Iain Hamilton Xponorth Credit Gillian Frampton Small Size

XpoNorth reveal dates and first speakers for 2022 digital conference

Published: 24/02/2022

Registration is now open for XpoNorth’s highly anticipated annual conference, making a welcome return across the 15th and 16th of June with the key theme of storytelling running through the programme.

Iain Hamilton - Head of Creative Industries at HIE

The 2022 edition will explore the unique global provenance of the Highlands and Islands, both as home to a highly ambitious and distinctive creative community, and as an internationally significant destination steeped in fascinating history and narratives.

This theme will be delved into throughout the conference, as the power of storytelling to both encourage innovative cross-sectoral collaboration and create exciting new opportunities to align tradition with innovation is highlighted.

Following on from the success of last year’s event, organisers XpoNorth, Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s (HIE) specialist year-round support mechanism, are delighted to reveal the first speakers at the interactive digital conference, with Gareth Jones among the high-profile line-up.

Part of the original three-man DC01 design team at Dyson, which revolutionised the vacuum cleaner market, Gareth, founder and owner at Freshworks, will lead an Innovation session, sharing his insights on developing innovative products that solve real world problems.

Conference delegates with an interest in heritage will be excited to hear from speakers including Tamsin Russell, workforce development officer at the Museums Association, and programme director, artist and researcher Esther Fox, Head of Accentuate, who will lead a session on diversity in the sector.

Panel session Shared Perspectives will explore culture and creativity, place and community in the Highlands and Islands and Nova Scotia, with panellists Emily McEwen-Fujita, president of publishers Bradan Press in Nova Scotia, and Ealasaid MacDonald, Director of Strategy and External Affairs for MG Alba. Leading international literary agents, John Jarrold and Amy Collins, will give an insight into how agents and indie authors can and are now working together in a Writing and Publishing session.

Designing for Health and Wellbeing will explore how design can be used to influence lifestyle choices, with speakers including Sarah Drummond, service designer, founder of award design agency Snook and architect Karen Anderson, founding partner of architectural design practice Anderson Bell Christie.

Lifestyle trends will be delved into at the Fashion/ Craft/ Textiles session, led by global authority WGSN, using expert trend forecasting and consumer insight. A Screen and Broadcast panel will focus on the emergence of new markets in the screen sector, exploring how the pandemic has reshaped the entertainment landscape and created surprising new collaborations.

Iain Hamilton, head of creative industries at HIE and co-founder of XpoNorth, said: “We’re delighted to announce the dates for this year’s edition of XpoNorth and excited to share some of the key themes the conference will explore. Over recent years, XpoNorth has truly developed into a unique cross-sectoral event where businesses with complementary skills and knowledge can come together to share ideas and opportunities.

“With a distinct emphasis on storytelling and place, this year will not only offer an innovative opportunity to highlight the strength and diversity of the creative economy across the Highlands and Islands, but also its impact on communities, the region more widely- and how this speaks to the International marketplace. We’d also like to tell the story of XpoNorth itself this year, both as a conference and as HIE’s specialist year round support programme for the sector.“

Following two hugely successful years as a digital event, the conference will return as a highly interactive online experience via the Socio platform. Designing an immersive destination where attendees from different sectors can connect and exchange ideas is central to the XpoNorth experience, with this year’s edition offering enhanced opportunities for attendees through a blend of unique seminar content, dedicated 1-2-1 sessions, networking opportunities and digital trade spaces.

The full line up and further details will be announced in the coming weeks and months. To register interest in attending the conference, find out about trade stand applications, be kept up to date with the latest news from XpoNorth and to discover hundreds of engaging pieces of content please visit www.xponorth.co.uk

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