Northern Startups: Lets Go Global, creative technology and arts organisation

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by David Prior

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lggStartup: Lets Go Global

What is it? A creative technology and arts organisation

Founder: Karen Shannon

Based: Salford

Founded: 2003

Digital technology has an infinite array of applications, but it's not often discussed in terms of the power it has to create positive change in society. That's something Lets Go Global is doing something about.

Conceived back in 2003 by Karen Shannon at Trafford Council and run as an internet TV station, Lets Go Global has since evolved into a media and arts organisation offering ideas, training, creative technology workshops, video production, live broadcasting and project management. Two years ago it was spun out of the council and is now an entirely self-funded community interest group.

shannon Karen Shannon

"We focus on people and improving people's lives," says Shannon, a former nurse who trained in London before moving up to Manchester to study for a degree in media and performance. "We respond to what's happening in terms of technology and how we might use that in creative ways."

In practice, that could mean helping young people find a route into the media or digital industries (based at MediaCityUK, the organisation has strong links with the BBC and ITV), and it also targets people in socially and economically deprived areas, seeking to give them opportunities through the arts.

With a team of four but a freelance pool of over 20, Lets Go Global relies on a variety of sources for its funding, from the Arts Council to Children in Need. Shannon admits that recent times have been "very very challenging", but that they work on some "amazing projects".

Northern Startups: Zeven Media, social media photo boothsOne of those projects, Poppy, connected libraries, artists and arts organisations across Greater Manchester for an innovative series of creative events to mark the centenary of the First World War.

Shannon is now looking to take Lets Go Global to the next level. It will shortly rebrand to simply Let's Go, and she is targeting housing associations, corporates and the public health sector as new areas for business. She also wants to branch out into other areas of the North West.

"It's ultimately about nurturing people, about being happy, human, and all those things that culture and art can give us. We have a good reputation already, but now it's about how we go further."

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