XpoNorth Digital: Shared Perspectives Conference

XpoNorth Digital: Shared Perspectives Conference

Saturday 13th May

The Highland Cinema
Cameron Square
Fort William
PH33 6AJ


Register for the in person event here

If you would rather attend online, please register here

Join us for Shared Perspectives, a thought-provoking one day conference exploring the potential for digital to unlock transformative new opportunities for the creative and heritage sectors across the Highlands and Islands’.

With digital increasingly driving transformative new national and international opportunities for the creative and heritage sectors across the Highlands and Islands, Shared Perspectives offers a thought-provoking one day conference exploring what this could mean for your business, project, organisation or network.

Delivered by XpoNorth Digital, this free event will take a practical look at how digital technologies are unlocking ambitious new areas for regional businesses. It will also offer a platform for creative and heritage networks to meet with other sectors, make new connections and discuss collaborative approaches to shared challenges and opportunities.

Join us to hear from a range of inspirational speakers and take part in workshop sessions on how digital storytelling can drive key parts of your business, regional impact and opportunities around the use of AI, crowdsourcing for the heritage sector and how creativity can power rural economies. There will also be an opportunity to meet 1-2-1 with XpoNorth Digital’s specialist advisors, HIE’s Creative Industries team and members of local development networks.

One-to-one sessions are now available to book on the day with our XpoNorth Digital Sector Specialists:

-Jessica Fox, Screen and Broadcast Specialist Advisor
-Nicola Henderson, Heritage Specialist Advisor
-Tim Wright, Digital Specialist Advisor

Email us now at info@xponorth.co.uk to secure your space!

Produced as a hybrid event, attendees can connect with the programme in-person or online.

In Focus: How Creativity Can Help Power Rural Economies

The creative economy is built on how communities, businesses and individuals can turn cultural knowledge into meaningful returns. With much of the research typically focussed on urban areas, this session offers a regional lens on one of the world’s fastest growing sectors. With their own distinct stories, culture of innovation, sense of place and provenance, regionally based creative businesses, projects and networks are not only key community assets, but have a lot to offer audiences and customers on a national and international level. As digital continues to significantly impact our ability to engage more directly, the creative industries also offer knowledge and skill-sets which are more important than ever to other sectors. With the creative economy’s importance increasing across social, economic and political agendas, this fascinating panel will look at the value of the sector from a range of perspectives and its potential to transform rural economies.

Kate Hooper: Creative Director and Co- Founder, Strategy Story

Kate is co-founder and co-director of award-winning, research-led strategy and strategic communications consultancy, StrategyStory. The company use modern storytelling and state of the art strategic thinking to help businesses, communities and other forms of organisation develop strategies that work. She is a former BBC Senior Content Producer and current Women’s Enterprise Scotland Ambassador. She is also the former Senior Communications Manager for the Institute of Design Innovation at Glasgow School of Art and an experienced journalist.

Lomond Campbell: Musician, Producer, Studio Owner

Multi-faceted artificer Lomond Campbell lives deep in the Highlands of Scotland. Although his music is grounded in sound it often incorporates sculpture, engineering, product design and visual art. Using a combination of hardware hacking and industrial manufacturing techniques, Lomond builds his own unique instruments and devices for creating sound which he combines with modular synths, piano and voice. He released his first album on Heavenly Recordings then took five years out to build a studio called The Lengths where he now makes all his work. He occasionally produces albums for other artists there, most notably Kathryn Joseph’s ‘for you who are the wronged’, which was recently shortlisted for the Scottish Album of the Year Award. After re-emerging from his hiatus he signed a record deal with One Little Independent Records, who were keen to release albums based around his unique instruments. His latest creation is a machine called the Unsung Machine that converts words to sound. Lomond spent his formative years making sound installations, winning a BAFTA for creating a moody, narcissistic music machine called Cybraphon which now resides in the National Museum of Scotland.

Simon McKerrell: Professor of Media and Music and Head of Media and Journalism, Glasgow Caledonian University

Professor Simon McKerrell is a Professor of Media and Music and Head of Media and Journalism at Glasgow Caledonian University. He is interested in the social impact of arts and particularly issues relating to the rural creative economy. He is an expert on the role of music in media and policy and the author of Focus: Scottish Traditional Music(Routledge), and the Co-Editor of both Music as Multimodal Discourse: Media, Power and Protest (Bloomsbury) and Understanding Scotland Musically: Folk, Tradition, Modernity (Routledge). He is also an expert performer of Highland-, Border- and Uilleann-pipes and has toured, taught and performed throughout the world and recorded twelve commercial albums. The final report from his research on the rural creative economy can be downloaded here: Music in the Rural Creative Economy Project | Simon McKerrell.

Iseabal Hendry, Designer

Born and raised in the Highlands of Scotland, Iseabal Hendry is inspired by the traditional craft skills that she grew up with, from basket-weaving and roof-thatching to clinker boatbuilding. As with these ways of making, Iseabal takes individual segments of a material and combines them by hand to create work that is both beautiful and functional. Her creative practice is materially-led, inspired by zero waste and her family heritage in leatherwork. Working with vegetable tanned leather, which changes over time dependent on how it’s handled. Iseabal finds beauty in this ever-changing quality which she finds mirrors her landscape, continually transforming with the shifting light. Iseabal has a number of stockists throughout the UK including the Hauser & Wirth owned luxury art-hotel, The Fife Arms.


Crowdsourcing for Heritage

Crowdsourcing is an important tool that can help heritage organisations build a community of volunteers to work with the gathering, processing and/or management of data. In museums, data is something we have plenty of - be it in how we manage and document our collections or how we share and tag our objects and stories online. In this session we will explore the kinds of projects and work that can be undertaken in this way and the who, where and how’s of recruiting and managing remote volunteers.

Nicola Henderson: Arts & Heritage Professional, XpoNorth Digital Specialist Advisor

Nicola Henderson is a freelance arts and heritage professional. She has worked within Scotland's Cultural Sector for almost 20 years - from Glasgow to Aberdeenshire via Skye and Sutherland. Nicola has worked as director of two of Scotland's leading cultural organisations - Timespan in Helmsdale and The Barn in Banchory. Following the birth of her first child, Nicola has worked freelance on a number of creative projects - from devising and delivering Associate Artist Programmes to managing New Music Scotland and working with the Highland heritage sector on building resilience. Nicola currently works as the Heritage Specialist for XpoNorth Digital and as the Innovation and Network manager for Museums and Heritage Highland - two roles that overlap in supporting museums to innovate for a sustainable future. She also co-runs the Museums Immersive Network with Cornwall Museums Partnership.

Tim Wright: Crowd Economy Specialist, Consultant and Author

Tim Wright is an XpoNorth Digital Specialist Advisor and Director and co founder of twintangibles- a Scottish based management consultancy that helps organisations create value through accessing the crowd economy. A leading thinker and practitioner on crowdfunding, Tim has provided expert insight to the OECD, European Commission and the Scottish Government and is author of The Scottish Crowdfunding Report. Previously Tim has worked for Egon Zehnder International and McKinsey & Co and a number of other highly respected organisations.

Nina Janz, Scholar and lecturer in Military History

Nina Janz, PhD, is a scholar and lecturer in military history. She has studied European history and archival sciences in Hagen, Germany, and Haifa, Israel. She received her PhD in cultural anthropology and military history from the University of Hamburg, Germany, where she focused on the impact of death and violence, as well as the memory of World War II in the post-war period in Germany and Russia.

Nina has been awarded research fellowships at the Institute for Oral History in Voronezh, Russia, the AICGS/Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC, and the German Historical Institute Moscow, Russia, for her work on the project Soviet Prisoners of War in German Custody. Since 2020, Nina has been coordinating the WARLUX Project at the University of Luxembourg, which explores the war experiences of Luxembourgers conscripted into the Wehrmacht. In 2023, Nina was awarded the Marie Curie Slodowska Fellowship by the European Commission for her project involving a transnational comparison of war experiences among Belgian, Dutch, and Luxembourgish soldiers in Nazi forces. She will begin her project at NIOD (Dutch Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies) in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in September 2023. Nina has published extensively on topics related to the Wehrmacht/World War II, biographical and digital data analysis, war letters, and the soldierly experience during the war. In 2021, Nina and her team organised a national crowdsourcing campaign in the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg to collect war letters and diaries from WWII. The project proved to be a great success, with Nina and her team gathering a wealth of valuable information from the war letters and diaries. With this information, they conducted extensive research on the war experiences of individuals and the profound impact of the war on them and their families.


Networking Lunch

Networking Lunch and site visit to West Highlands Museum’s VR recreation offering a chance to travel back in time and experience the siege of Fort William in 1746 during the final Jacobite Rising.


An Overview of Data & IP

(*online pre-recorded session)

Join us for an Overview of Data and IP with Loretta Maxfield and Kirsty Stewart of Thorntons Law. In this two part session, we cover what data is and how it relates to the Creative Economies, what UKGDPR means, as well as what is meant by personal data, with Data Protection & GDPR, Intellectual Property Law Partner, Loretta Mayfield. In our second half, we are joined by Legal Director & Trade Mark Attorney, Kirsty Stewart, to discuss what types of IP exist and how these impact businesses, how IP can be protected and what your rights are as a copyright holder.


Using Artificial Intelligence to Work More Efficiently

You might think that artificial intelligence (AI) is something outside your experience, but you might be surprised how often you encounter it without knowing. That digital helper you encounter when trying to resolve a problem with your bank is almost certainly an AI chatbot. Those recommendations you get when booking a trip from a travel broker? Yep probably derived from an AI tool. That social media story you just read on TikTok? Quite probably written by AI.

But it's not just transformative for multi-regional and global firms, AI could offer serious opportunities for locally based businesses across sectors and ensure they don’t get left behind.

This accessible session will include experts from service providers offering AI-driven tools for your business that can make you more effective, efficient and agile- be it in customer services, marketing and communications, content creation and even recruitment. Covering what you can do and things to consider when you do, it's a ticket to a future that’s already here.

Sam Rhynas: Chief Operating Officer, effini

Sam is Chief Operating Officer at effini, an innovative data and AI solutions company.

With over 25 years’ experience in software engineering and data, she works with organisations developing both strategic approaches and practical solutions to help them become truly data driven.

She is a member of the Scottish AI Alliance Leadership Circle, focusing on Scotland’s Artificial Intelligence Strategy. Sam is passionate about diversity within the technology sector, she co-leads Girl Geek Scotland, and is an organiser for the Edinburgh chapter of PyData, a global community for users of open-source data tools for analytics and AI.

Anne Widdop: CEO and Founder, The VR Hive

Anne Widdop has 35+ years of experience as a technologist with significal project and commercial, infrastructure and service management experience across multiple industries, including as a Global Director at IBM and HP. She is one of the few women to have reached this level in blue-chip companies. In 2021, she established The VR Hive, a cutting edge company using AI, Gaming and Virtual Reality technology to transform the way we learn online. In the past 12 months she has created 12 high-tech jobs in Scotland, and has given many opportunities to new graduates and PhD's. The company is initially focusing on Mental Health and Wellbeing. Anne is driving a purpose led, ethical company tackling some of the biggest issues faced in society today.


Creativity and Identity: What Is Your Story?

Building a compelling online story creates deeper meaning for the products and services we offer. One of the oldest artforms, storytelling is a powerful tool for connecting people with the mission and message of our business, project, organisation or network. It also creates deeper empathy with customers and audiences- as well as helping other staff understand our aims, objectives and ethos. Creating this kind of meaning and value was at one time restricted to major networks, but technology now offers a way to reach larger audiences than ever before in a far more cost-effective way, and to deliver your story in multiple forms. This session brings together a diverse range of perspectives from creative industries, health and wellbeing and science to discuss how they use storytelling as a key creative skill across their working lives. From NASA to Knoydart, digital storytelling is a core skill that can open a world of opportunities.

Jessica Fox: Director, Writer, XpoNorth Digital Specialist Advisor

Jessica is a director, author and co-founder of Innerwell Media. She is also a specialist advisor for XpoNorth Digital. She has over 15 years of directing experience with credits that span award-winning film, theatre and TV. Her memoir, Three Things You Need to Know About Rockets was Waterstone's Book of the Month and is in development with Endeavor Content. Innerwell Media’s most recent film, Stella, a period-drama feature set in Galloway, Scotland won Best Drama at Tel Aviv International (2023) and Best First-Time Filmmaker at Montreal Independent Film Festival (2022). She also consults for science organisations and start-up companies in the UK/US looking at storytelling, creativity and communication (nerd-whispering). She was the resident storyteller at NASA and co-host "Fourth Wall", a podcast with NASA's former Chief Knowledge Officer, Ed Hoffman. She also co-founded The Open Book, the first ever bookshop holiday and Airbnb’s most popular pre-Covid destination in Wigtown, Scotland's National Book Town. Her most current book, "Once Upon a BioFuture", a collaboration with Edinburgh University's Synthetic Biology Lab is set to be published by Shoreline of Infinity in April 2023.

Willeke Van Rijn: CEO, The Resource Alliance

The Resource Alliance works globally to strengthen the social impact sector, by helping organisations of every size and type develop the critical human, financial and intellectual resources necessary to build a better world. Through their global network, they bring together the very best thinking and curate the knowledge, tools and connections most vital to help social impact organisations succeed in delivering on their missions. Willeke previously led the Strategy and Analysis team at SOS Children’s Villages, the world’s largest charity focused on providing a loving home for children everywhere. Willeke was formerly a consultant for FUNDES in Mexico, where she provided guidance on research as well as strategic recommendations on an innovative online capacity-building platform for micro and small enterprises in emerging markets. Prior to that, she spent 13 years at OXFAM as a global fundraising strategy advisor for affiliates around the world, including Mexico, India, South Africa, Brazil, Italy, Germany, and Belgium, where she provided strategic fundraising oversight; R&D of new fundraising markets and channels; and entry, set-up, and market development of new fundraising departments and personnel from idea to execution.

Bridget McNulty: Writer, Entrepreneur

Bridget McNulty is a writer, diabetes advocate and co-founder of Sweet Life, South Africa’s largest online diabetes community. She is also the co-founder of the Diabetes Alliance, a non-profit that brings together all the organisations, associations and companies working in diabetes in South Africa, and the current chairperson of SA Diabetes Advocacy, an umbrella non-profit of all the organisations of people with diabetes in South Africa. Bridget recently internationally published The Grief Handbook: A guide through the worst days of your life.

She lives in Cape Town, South Africa, with her husband, son and daughter, and loves nothing more than a cup of tea and a good book - preferably somewhere green and leafy.

Find out more at www.bridgetmcnulty.com

Catherine Deveney: Journalist, Novelist

Catherine Deveney is an experienced journalist who has worked across the media in the UK, including both newspapers and television. A former Scottish Journalist of the Year, she has won awards for feature writing, interviewing, and is this year’s Scottish Columnist of the Year for her opinion columns in the Press and Journal. As well as working freelance, she works part time for the National Union of Journalists organising and delivering media training courses. Catherine has also written four novels, a process which prompted her to study the psychology of writing, and she graduated in 2019 with a PhD. She is particularly interested in the therapeutic benefits of creative writing and has published academic papers in this field. She currently teaches Creative Writing for Wellbeing, working with a psychologist to help participants process trauma.

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Running Order

10:30am-11am: Registration with Tea & Coffee

11am - 11:10am: Welcome

11:10am - 12pm: In Focus: How Creativity Can Help Power Rural Economies

12pm - 1pm: Crowdsourcing for Heritage

1pm - 2pm: Networking Lunch

2pm - 3pm: Using Artificial Intelligence to Work More Efficiently

3pm - 4pm: Creativity and Identity: What Is Your Story?


Register for the in person event here

If you would rather attend online, please register here


Dietry Requirements:

To help us accommodate your dietary needs, please let us know if you have any specific dietary requirements or restrictions. If you have any food allergies, intolerances or sensitivities, please inform us and we will make every effort to provide suitable alternatives. If you have any other specific dietary requirements or restrictions, please let us know in advance, and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.

If you have any dietary requirements, please contact us at info@xponorth.co.uk


About XpoNorth Digital

XpoNorth Digital is Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s mechanism for specialist digital support for the creative economy across the Highlands and Islands. It is part of the Northern Innovation Hub, a project funded through the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal and is designed and delivered by Ironworks Venue. The Inverness and Highland City Region deal is a joint initiative supported by investment from the UK and Scottish Governments, The Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and University of the Highlands and Islands, and is aimed at stimulating sustainable regional economic growth.

Highland Cinema


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