SPARK:ED Brighton returns for third year

- 1 day festival of ideas, sparking new local opportunities - 


SPARK:ED, the one-day festival of ideas sparking new local opportunities through innovation in digital education, will return to Brighton for its third consecutive year on Saturday 17th September.  Taking place at the Barclays Eagle Labs Brighton, SPARK:ED has this year been commissioned by Brighton Digital Festival as part of its Education Strand.  

For one day, SPARK:ED Brighton will bring together teachers, entrepreneurs, employers, community leaders and young people to find new ways of using innovation in digital education to create real, local opportunities.

The format for the day requires teams to use an ideas canvas to tackle specific challenges, seek out the richest solutions, create a vision and identify practical next steps to make their ideas a reality. 

This year the starting points the teams will be given are:

1. Developing the city’s digital talent

Would a better system for spotting and nurturing the development of young digital talent help to produce the next generation of digital entrepreneurs in Brighton? Could an initiative similar to British Athletics' The Power of Ten work for developing digital talent?  Could it help to provide the right resources, support and encouragement, in formal learning, non-formal learning and home environments?

2. Building a meaningful edtech community

Could the creation of the an edtech event that focuses more on being 'a good night out’ rather than a place to 'sell' or 'learn' be a better way of getting more teachers to embrace technology in how they teach? Could an edtech event that is more like Glug or a retro games night create a better environment for teachers and edtech entrepreneurs to come together? Could it attract busy teachers who are reluctant or scared to embrace technology, rather than just preaching to the converted? 

3. Recognising young people’s skills outside of the curriculum

Could an ecosystem of Open Badges for skills in Brighton offer better opportunities for young people?  What would being a pioneer city for Open Badges look like in Brighton?  Who would be involved? What would make it desirable to get involved? What would make it desirable to young people? And what benefits would there be for Brighton as a whole? How could we use Open Badges to create a true 'city of learning'?

SPARK:ED was created in 2014 as a not-for-profit, joint venture between two Brighton-based businesses; Long Run Works, a communication and innovation agency and MakerClub a platform and community for 3D printed robotics.

 Simon Riley, CEO of MakerClub, “We feel that edtech offers fantastic opportunities for our city but the speed of change is so fast it can be hard to grasp them and make them real.  We need to act at a local level to make sure young people have the skills they need for the future.” 

Guy Pattison, CEO of Long Run Works, “At SPARK:ED Brighton people don’t just share new ideas, they make valuable new connections.  This enables people from different backgrounds to work together after the event to make some of the ideas discussed a reality.  We don’t own the ideas – the people that take part do.” 

Some of the great ideas have come out of the previous two SPARK:ED events include:

·      The crowdfunding and creation of Brighton’s first digital education space dedicated to learning technology and exploring creativity – The Maker Lab

·      A ‘Rewilding Brighton’ working group exploring ways to reconnect children and their parents to nature.  

·      The School Bus project taking mobile education to refugee children in Calais.


A small amount of free tickets are still available to take part in SPARK:ED Brighton at