Leeds Digital Festival 2021 launches global programme of events

Stuart Clarke

Leeds Digital Festival, one of the UK’s largest tech and digital events, is returning for the sixth year running.

The Festival has today unveiled a programme of 300 exciting virtual and in-person events that celebrate digital culture in all its forms, hosted by start-ups, leading tech businesses and government institutions.

Running from Monday 20 September to Friday 1 October 2021, Leeds Digital Festival will welcome tech firms from the Leeds city region, the likes of the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS), Ofcom and the G7, as well as a range of speakers from across the UK, Europe and the world, including Japan, The Philippines and Mongolia.

Due to the pandemic, last year’s Festival was split into two virtual sets of programmes, seeing a total of 428 events with over 45,000 attendees, attracting attendees from more than 60 countries including Benin, Peru and Kazakhstan.

Following this, the 2021 Festival will take a hybrid approach, with a mixture of in-person and online events being held across the two weeks. The Festival organisers are looking forward to reintroducing physical events to run alongside the virtual programme, helping to build the Festival’s reputation on both a national and a global scale.

Billed as ‘the tech event for everyone’, the Festival will celebrate everything that encompasses technology and digital, from coding, fintech and social media, to AI and healthcare tech. Keynote events will include an LGBTQ+ hackathon hosted by The Coders Guild and the launch of a report by WILD on the findings of its racial diversity in digital survey.

The reputation of the Festival has attracted a range of high-profile companies and institutions to take up positions as key sponsors, with BJSS, TPP, the University of Leeds and Crisp confirmed as lead sponsors.

Festival director Stuart Clarke said: “I’m delighted to announce that we have 300 incredible events for the 2021 Leeds Digital Festival. Having so many quality events is a real testament to the innovative tech firms in the Leeds City Region and we can’t wait to show off the talent we have here to a global audience.

“The Leeds Digital Festival has become the largest tech event in the UK because of its open nature, and has now been endorsed by the government as an important agenda setting Festival, where anyone from the newest start-up to tech unicorns can take part to help shape the future of digital for the benefit of everyone.”

Adam Hildreth, Founder and CEO of Crisp, said: “As a Leeds-born and bred tech firm, we’re really pleased to be one of the Leeds Digital Festival’s Premier sponsors again, and also hosting our own events.

“The growth of the Festival has shone a light on the growing tech firms in the city and its strength in areas such as healthtech and data, as well as fast becoming a driving force in the UK’s online Safety Tech sector. We’re looking forward to taking part in yet another successful Festival.”

Matt Warman MP, Minister for Digital Infrastructure, added: “Leeds Digital Festival is a major moment in the UK’s business calendar and I’m looking forward to taking part this year to celebrate the region’s fantastic scene.

“It’s great to see attendees from around the world joining the bill and highlighting the global importance of the event. We’re working tirelessly in government to back digital businesses with pro-innovation policies so we can create jobs, wealth and boost people’s skills in Leeds and across Yorkshire.”

 

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