Next month is going to be amazing!

Update 2011 is part of the Brighton Digital Festival

September is going to be crazy.

September is the Brighton Digital Festival, a month of art and technology events organized by the community and coordinated by a steering committee coordinated by Lighthouse Arts and partially supported by the Arts Council. I’m on the festival steering committee, alongside Honor Hager from Lighthouse, Andy Budd from ClearLeft, Laurence Hill from Fabrica, and Jo Roberts from Wired Sussex. Working with the industrious Jonathan Aizlewood, I helped coordinate and design the web site for the festival and I’m deeply involved in a number of the events taking place during the month. In fact, the festival is the reason that my own conference, Update 2011, came into being.

Things kick off on the 1st of September with the Semiconductor Private View for their Solar Systems exhibit, curated by Lighthouse. This will also serve as the launch event of the festival. I will be giving a short speech at the event, alongside Honor, Sally Abbott, Regional Director, Arts Council England South East and Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, Cabinet Member for Culture, Recreation and Tourism, Brighton and Hove City Council.

The next day, I will be attending dConstruct, a web conference organized by ClearLeft. I spoke at dConstruct twice and I’ve attended every one apart from last year’s (when I was called away to Oslo to present the opening keynote at Frontend 2010).

On the 3rd, our speakers will begin to arrive for Update 2011 and during the day on the 4th Team Update will be busy setting up the Brighton Dome and taking pre-registrations for the conference.

On the evening of the 4th, Update 2011 will kick off with the Royal Banquet, the pre-conference dinner for speakers, sponsors, and select guests, at the Royal Pavilion. Starting with a champagne reception, followed by a private tour of the palace, and culminating in dinner in the Royal Banqueting Hall. (Although the conference has sold out, there are still a few special tickets left for the Royal Banquet and for some of the workshops.)

The 5th is Update day. The conference, which takes place at the Brighton Dome, features inspirational keynotes from some of the top names from the worlds of iOS, User Experience, and Web, Geek Ninja Battles, Tech Beats, a Show & Tell stage sponsored by Monotype Imaging for impromptu community sessions, digital art installations, and live music.

Following the conference, we will be moving to the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery for the A Night at the Museum after-party – sponsored by Microsoft/Ubelly – where the artists will perform extended sets and where we’ll have even more digital art installations (as well as a chance to let our hair down and talk to each other.)

On the 6th & 7th are the Update workshops, where world-famous instructors including Jeff LaMarche, Remy Sharp, Sarah Parmenter, and Marcus Zarra will be teaching classes on topics ranging from HTML5 for Mobile to Appcelerator Titanium, iOS Design, and OpenGL ES.

From the 10th to the 14th, I’l be attending Flash on the Beach. I still remember spending hours on the phone with John when he was setting it up many moons ago and introducing him to speakers for the inaugural event. I even hosted the unofficial opening party at my apartment for 100+ speakers and attendees on the first year and had a lovely time presenting at the conference for several years. I got to catch up with John after my closing keynote at Future of Web Design in London this year and look forward to seeing what he’s cooked up for the conference this year. Flash on the Beach isn’t just a Flash conference anymore, it’s moving away from Flash just like a lot of Flash developers are. (I starting moving away towards the end of 2007. Interestingly, that coincides with the launch of the iPhone and iOS. And I’m damn glad I got to attend the Stevenote at Macworld where he announced the iPhone. Ironically, I presented a session on Flash after the keynote. Ah, memories.)

On the 15th and 16th, I will be teaching two workshops to year 9 and 10 school kids at Valdean School and Longhill School as part of the education track of the Brighton Digital Festival. The education track is very close to my heart as those of you who follow my Twitter feed or who saw me speak about education at the BeBettr event earlier in the year will know and Jamie Wyld from Lighthouse, supported in-part by Arts Council funding, has done a great job in organizing it.

It’s no secret that I feel that tech education in England is terribly broken and that we should be teaching kids to be digitally fluent, not just literate. In essence, we should be teaching kids how to be producers not just consumers of digital artefacts. To this end, in my workshops, I will be teaching kids how to program using a visual approach that is immediately rewarding and lends itself to being shared. I’ll blog more details later.

Following that, I fly to Stockholm on the 17th to teach my iOS development workshop at Cornerstone.

I return on the 22nd, in time to present a keynote on the 23rd at the Improving Reality conference in Brighton.

On the 24th, I plan on sleeping.

What a month. I’m hugely looking forward to it and I hope you’ll join us for at least some of the events during the Brighton Digital Festival.