Earlier this month I had the pleasure of speaking at the Refresh Teesside event in Middlesbrough. This post is a little breakdown of what I said in my 5 minutes of fame and why I think this is such an important event.
This was my third time at Refresh this year. It’s a monthly get together of creative types from all over the Teesside area. There are people who come in from further a field as well. That’s important to note, as the North East was (recently accidentally) described in the Lords as ‘desolate’. After attending events like Refresh, you will know this to be completely wrong.
My feeling after the first Refresh I attended was bewilderment. I knew there were many people in the North East in the creative industry, I am one, but I had no idea it was a strong as it is. The recent economic history has affected the North East harder than most other parts of the UK. Seeing the resilience of local businesses, championing the region was, frankly, heart-warming. From then on, I was in!
Come to my third trip, I had gotten to know the organisers and we’d discussed the potential for some talks from myself. The Refresh events have a 5 minute speaker slot for 4 speakers a month. This has been the format for a few months and is working well. Electing to discuss this very site and how I’ve kept it going, we thought we would be on to something interesting.
Enter the presentation: “How to become, kind of a big deal”
Starting with a Ron Burgundy slide always goes down smooth. As I covered some of the successes and failures I’ve experienced with launching and maintaining sites and building an on-line presence and identity, the audience were receptive and given their laughter at the right points, were engaged.
Finishing up my talk, I was rewarded with a round of applause and slipped off back to my pint. Over dinner (did I mention their’s free food?) I was lucky enough to discuss some of the topics from my talk and got to talk to some new faces and make some great new contacts.
If you’re looking for signs regarding the creative strength of the North East, you need look no further than Refresh. But! If you did, you would see that there are events from Leeds to Newcastle, spanning all forms of creative activities. The North is far from desolate.
(I will also note it was a very good night for me as I won the monthly Twitter competition and strolled home with a new iPad mini.)