After a summer of listening and pivoting, I’m excited to share our new programme of events, writes Christine Murray
Our last issue of The Developer magazine explored the impact of this new normal on our cities and places. But over the summer, I’ve been thinking about what this new normal means for our Festival of Place.
We launched the festival last year as an annual summit to break down silos and bring this community of people who are interested in making sustainable, inclusive and equitable places, together.
Initially we moved the Festival from July to November, then we thought we might host a blended event, with a live and digital programme, however following the Prime Minister’s recent announcements, it became increasing unlikely that we could all come together in person.
As much as I would love to see you all, I am excited about the democratic and educational forum we can create for November online. With your support and contribution, we can make this a very special event that brings together urban thinkers from around the world.
We have masterclasses, workshops and lectures, with live Q&As, roundtable discussions and working groups
Your feedback told me that the most important thing was the quality of speakers and programme, so I have focussed on that. The sessions are deep, rich and full of opportunities to contribute and learn. We have masterclasses, workshops and lectures, with live Q&As, roundtables and working groups that you can join with your microphone and camera.
The amazing thing about an online conference is the ability to bring global voices together. I am so excited about our talks and live audience Q&As with Saskia Sassen, Brent Toderian, Carolyn Steel, Stefano Boeri, Leslie Kern, May Al-Karooni, and too many names to mention here. Visit our website to find out more
After researching and learning about platforms and tools, we’ve chosen a conferencing website that is simple to use and social, that works in a Chrome or Firefox browser tab, that once you’re logged in, means just one web address to bookmark for the whole two weeks. And it’s just one stage, one stream every day, so you can easily shape your experience over the two weeks. With so much simultaneous content online, I wanted to keep it simple, with a daily schedule. And all of the sessions will be available on demand afterwards - although I would urge you to make the most of being able to participate live.
As for networking, the small video tables in our social lounge work brilliantly for breakout sessions in workshops, for informal meetings in between sessions, and to connect with some of the other attendees. There’s also an event-wide chat and direct messaging between attendees. And it’s all really easy to use.
If you’ve been to our Bytesize talks, you know that we encourage rich and challenging conversations and promote a safe environment to share and learn. I am so excited that we will come together in November, maybe not as we originally intended, but in a new way, for a new normal. After all, unpicking how to make places worth living in has never been more vital.