Thinking Digital Arts 2017

Where arts, technology and digital culture collide

This event celebrates emerging digital arts practices that are fusing new connections between arts technology and digital culture.  Thinking Digital Arts have sought out some of the most distinguished and innovative artists designers and performers to come and create debate challenge and inspire.

On 16th and 17th May the Sage Gateshead will host The Thinking Digital Conference, alongside performances and film.  It will include a performance by Twice grammy awarded artist and innovator Imogen Heap who blurs boundaries between art and creative entrepreneurship. Plus a film premier by our #FutureForecast guest editor and Wired Innovation fellow Di Mainstone, who creates interactive installations that combine sculpture music dance technology and film. For Thinking Digital Arts she will respond to Sage Gateshead and blend digital and biotechnologies with music acoustics movement and architecture to create a design fiction film.

Di Mainstone Fiction film

The 2 day event will also include a panel discussion with Imogen Heap, Yuri Suzuki, Alex McLean, Di Mainstone and Ghislaine Boddington . Chair: Dominic Smith

The Conference speakers include:

Mark Mullen:

 Mark Mullen is the CEO of Atom Bank

Fintech Pioneer

How do you build a bank for the mobile world?

For three years, Mark Mullen has been helping to build the foundations of Atom Bank, the UK’s first bank made exclusively for mobile. Mark left his job at the HSBC Group in 2014 to co-found the bank, and is currently its CEO.

The Durham-based firm offers app-based banking with no branches and no opening hours. It recently launched an online-only mortgage product.

Before Atom Bank, Mark was the chief executive of first direct, and his role was expanded to include the HSBC UK Contact Centres in 2013. He joined HSBC in 200 to launch its business internet platform, and has also worked as head of marketing for first direct and HSBC Bank’s Middle East operations.

John Kershaw:

John is the Founder of M14 Industries

Dragon Slayer

John is the Founder of M14 Industries, the service that lets anyone have their own dating app. M14’s flagship app is Bristlr, dubbed the “Tinder for beards” and winner of the “Best new dating site” at the UK Dating Awards.

Chris Turner:

Chris Turner is an award-winning comic

Comedy Rapper

He’s an unlikely freestyle rapper – with a taste for tea and Roman numerals.

Chris Turner is an award-winning comic, known on the comedy club and corporate circuit for his neat gags and improvised raps. The West Australian has dubbed him “the thinking man’s comedian”.

Chris is a veteran of three Edinburgh Festivals and was nominated for Best Comedy at Perth Fringeworld 2017. He’s racked up over 5 million views on YouTube, and is no stranger to audiences on BBC Radio 2, 6Music and RTL4’s standup show, The Comedy Factory. He is also a favourite on the corporate circuit, and recently worked with Yorkshire Tea to create a tea-centric rap called Blessed are the Teamakers.

His 2017 Edinburgh show – What a Time to be Alive – will spill the beans about his recent move to America.

Imogen Heap:

Imogen Heap- Self-produced, engaged, twice Grammy awarded

Photo Credit Fiona Garden

 Audio Innovator

Self-produced, engaged, twice Grammy awarded, Imogen Heap blurs the boundaries between pure art form and creative entrepreneurship. Heap has always communicated and collaborated with her loyal following (currently she has over 2.2m twitter followers alone) both on and offline in pioneering ways. She is the founder of The MiMu musical gestural glove system.

As an independent artist, Imogen started to think on how the music industry could be improved in the wake of blockchain technology and smart contracts. So in her spare time, Imogen’s been speaking and meeting up mostly about what she calls ‘Mycelia’ – A foundation from which to create, champion and maintain the ethical, technological and commercial standards required to run a fair trade music industry.

Di Mainstone:

Di Mainstone creates sculptures, devices and installations

Artist Experimenter

For artist Di Mainstone, the magic starts with movement.

Di creates sculptures, devices and installations inspired by the movements of the human body. Many of these transform movement into sound, and are inspired by developments in technology. Her projects include a clip-on device that allows people to “play” suspension bridges like a giant harp, and a “hydrocordion” which creates soundscapes by playing with air and water.

Di is an artist in residence at Queen Mary University, and has also worked with The National Portrait Gallery, The V&A and The Barbican.

As a commissioned artist for Thinking Digital Arts, she will also be creating a film that will draw out the unique characteristics of TDC’s long-time “home”: The Sage Gateshead.

Plus many more speakers- to see who else is on the 2017 bill or for the full schedule visit

Tickets and Registration

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