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Sheffield Digital Celebration

Celebrating the week of the original festival online.

By Sheffield Digital


This year’s Sheffield Digital Festival being postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic didn’t stop the digital community in Sheffield coming together to celebrate the scene. Across the original week of the festival in May 2020, a whole host of content was gathered and shared across digital platforms using the hashtag #SheffDigiCelebration, a selection of which has been collated below.

SDF Jumping Man GIF - Sheffield Digital Festival Jumping Man GIF

Things to shout about

 Pitch-in to support regional IoT innovation The University of Sheffield is developing a LoRaWAN network and is inviting businesses to get involved by engaging with students, setting challenges for them and sharing knowledge and expertise on the Internet of Things (IoT). Read more.

Can you @HelpSheffield? Living up to its name, the team behind the @HelpSheffield Twitter account is raising money for the many local businesses that have been forced to close their doors or make huge adaptions due to Covid-19. They have organised a raffle with a very exciting array of prizes, all worth around £25 and all donated by Sheffield-based independents. Take a look, buy a ticket if you can, and share with your family, colleagues and friends.

A celebration for Nimble Earlier this month, the team at Nimble decided not to let lockdown ruin their party plans as they celebrated two years at Nimble HQ in Sheffield. The team took to Zoom to host a virtual party and it does look rather fun! Nimble’s CEO, Chris Roberts, also joined the Steel City Business podcast to chat about looking after the team’s mental health and to offer free consultancy to local businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic. Have a listen.

Introducing the Virtual Ticket Bank Before the Covid-19 pandemic, The Ticket Bank helped people in need across society to attend events in the UK for free. Following the postponement of all events involving physical gatherings, they have partnered with Tickets for Good to develop a Virtual Ticket Bank. The Virtual Ticket Bank will help to improve social inclusion by enabling communities to come together, attend virtual events and participate in online activities. Find out more.

Meet the Meetups!

Sheffield’s meetup scene is buzzing, and even since the UK went into lockdown, we’ve seen an impressive number of regular meetups going virtual. Sheffield Digital has shone a spotlight on meetups new and more established in our ‘Meet the Meetup’ interviews.

The agile Meetup community has over 1000 members. In April 2019, we caught up with the team to see what it takes to make a meetup more than just an event. Read more.

Sheffield Data for Good brings together data and social expertise to unearth valuable insight from Sheffield’s voluntary, charity and community organisations. Read more.

Immerse Sheffield is the meetup for people interested in immersive technologies in Sheffield. Read more.

ProductTank is an international meetup brand and it’s now in Sheffield. We caught up with the organisers to find out how it’s going. Read more. is a collaborative effort from the digital community to help small businesses, charities and social enterprises with digital. Read more.

What are the four pillars of Sheffield’s tech industry?

Last October saw the launch of the first Sheffield Digital Quarterly Briefing. Designed to change the conversation about the local digital tech sector; to remind our politicians, business leaders and policy makers nationally, regionally and locally that there is a thriving digital tech industry here, what it does, what it needs and how to engage with it. In the briefing, we identified the four pillars of the city’s digital tech identity – our unique specialisms.

Learning technologies - platforms hosting around 60% of all national teaching resources are managed in the city by companies like Twinkl, Tutorful and DESQ.

Creative Technologies – we have a dedicated Cultural Industries Quarter and substantial video game industry. Companies leading the way include  Sumo Digital, Zoo Digital and Joi Polloi.

Movement Technologies - we have several Queen’s Award winning mobility tech companies and huge range of research and activity in the technology of movement from companies including The Floow, 3Squared and Move More Sheffield.

Advanced Manufacturing Technologies - Sheffield City Region has been described as having “an innovation district unlike any other”. Companies operating right at the heart of it include Boeing, Lightwork Design (now part of Siemens PLM Software) and Elements Technology.

Read more about these four specialisms.

From the Sheffield Digital archive

We delved into to the treasure trove of Sheffield Digital content to share interviews, profiles and news from the past year during this week of celebration. Here are just some of the highlights... (take a look at #SheffDigiCelebration or for more content!)

“We were at the top of our game. I’d been named as one of the ‘25 Most Innovative people in Europe, the Middle East and Asia’, and I was walking around London thinking ‘I’m the king of the world’… then reality came and kicked me up the arse.” Dan Kirby from The Tech Dept spoke candidly to us about the journey his business has been on in recent years and why his focus now is very much on Sheffield.

In this Showcase talk last year, Kisha Bradley talked to us about how Bright Box Maker Space are creating learning opportunities for people to explore problem solving through playful activities in tech, engineering and arts.

 “iRepair Stop has a uniquely retro identity, entirely in keeping with the team’s ethos of restoration and reuse.” The team discovered the fascinating history of their new premises when they refurbished the building. Rather than the minimalist and contemporary style they had planned, customers can enjoy the unusual and original features when they take their Apple devices for repair at the Ecclesall Road store.

As of November 1st 2019, Sheffield Digital took over the ownership and management of the Open Tech Calendar, which, as you can imagine we were very excited about! Open Tech Calendar is an open source and open data calendar platform for tech events, which allows anyone to add event information and pull data feeds into their own calendars and displays. Find out why we took the site over, what we are doing with it and what we still have planned.

Dom Barter, who founded Hexos when he was in sixth form and carried it on through his first year of university, introduced his new digital service at the Sheffield Digital Showcase, which visualises public transport data across the whole of the UK to generate accurate travel time “heatmaps” for any location. It was brilliant and inspiring to hear from this young entrepreneur!

Festival week lockdown listening

Remember when Sheffield Digital spoke to the students from UTC Sheffield who came second at the World Educational Robotics Contest? And when the co-founder of Megaverse and Immerse Sheffield talked all things immersive and how they're putting VR into theatres? Or, when Jonny Briggs from Field Design spoke about starting a digital design festival in Sheffield (what a great idea!)….? How about a first for Sheffield Digital, its very first podcast recording in front of a live audience, speaking to Hannah Chaplin about building and selling a successful start-up?

You can hear about all of this great stuff on the Sheffield Digital Podcast, find all episodes here.

Community highlights

Here is just a tiny selection of the things we can celebrate, support and be proud of in the tech community. There is so much more; please keep shouting about it on social media, using #SheffDigiCelebration.

“We know these visors are needed now and not in a few weeks’ time” - Engineers from @TheAMRC Design and Prototyping Group produced 1000’s of essential face shields for frontline NHS workers. Read more.

Rail tech specialists 3Squared moved into new offices this year to accommodate growth. Find out more about the Queen’s Award-winning business.

“We know that robotic technology with children with developmental disabilities has huge potential in helping with engagement and access to treatment” Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre is exploring the use of robots for children with special needs. Find out more.

The National Video Game Museum gives us the past, present and future of video games to explore right here in Sheffield. Right now though, it needs your help to #SavetheNVMuk. Get involved.

Kollider celebrated its first year of opening in April. Take a look at the last twelve months inside the building, which homes a business incubator, a food hall, a book shop and a museum.

Cooper Project start-up 3Miles has stepped up to the challenges presented by Covid-19,  providing a lifeline to the city’s indie food stores with their shopping and delivery app. Read more about the trio’s brilliant work on Twitter.

Barnsley College joined Sheffield Digital as a Regional Partner. As part of an ambitious three-tiered digital transformation strategy, the college has introduced a new Digital Industries Department offering employer-led courses, and a bespoke specialist Digital Innovation Hub. You can find out more about these exciting plans here.

Posted by Sheffield Digital on 22.05.2020