CultureTECH Top Ten

A 3D map of a human body is created before a miniture model is created from polymer during the CultureTECH 2012. Picture Martin McKeown. 1.9.12
A 3D map of a human body is created before a miniture model is created from polymer during the CultureTECH 2012. Picture Martin McKeown. 1.9.12

CultureTECH 2013 is now underway - here’s ten highlights from the programme. See what grabs you!

1. Seagate presents CultureTECH Junior, Thurs-Sat, The Venue

Three days. 5000+ young people. Dozens of interactive exhibitions from CERN, W5, the University of Ulster and many many many more. Add it all up and you get the largest science and technology event in Derry-Londonderry this year. Over 5000 young people are already registered to attend via their schools and on Saturday the whole thing is free and open to the public.

In addition to the main events in the Venue, there’ll be sessions in schools, 400 young people will take part in a digital enterprise event hosted by Young Enterprise NI, dozens will take part in music making sessions hosted by Bounce and hundreds will perform across the week as part of the Music Promise.

2. City Arcade, Thurs-Sat, City-wide

From Minecraft to FIFA, TrackMania to retro games played on vintage CRT screens, gaming is a huge part of this year’s CultureTECH Festival.

Things kick off on Thursday morning with four gaming zones popping up in Foyleside and the Richmond Centre with the Millennium Forum games zones opening later that afternoon. And it’s all free.

There’ll also be competitive Minecraft tournaments on Friday and Saturday in the Forum with cool prizes for the winners.

3. Jetplane Landing, Friday night, Ebrington

Jetplane Landing are possibly the least technical, certainly the least digital, but possibly the most unmissable thing happening during CultureTECH 2013. Formed in 1999 by Andrew Ferris and Jamie Burchell along with guitarist Cahir O’Doherty (Fighting With Wire), the band are most noted for their classic post-hardcore album ‘Once Like A Spark’, a masterpiece of the genre that has influenced scores of rock bands since its release in 2003.

This is the band’s first full appearance in Derry for over eight years, in support of their latest record ‘Don’t Try’, which has been gaining rave reviews in the press.

They are joined by Smalltown America label mates More Than Conquerors and Axis Of for a night to be remembered.

4. Belfast Media Festival, Thurs-Fri, The Playhouse

This year the Belfast Media Festival are going back to basics, focusing all their attention around television and its future.

If you’re interested in joining the debate around the future of TV content, distribution and technology, then please register now on the Belfast Media Festival website ( as places are limited.

There will also be the usual opportunities to get hands-on with current and new broadcast technology and free camera training workshops from the BBC Academy.

Sessions will also include debate around diversity in the creative industries including a showcase screening of Zhenia Mahdi’s thought-provoking ‘Tapestry of Colours’. There will also be debate and insight around funding for Indies, a session on the Irish Language, and the usual highlight session ‘Meet The Commissioners’.

The BMF Showcase, taking place on the morning of Thursday 12 September from 10am to 1pm, is aimed at graduates, students and any young person interested in a career in the creative industries. There will be media professionals from all sectors to talk to, demonstrations of camera and digital equipment.

The BBC Academy and Channel 4’s 4Talent will be present to tell you all about their new initiatives, including exciting new apprenticeships around technology. The BBC Academy will also be running a session ‘Getting In’, giving you tips and advice on how to make that final breakthrough into the industry.

5. Internet Cat Video Festival, Thurs night, Cafe Soul

“It’s not about watching cat videos, it’s about watching cat videos together.”

As the name suggests, the Internet Cat Video Festival (#catvidfest) features a curated programme of feline-focused internet clips submitted by fans online.

Part social experiment, part film festival, the original event in 2012 took place at the Walker Art Centre in Minnesota and attracted an audience of over 10,000 people, making headlines across the globe.

This is the event’s first trip to Europe and we’ll be screening the festival onto the city’s historic walls.

Come and join in the fun at the most unique event in the CultureTECH programme - and possibly even the entire City of Culture year!

Food and soft drinks will be available to buy but feel free to bring your own comfy chairs and ‘grown up’ beverages.

Cosplay and furry friends are welcome, as is the whole family! The event is free but you can make an optional donation to Children in Crossfire, this year’s festival charity.

6. Loebner Prize

For the first time on the island of Ireland, Derry-Lononderry will host the International Loebner Prize 2013 Contest in Artificial Intelligence (AI) to find the world’s best conversational chatbot computer program in collaboration with universities in the USA, Denmark, France, England and island of Ireland.

Each year an Annual Prize and Bronze Medal is awarded to the most human-like computer. All prizes are sponsored by New York philanthropist, Dr. Hugh Loebner.

Loebner Prize 2013, in collaboration with Foyle Learning Community and TeenTech CIC, also includes a Junior Loebner Prize in which the Junior Judging Panel consists of school pupils between 12 and 14 years old.

Loebner Prize 2013 will also be broadcast on `Head Squeeze’, 360 Production & BBC Worldwide’s YouTube channel and across media channels from the USA, France, Germany, Austria, UK and Ireland.

7. Glasgowbury Picnic, Saturday, Guildhall Square

Last year Duke Special, Soak, Amidships, Best Boy Grip and Our Krypton Son held court over Guildhall Square on the last day of CultureTECH.

This year CultureTECH have handed the reins over to Glasgowbury for the afternoon. They promise to bring a slice of their Small But Massive weekend to the city.

Celebrating up-and-coming artists from across NI, there’ll be samba bands, street performers, buskers, retro video-games and performances from Silhouette, The Greased Palm, The Clameens, The Wood Burning Savages, Shay Whelan, Ed Zealous and more

8. Music Programme, all week

What’s not to love about this year’s CultureTECH music programme?

There are over 20 gigs across the week - most of the free of just a few pounds in - and featuring some of the coolest acts around including Rams Pocket Radio, Daithi, Not Squares, Ed Zealous, Psycatron, RITON and many more - all hosted by NI labels and festivals. This is a proper showcase of what NI can offer.

And if you’re not sure where to start, there are music events every single night of the week down in Sandinos.

9. Workshops and Seminars, all week

The first workshops start on Tuesday afternoon and cover everything from business to digital media to creativity to technology in the arts. The vast majority of them are free including four days of workshops in the Invest NI popup office on Castle Street and a full day of free music industry workshops in the Nerve Centre on Friday.

And then of course there is the industry conference on Wednesday, where hundreds of delegates and dozens of presenters will convene for the biggest technology conference ever hosted in Derry.

10. The People, all week

Of course the most exciting thing that will be taking place in Derry this week is the good Derry people will be out in force, playing games, watching film screenings, listening to great music and playing host to delegates and guests from nearly a dozen countries.

See more on ‘The epic festival of digital technology’ at