What You Can Expect from Digital Derry in 2011

The first week in January is always a good time for a little evaluation, future gazing and planning for world domination. And, doomed pledges to get to the gym aside, I’ve been doing a little goal setting with Digital Derry too - so here’s a round-up of some of what you can expect in the coming months.

Physical Spaces

We’ve been collectively arguing for some time that Derry needs its own version of a digital hub - a space where digital companies and professionals can come together to work, collaborate, share ideas and build a community. If you’re in the digital content industry, we want to help create the kind of space that you’ll want to work in, not to mention attracting businesses from elsewhere in the region and providing a ‘soft landing’ space for potential investors and new business starts coming into NI. Expect to see the first tangible steps in this process in the next few months, with bigger and bolder developments to follow later in the year.

Competitions

The first 3 months of the year will see not one but two competitions being launched, in an effort to find the best new ideas in digital media from both the business community and the abundance of talent in our schools. If you’ve got some exciting ideas for new digital media projects, products, services or businesses tucked away, this will be the perfect opportunity to get real tangible - and maybe even financial - help in getting them off-the-ground.

Tons of Events

Derry is rapidly becoming known for its ability to host innovative and inspirational digital media events. In 2011 you can expect more of the same, with informal networking events kicking off in January/February followed by a raft of larger scale events from March onwards. Make sure to keep a particular eye out for Imagine Create in late March, the British Council’s annual lecture before that and a visit from world-renowned creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson at the start of the month. Later in the year expect more Showcase, BarCamp and TED-style events as well as any number of one-off workshops covering a range of industries and interests.

A New-Look Website

Digital Derry have commissioned a new website which should launch in late February. Designed to be THE information hub for all things digital in the North-West, we’ll also be featuring company profiles, a detailed events calendar, jobs board and a huge amount of video content.

Digital Derry Taking to the Road

The first few months of the Digital Derry project have already generated a huge amount of interest outside our little neck of the woods, but in 2011 we want to take it even further. Starting with SxSW (the world’s largest interactive media event) in March, Digital Derry will be represented at events and conferences across Ireland, Europe and North America. We’ll also be rolling out our online Ambassador Programme, to make the most of both our collective connections and the huge number of creative professionals worldwide with links to the city.

Digital City of Culture Coming Into View

We’re already working extremely closely with the growing City of Culture team to make digital a centrepiece of both the programme of events and the overall marketing of the year. In 2011 you’ll start to see some of that come into focus and we expect to announce a couple of truly ambitious events and projects. Watch this space.

And the Rest

Of course, mixed in with all the high-profile projects, events and opportunities above, we’ll still be plugging away raising the industry’s profile in the city and the city’s industry in the region and beyond.

Personally, what excites me most about 2011 is the chance to gets my hands dirty with some exciting new businesses that we expect to see launched in the coming months - and all the others that we don’t even know about yet!

In short, 2010 was a great year for digital in Derry but 2011 is the year that all that ground work starts to pay dividends.

Mark Nagurski is Derry’s Digital Champion based at the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce. You can contact him via email to digitalderry@gmail.com