Those of us who have a fondness for loitering at talking shops - and there are a few of these loafers at Agility - realise that the exchange of ideas is the currency of tomorrow. When you go to an event like SXSW, FutureEverything or any TEDx iteration, you're open to ideas and notions and sparks because you're surrounded by similarly attuned individuals.
You come back refreshed and invigorated and ready for anything. Those ideas feed their way into the daily discourse and surface at the oddest and most opportune of times. Indeed, you can trace the genesis of Agility to a BBQ trailer in the heart and heat of Texas during last March’s SXSW.
But sometimes you don't have to travel all that far to get a blast of inspiration from such a gathering. Last month's CultureTECH in Derry, the second outing for the event, provided much to get the creative juices flowing. Attracting thinkers, doers and talkers from all over Ireland, the UK, Europe and America, CultureTECH set out its stall in the Venn diagram between culture and technology and went out to play.
It’s hard in some ways to come away with one handle on things from the event’s plethora of talks, panels, conversations, workshops, presentations, gigs, clubs, exhibitions, performances, screnings, installations, games and cat videos.
In venues all over the city, from the stables of the former British Army barracks in Ebrington Square and the stunning St Columb’s Hall to a range of coffee shops and shopping centres, CultureTECH was loud, brash, bold and audacious in how it sought to show culture and tech in every aspect of the city.
You came away from Derry with pages of notes and your head buzzing about what you’d seen and heard. One thought did dominate on the rocky road back to Dublin and that’s the role of events like CultureTECH. It was Drew Hemment from the Future Everything festival in Manchester who caught this one. In a world where most of our activities are online, meet-ups like CultureTECH, SXSW, TEDx and the rest give people an opportunity to gather offline, eat bacon sandwiches and put the world to rights. They’re IRL forums for digital natives. For all the work we can do remotely and at a remove, nothing meets social interaction and putting a face to a Twitter handle or Google+ contact. We're humans after all.
Lead image: Flickr, zigazou76.