Ashford Digital Meetup

Posted on 23 July 2018

Last Wednesday (July 18), Kent Digital Meetup launched their first event in Ashford, as part of Create Platform, an initiative Ashford Borough Council have supported since its inception.

Hannah Clayton-Peck, Economic Development Officer at Ashford Council, said: “We were really excited when we first heard about having a Digital Meet in Ashford.

“Creating a buzz in the town centre and an informal space to discuss things critical to the future of the business landscape is something the Council wanted to support and promote and will continue to do so in the future!”

“Creating a buzz in the town centre and an informal space to discuss things critical to the future of the business landscape is something the Council wanted to support.”

Hannah Clayton-Peck, Economic Development Officer at Ashford Borough Council

Indeed, on July 18, 60 digital professionals from the borough and across Kent came together at the newly-opened Taproom to network and learn more about the hot topics in the digital world as well as discover some of the innovative work carried out by an Ashford-based company.

An enthusiastic Luke Frake, co-founder and director at Space Between and Meetup organiser, kickstarted this first evening by introducing to the stage another digital-savvy local company – AΦE.

Founded in Ashford back in 2013 by Aoi Nakamura and Esteban Fourmi, this innovative dance company creates high-quality productions that immerse the audience fully into the artistic experience. To do so, Nakamura and Fourmi use the latest technology to create interactive experiences, as shown with WHIST.

This immersive theatre and VR experience has been praised throughout the world for its innovative approach, putting the audience at the heart of the production thanks to VR headsets and an interactive art installation. During the Meetup, both artists walked us through the concept, process and challenges they went through to put this innovative production together, blending reality and fiction as well as digital technology and arts performance along the way. An inspirational talk that showed the audience the boundless possibilities technology offers all industries.

Kent Digital Meetup Ashford, Space Between
Kent Digital Meetup Ashford, AOE

Next up was Froilan Legaspi who went on to introduce the work he’s doing with DigitalTown. Using the latest technology, the company creates web and mobile tools that allow people, whether locals or visitors, to easily search, connect and buy local products or services. This in turn creates stronger local economies by bypassing web giants of the extraction economy. He then introduced some of the most forward-thinking ideas behind DigitalTown, such as the use of blockchain to empower individuals. The talk sparked some thought-provoking questions with Legaspi highlighting the possibilities this technology has to offer.

Luke Frake, KDM Organiser, said:

“Ashford is my home-town, so it was really amazing to be able to say that something is coming home this summer! The turn-out for the event shows that we have a huge amount of digital talent in the Ashford area and that they’re keen to attend events like this to meet likeminded people sharpen their skills.

The event itself was a huge success with lots of positive feedback and we’ll be looking to keep the event running for the foreseeable future.

“The turn-out for the event shows that we have a huge amount of digital talent in the Ashford area.”

Luke Frake, KDM Organiser