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Digital City Festival 2021 to address key topics of growth, innovation, ethics and much more


This year’s Digital City Festival (DCF) will look at some of the most current and vital topics in the digital sphere, featuring keynotes, seminars, Q&As and more from global figures.

The Advisory Board, which features a diverse selection of names from digital and tech, came together at a series of meetings in recent weeks – the summaries from which can be read here. They discussed some of the festival’s central themes to shape the agenda for the two-week event in April.

During the festival, the Digital City Network will host keynotes from a selection of thought leaders, as well as Q&As, masterclasses, seminars, and more. Its programme of unmissable content will cover some of 2021’s most important themes, addressing the key challenges that face people, businesses and economies.

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Digital City Festival 2021 starts on April 12th and runs for two weeks on the Digital City Network.

Digital innovation

DCF will set out to look at the key challenges as well as the key trends in digital innovation. There will be a focus on how new ideas can solve pressing current issues – including the vital one of the climate crisis. There are also more necessary conversations than ever surrounding cybersecurity, AI, VR/AR, machine learning, and automation which are consistently at the top of digital professionals’ minds.

Entrepreneurs and experts will unite at the festival to investigate these solutions and their impacts, and share their expertise.

They’ll be looking at digital transformation, which in 2020 has been fast-tracked for many businesses. Speaking at the Advisory Board meeting, Martin SFP Bryant, Founder of Big Revolution said, “If there aren’t enough digital solutions to support [recovering] sectors, we should be asking why.”

Growth and productivity

The influence of COVID-19 doesn’t stop there – uptake of eCommerce solutions has skyrocketed, benefiting many businesses and consumers, while drastically changing the landscape.

Dan Sodergren, Mellissa Flowerdew-Clarke, Martin SFP Bryant, Stuart Clarke, L
The Advisory Board has helped shape the agenda for April’s festival

The festival will host a number of conversations around eCommerce and similar implementations of technology. As Tech Nation’s Head of Entrepreneur Engagement Liz Scott said, “Tech has been game-changing for retailers this year”, while Manchester’s online commerce industry is championed as a world leader.

On a wider scale, the festival will also cover how the collaboration of specialists in digital, marketing and tech can have a larger impact on individual businesses’ success, as well as the wider economy. 

Digital for good

No discussion of digital is complete without addressing its impact on society. As Amul Batra, Chief Partnerships Officer of Northcoders, said, “if we aren’t drawing on a much more diverse and inclusive tech population, then we’re not fixing a lot of the things that need fixing.”

Across the festival, conversations will be hosted on the responsibility tech firms have to focus on solving their sector’s issues, as well as the potential solutions they could create to worldwide ones.

Events will discuss the power of digital to make a difference, as well as looking at the digital divide, and go in-depth on the economic and skills gaps – not to mention inclusivity, diversity, accessibility, and more concepts which have an impact on today’s tech workforce.


Completing the programme will be a host of events focused on digital and internet culture. Cultural bodies have needed to adapt quickly in 2020, becoming a central part of the digital world as more people keep themselves informed and entertained online.

Culture has become something which looks very different at the beginning of 2021 than it did last year. Creatives no longer have to be in a particular place to reach a wider audience – and that’s just one thing that’s changed. 

At Digital City Festival, these new challenges and opportunities will form part of the wider conversation surrounding the future of digital.


Michael Dicks, Head of Delivery in Manchester at BJSS, Headline Partners at DCF alongside Dept, said: “For almost three decades, BJSS has been delivering high quality, world-class technology solutions. The quality of our work, the culture and resilience of our people, and our passion for meeting our clients’ needs have allowed us to continue our growth. We’ve continued to align with client demands, establishing offices across the UK, North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

“Last year’s debut Digital City Festival gave us some great insight into the fantastic community we have in the North West. As a result, we have been keen to play a key role again in this year’s event. BJSS now offers services across Management Consulting, Product and Service Design, Data, Engineering, Cloud and Managed Services. These services are all underpinned by our passion for Digital – helping our clients continuously evolve to meet the demands of constant change, which has never been more evident than the challenges and opportunities that recent events have brought to us all.

“At BJSS, we focus on ensuring we provide a supportive and stimulating environment for all our colleagues. Digital City Festival allows us to engage with like-minded digital businesses.

“Bringing together expertise from such a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences is so important in advancing the opportunities the digital sector can bring to both the private and public industries. The digital economy is now more important than ever before. During the festival, we are keen to engage and collaborate with organisations and people from across a broad range of backgrounds so we can share ideas and come together to create a very exciting future for our sector.”

Register to attend Digital City Festival 2021 in order to access conversations and talks on all these topics and many more. Registration is free and provides access to the dedicated Digital City Network, which will also host the Digital City Awards. Click here to get started.

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