Norfolk Conference to Set Vision For a Digitally Transformed County

Richard Bacon MP addresses delegates at the
'How Should Norfolk Grow?' digital conference
  • The conference is part of South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon’s ‘How Should Norfolk Grow?’ initiative, in association with the Norwich University of the Arts and supported by Barclays.

  • Speakers include Clive Lewis MP, George Freeman MP and Barclays Strategic Transformation Director, Dr Steven Roberts.

  • Norfolk’s top tech firms will present to an invited audience of decision makers from across the county.

A ground-breaking conference is to bring together Norfolk’s digital pioneers with key figures from Parliament, academia, local government and business to map out a vision for the digital transformation of the county.

The event will be co-hosted by South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon and Professor John Last, Vice-Chancellor of Norwich University of the Arts, and will highlight the opportunities that digital technology is offering to our families, our communities and Norfolk’s economy.   Attendees will be challenged to consider how the county can be positively transformed both through digital technology itself and the burgeoning industry behind it.

This conference is part of Mr Bacon’s ‘How Should Norfolk Grow?’ initiative, which continues to gather support from groups and individuals across the county.  Professor Last, who also chairs the Digital Creative sector group of New Anglia LEP, is leading the initiative’s Digital work-stream.

Mr Bacon said:  “Digital connectivity is a vital component of good growth, and so I am delighted that Professor John Last, Vice-Chancellor of the Norwich University of the Arts, is leading for ‘How Should Norfolk Grow?’ on digital connectivity and the digital economy. 

“Professor Last and I share a belief that Norfolk's quality of life, coupled with the extraordinary growth of digital businesses in our county, make a compelling case for further investment in our digital infrastructure. 

“We will be challenging delegates to form a vision for a digitally transformed Norfolk and to consider the tools needed to make the vision a reality.  John and his team at NUA have worked tirelessly to make this ground-breaking event possible and I very much look forward to seeing what form that vision takes”.

Professor Last of Norwich University of the Arts (NUA), said:  “NUA is delighted to be leading this initiative. We are privileged that so many senior colleagues from across Norfolk will join us to consider the many transformations that can result from taking full advantage of Digital Technology.

“Norwich has been named a Tech Cluster in the Tech Nation report for two years now – the cluster is estimated to be worth £148 million and accounts for 5,306 jobs, most of which are graduate level opportunities.

“The conference will offer an opportunity for six of the most interesting businesses in the sector to present the innovations they have developed.  But actually the most vibrant growth to come from the digital revolution is from traditionally non-tech organisations who are doing things differently because they have understood the opportunities that digital tech presents.

“Digital Tech has transformed the world of NUA. Everything is different; from the courses we offer in our fast-growing Media Faculty; in the investment we need to keep making in facilities, training and new personnel; in the fact that our competitors are global, not regional organisations.  2017 will see us launch our first BSc awards in the world of Creative Science.  It has been a challenging and exciting journey, and we are stronger for it.

“Digital Technology has forced a paradigm shift in the way we view ourselves, and the experience has made us ambitious for NUA and for Norfolk.”

International digital design agency Foolproof will help to run the day and delegates will hear from Norwich South MP Clive Lewis; the Strategic Transformation Director for Barclays, Dr Steven Roberts, and from Mid-Norfolk MP George Freeman, chairman of the Prime Minister’s Policy Board, who has campaigned for greater investment in the tech sector. 

Also presenting will be Norfolk digital entrepreneurs, including Rainbird, Liftshare, Thyngs, e-habitation, Different Dimensions, and Migsolv.  Clarke Willis MBE of Anglia Farmers will also talk about the ongoing work to bridge the rural digital divide. 

15 October 2016

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