I was super excited to go to an event last night at Leeds University, hosted by Glug Leeds.
It was an uplifting evening celebrating and fostering creative talent in Leeds, with beer, swearing and lots of GIFs.
She Does Digital
Mainly, I was glad I had the opportunity to see She Does Digital live in action.
She Does Digital are a Leeds-based women in tech group I follow online. They showcase the opportunities for digital.
Sadly, I had to leave part way their slot to catch my train, but their message is clear.
There aren’t enough people working in digital and the problem is getting worse.
Women in digital especially is a huge problem. Most of the ‘technical’ roles are filled by men. Women run scared when they hear the terms ‘SEO’ or ‘development’.
Women are continuously conditioned to think that they’re not good with technology. Mums in particular get branded as technological fools.
This creates a self-fulfilling prophecy, where many smart people are deterred from learning digital skills.
Developing Leeds talent
A unique message that I hadn’t heard at an event before was the issue of talent leaving Leeds, and the north in general.
London is touted as the holy grail of business and creativity. People think they have to move to London for the jobs and opportunities, but this just isn’t true.
Being a London girl for most of my adult life, I’m used to the focus of attention being on London. I’ve slowly started to realise it’s a mistake to be so London-centric.
Productivity is no longer reliant on resources and suppliers concentrated in London, because the dominant medium of 2016 and beyond is and will be digital.
The internet is the major disrupting force for location-based work. That means creative communities can migrate out of the capital more easily.
I’m excited to see more of She Does Digital and their work in Leeds, as well as other regional tech groups such as Health Tech Women, Mad Labs and Tech North.
One of the hashtags of the evening was #fucklondon which I must admit I didn’t have the courage to use.
Build talking about the history of their graphic design business
Creative businesses in the north
It was also interesting to hear from other creative businesses such as graphic design agency Build, and how their work has taken them from London to Leeds.
Intern is an independent magazine that showcases paid contributions from students and graduates. They focus on a variety issues but they believe all work must be paid. Young people should value themselves enough not to work for free.
I wish I’d heard of their magazine when I was a new graduate!
There was also a presentation by Studio 12, a creative non-profit in Leeds. They bring the resources and knowledge of higher education institutions to the community where all young people can access it.
Their presentation was seriously inspiring, and it was amazing to hear about the work that’s being done to develop creative talent at all levels of society, not just for the priveleged few.
Non-profit is one of my passions and I feel strongly about all people being given the chance to fulfil their creative potential.
It was a distinctly Leeds flavour; informal, fun and a little bit rude. I would definitely go to another Glug event.
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