Leeds Digital Festival celebrates a global reach as it wraps up digital events

Leeds Digital Festival has closed its virtual doors following an astoundingly successful, two-week online festival, which saw 134 events take place between April 20 and May 1.

A range of high-profile events took place over the course of two weeks, including the launch of The Online Safety Technology Industry Association (OSTIA), a new industry body which is designed to highlight the importance of online safety technology in the current environment. Key leaders in the space, including Sarah Connolly, director of security and online harms at DCMS and Adam Hildreth, founder and CEO at Leeds-based Crisp, came together online to launch this as part of the Festival. 

In addition, the Festival attracted events from numerous industries, with hosts including the likes of Tech Nation, BT, Deloitte and Barclays. 

Businesses hosting events as part of the Festival attracted an international audience who, without this online format, may not have been able otherwise. Across the festival, event organisers saw attendees joining from at least 46 countries and five continents around the world.  

This new digital format also enabled participating businesses to reach a larger and more geographically spread audience than ever before. Event successes included BJSS, who welcomed an impressive 2,190 attendees to its Imposter Syndrome event, along with Fleek Marketing, who received 748 registrations across three events. 

The Festival’s organisers took the decision to split this year’s event between the spring and autumn following the COVID-19 pandemic and it looks to follow up the success of the online festival with a physical counterpart between 21st September to 2nd October 2020. 

Stuart Clarke, festival director, said: “We are incredibly proud to have ended the Festival on such a positive note. When we set out to pull together a virtual festival, we had hopes to attract anywhere between 30 to 40 events. To have 134 events organised in total over such a short period of time is incredible. 

“Even better, was the fact that not only did the regional community come together to celebrate innovation in Yorkshire, but that people from around the world also came to show support for the Festival. This is testament to the region’s growing reputation as an international technology hub. 

“I want to thank everyone who organised a digital event online, it was wonderful to see everyone pull together in these unprecedented times. We are all very much looking forward to seeing you all at the physical festival in autumn.” 

Alun Davies, director at Alun Davies Marketing, said: “This is the second year I’ve been involved with Leeds Digital Festival, and despite the switch to online I’m even more impressed with the number and quality of participants this year than I was last year. The Festival has become a global brand: people attended my talks from twelve different countries, from Australia to Singapore, Finland and Canada.”

Partners and sponsors of the Leeds Digital Festival include Crisp, TPP, Leeds City Council, the University of Leeds and Channel 4.

Registrations for both physical and virtual events in the autumn are open and can be accessed here: https://leedsdigitalfestival.org/submit-event/ 

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