created highly successful companies in the virtual world, so these new inventors and manufacturers are assuming positions of ever greater importance in the real world. The next industrial revolution is on its way.

Price: £8.00 / £6.50. Contact Watershed, Bristol on: 0117 927 5100, book online, or visit in person.

CHRIS ANDERSON is editor-in-chief of Wired magazine and is the author of the internationally acclaimed The Long Tail, which was shortlisted for the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year award in 2006 and won the Loeb Award for the best business book in 2007. His next book, Free, was a New York Times bestseller. He lives in Northern California with his wife and five children.

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Encourage your teens to showcase their creative talent!

Bath is to host a prestigious TEDxYouth event for a second year running on 20 November 2012 at Komedia.

As part of the event, the city’s 16 to 19 year olds are invited to enter two competitions over the summer break that will give them an opportunity to demonstrate their skills in either songwriting or video production.

Aspiring songwriters need to compose an original song and submit it to the TEDxYouth@Bath website.

The winner will be provided with professional engineering and production time, and the song will be given its first public airing at the conference on 20th November.

Their song will also be showcased to an international audience – through being put forward to be part of TED’s global music competition which aims to compile and share the best musical performances from the over 1,700 TEDx events around the world.

Filmmakers can enter a competition for three-minute films that reflect one of the conference’s themes – make, build or grow. The winning films will open each session of the event, and runners up will be available to view on the TEDxYouth@Bath YouTube channel and website.

The competitions are open to all those aged between 16 and 19 years of age, and living within a 25-mile radius of Bath. The closing date for entries is 30th September 2012. 

TED is a non-profit organisation which started as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago. TEDx events are independent, externally organised events which bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

TEDxYouth@Bath aims to bring these world-changing ideas to a younger audience – 16 to 19 year olds on the cusp of leaving school or further education.  It will give them a taste of the wonderful world of inspiring ideas that exists, will introduce them to the extraordinary people who are creating outstanding projects, and will encourage them to become a part of this world and to contribute to it.

Curator of TEDxYouth@Bath, Charlotte Calkin, said: “These competitions are a unique opportunity to showcase the talent of young people in Bath. You don’t need any previous experience of filmmaking or songwriting to get involved – we’re really looking for fresh ideas and raw talent.”

All of the city’s sixth forms will be sending students to TEDxYouth@Bath, however it is also open to individuals and is free to attend. Those interested in attending are able to find out more information and apply for tickets on the event website: www.tedxyouthbath.com.

You can follow @TEDxYouthBath on Twitter for updates, or tweet using the official hashtag #TEDxYouthBath12.

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Bath’s first Girl Geek event a success

The city’s first Girl Geek Dinners have been launched this summer, with the aim of increasing female participation in the city’s thriving digital scene.

The city is fast becoming known for its digital industries, with recent events like the Digital Festival, X Media Lab and TEDxYouth putting the city on the international map.

‘Girl Geek Dinners’ were first established in London in 2005, and are now run in cities around the world. The dinners are not only aimed at connecting women already working in the IT and computing sector, but also at encouraging more women and girls to see this as a career option.

Bath Girl Geeks was started by a group of friends who recognised that, as is common in the digital sector, only a small number of the participants in Bath’s recent digital events were female.

The first session, held last week at the Innovation Centre, attracted 30 women from careers as diverse as computing, engineering, mathematics and the sciences.

Parm Dlay was part of the team responsible for setting up the event. She said: “It is clear that there are barriers that prevent women and girls from entering IT and computing. However, this is one of few sectors currently seeing growth and creating employment, so it’s essential that we address some of these issues and help more women into this traditionally male-dominated field.

“Our first session went really well, everyone who took part seemed to appreciate an opportunity to network with like minded women, and lots of ideas for activities to develop our own skills and to encourage others into the sector were discussed.

“We’re now looking at arranging talks and training for Girl Geek members, opportunities to speak to young women at local schools and colleges, and ways in which we can encourage more women to participate with the networks that already exist for the digital sector in Bath.”

The Girl Geek Dinner held in Bath was not limited to those working or interesting in IT or computing, and welcomed a large number of scientists and engineers, along with those who are currently not involved in the sector but with ambitions to become involved in the future.

Parm added: “Our first event was a fantastic opportunity to meet women with a wide variety of interests and expertise, and I believe that between us we can achieve a great deal through this network.”

The group will next meet on Thursday 11 October – more information can be found on http://bath.girlgeekdinners.com/.

Parm Dlay, Tatjana Humphries, Katrina James and Katharine Reeve started the network.


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Bath start-up Mystery Applicant triumphs in Silicon Valley competition

A start-up from Bath has proved it’s a match for Silicon Valley’s tech firms after winning an international competition for companies specialising in recruitment software.

Mystery Applicant, which is based in North Parade, beat rival bids from 50 other applicants to take the spoils at the Recruiting Innovation Summit in Mountain View, California.

Nick Price, founder of award-winning start-up firm Mystery Applicant. Picture: Kevin Bates, Bath News & Media/The Bath Chronicle

The company’s founder, Nick Price, collected the award of $10,000 after pitching his business to leading lights in the human resources industry. The award was presented at the Computer Science Museum in Silicon Valley.

Mystery Applicant provides an online software tool that records a candidate’s experience of a firm’s recruitment process, providing data to HR departments about the perceptions, motivations and experience that applicants have when they apply for a post.

Nick said: “We are incredibly proud to have won this award against strong competition from other companies around the world.

“It’s testament to our technology, our team and our vision that we were the chosen winners.

“The money is brilliant, but the recognition of what we’re doing is really good too.”

Among Mystery Applicant’s clients is global security firm G4S, which receives tens of thousands of applications a month.

“We are already working with global companies who are realising the benefits of being able to measure their employer brand and refine their recruitment processes,” added Nick. “Companies invest huge sums of money in attracting the best talent so providing the best recruitment experience really matters.

This post is based on an article that originally appeared in The Bath Chronicle

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Burst Training launches in Bath

A new training provider, Burst Training for Business, is launching this month in Bath with a series of intensive 90-minute events focused on core digital business skills.

The first set of courses provides everything local businesses need to know about digital marketing in three quick weekly sessions, delivered by tech entrepreneur John Straw.

John is an energetic digital marketing entrepreneur with 17 years experience in digital strategy and business development.

John said: “Bath is an extremely tech-savvy city, quickly becoming known for its digital expertise. In starting Burst Training, we’re filling a niche in here for training in this fast-moving sector.

“However for a lot of local companies digital is not a core activity, and while they may recognise the profound impact that digital marketing might have on their business they need to get to grips with it quickly and thoroughly in order to make it work for them.

“Our first training course, focused on digital marketing, will provide a comprehensive, professional and practical understanding of all the elements that make up marketing on the internet and participants will learn how to identify, create and execute a digital marketing strategy for their business.

“The Burst Training concept is highly effective – even for those who know nothing about digital in advance, the 90 minute sessions are comprehensive and intensive, so they’ll be completely up to speed by the end.”

The first course will include three weekly sessions held at Bath Innovation Centre, on Thursday 21 June (Mastering search engine optimisation), Thursday 28 June (Managing pay-per-click marketing) and Thursday 5 July (Using social media as part of the digital marketing mix and preparing your business for the digital future).

Those interested in the sessions can find out more by visiting www.bursttraining.co.uk

The official Twitter hashtag for the event is #BurstBath

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International programming conference comes to Bath

The University of Bath is hosting the ‘28th Conference on the Mathematical Foundations of Programming Semantics’ (MFPS) in June, in yet another move that puts the city on the map for digital expertise.

The annual event is traditionally hosted at top research universities in North America and Europe, including Oxford and Birmingham in the UK and Carnegie-Mellon in the US.

Programming is the process of designing, writing, testing and maintaining the source code, or instructions, of computer programmes. Programmers use a variety of different programming languages – based on mathematical principles.

The conference in Bath is dedicated to the theoretical, fundamental areas of mathematics, logic and computer science that are related to models of computation, in general, and to the semantics of programming languages in particular.

The event will provide a forum for researchers in mathematics and computer science to meet and exchange ideas, discuss problems and create collaborations.

Professor Guy McCusker and Dr John Power from the University of Bath’s Logic and Semantics group in the Department of Computer Science are hosting the event.

Professor McCusker said: “Hosting this well established event, which harks back to the work of Alan Turing and foundational work in computing, here in Bath, is testament to the excellent standard of mathematical computational research taking place.

“This strength in fundamental computer science at one end of the scale really complements the local buzz of applied digital activity at the other.

“The MFPS conference confirms Bath’s role as a leading participant in international computing research. The event brings together experts in a field that lays the foundations for a reliable, safe and secure software-enabled future, and is a fantastic opportunity for our staff and students to rub shoulders with leaders in the global theoretical computer science community.”

This is the second time in a matter of months that an international digital conference has put Bath on the map – with the X Media Lab making a big impact in March.

The conference will include sessions on topics from constructive mathematics, programming language theory and formal languages through to game semantics and quantum computation.

The event takes place from 6 – 9 June 2012, and is partially supported by the US Office of Naval Research.

To find out more contact Guy McCusker via his website, http://www.cs.bath.ac.uk/~gam23/

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10 Pixels

I was poking around Twitter the other day when I spotted an interesting looking tweet from 10 Pixels talking about a exhibition they’ll be running next week here in Bath.

I emailed them to find out more, and they said this:

Q: Please introduce yourself and your project
A: We are 10 Pixels, a group of ten young designers from Bath Spa University. We are in the final year of the Foundation Degree Digital Design course based at City of Bath College.

Q: What are you doing..and why?
A: We are showcasing an exhibition in Little SouthGate which will feature our photography, film, animation, print and web design work to mark the end of our Foundation Degree.

Q: Give us some logistics information for anyone who fancies coming along..
A: 10 Pixels Digital Design Exhibition will be open to the public daily from 12th-15th May 2012 in Bath’s Little SouthGate.

10 Pixels are on Twitter and have a website at http://10pixels.co.uk/.

Go have a look…

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Startup Weekend Bath

I caught up with Phil Thomson recently who is putting together an awesome tech-related event the weekend of 8th-10th June 2012. It’s called Startup Weekend Bath and if you’re entrepreneurial and technical, you’ll want to come along. I asked Phil to tell us a bit more…

1) Can you tell us what Startup Weekend Bath is?

First and foremost StartUp Weekend is a lot of fun. It is about getting a group of people together who are enthusiastic about entrepreneurship and technology and making something happen – fast! Startup Weekend is a non-profit, community-building event at which attendees form teams and start companies in just 54 hours. The participants that wish to have 60 seconds to make a pitch (optional), the pitches are whittled down to the top ideas, and then teams form around the ideas to come out with several developed companies or projects. Finally, the weekend culminates with demonstrations in front of an audience of judges and potential investors. It probably is also worth mentioning that food and drink is included in the ticket price all weekend!

2) Who should come along?

Existing entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs and anyone who has thought they would like to be a part owner in a new business venture. People of all backgrounds including software developers, marketers, designers, and online business enthusiasts.

3) Why have you decided to run it in Bath?

I moved to the area less than two years ago. I immediately fell in love with the place, having no idea until then just how vibrant the technology scene was in Bath. The contrast between the historic fabric of the city and the leading edge business environment is unlike anywhere else I have worked. It also helped that we found a fantastically positive and helpful attitude from everyone we spoke to about the idea of bringing StartUp Weekend to Bath.

4) Tell us a bit about you and why you’re involved with the event

I have been an online business enthusiast for many years. However, like so many other people I talk to, I never seemed to find a way to get any of my ideas off the ground. That changed after my business partner and I attended a StartUp Weekend in London last September. We were both hooked (as well as having a really great time) and the rest is history.

5) Anything else we need to know?

Sometimes I think people might be put off by the thought that they have to pitch (get up and sell) an idea for a business. Many attendees don’t actually get involved in pitching an idea at all, rather they go to choose which they think is the best idea and then work as part of that team for the weekend.

See http://bath.startupweekend.org/ for tickets and further information

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Bath at the forefront of campaign to get coding on the curriculum

Thinkers, teachers and tech experts in Bath are leading the push to have coding taught in schools across the length and breadth of the country.

Academics in the city say the UK will not be able to fully exploit opportunities in tech unless early-years courses are held in computer programming.

Louis and Kieran of Moorlands Junior School in Bath enjoy a class in coding

Louis and Kieran of Moorlands Junior School in Bath enjoy a class in coding

The Bath Digital Festival blazed a trail last month by holding coding lessons with nine year olds at Moorlands Junior School in the city, and calls are now being made for such courses to be nationally supported.

The event at Moorlands was deemed such a success that the Digital Festival’s organisers are looking to establish a legacy fund to support further coding lessons in other schools across the city.

Professor Phil Willis, Head of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Bath, believes national policy is required to make coding part of the curriculum.

“It is fantastic to see events taking place like the coding sessions which Moorlands students have enjoyed through Bath Digital Festival,” he said. “It would be great for this to be rolled out across the city. However, real impact would be made if digital literacy could become part of the education offered to all students in Britain.

“Our Computer Science department recruits highly skilled students with excellent A-level grades but we need the broader skills as well.

“With Britain leading the way in digital enterprise and innovation it is now as important for students to be digitally literate as it is for them to read and write.”

Katharine Reeve, lecturer and head of publishing at Bath Spa University, recognises that there are challenges for schools in providing suitable lessons that prepare their students for careers in a digital world.

After hosting an event called Teaching Digital during the festival, she said: “There is often a skill-gap in schools between teachers and their pupils, making the delivery of these lessons very challenging.

“To add to this, the digital sector is very fast-moving with new techniques and  tools being relevant every day.

“This makes it difficult for staff to maintain appropriate lesson plans, and classes have to be designed in such a way so that skills learnt don’t become dated before the student reaches the workplace.”

Doug Poole, who gave the lessons to the junior school pupils, added: “Rolling these lessons out across Bath would be a fantastic legacy project for the Digital Festival.”

Read Bath pupils’ reactions to coding classes in the latest edition of The Bath Chronicle, out April 12

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Video: story of three startups at XML

Great video (produced by CMP Students at Bath Spa Uni) that gives an insight into how valuable X Media Lab bath 2012 was for three Bath-based startups (Artolo, TwiDAQ and Hereo).

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