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Helen Kennedy Introduces the World Café workshop

Helen Kennedy is Head of Media at University of Brighton. She’s an influential leader and important connecting point between the academic world and our tech and creative businesses.

She is also lead research on the Refig project, with Canadian funding, aiming to instigate transformations within the games industry.


Partnership is dear to the heart of Brighton University. The School of Media is only two years old. It was born out of the much bigger School of Art and Design. Not all courses are directly aligned with the challenges we’ve heard about this morning, so there is constant work to do.

The graduate show is open right now, I’d recommend you check it out, our students are producing exceptional, engaged work. Photography and moving image courses take place right here on this floor. My key mantra is: we need to constantly test, refine and innovate with our external stakeholders.

We need to push at the structural frameworks that separate the city from the university.

Brighton is a wonderful place for all of our talent to emerge into. But we are aware that many of the creative practices they might want to pursue are very precarious. Unpaid or ‘hopeful’ labour. And this is unsustainable for all but a privileged few. If you’re working for free it depends on the bank of someone else.

So we need to become a creative environment that is rich enough to sustain that.

This afternoon’s workshop will use World Café methodology. It’s a beautiful dance of movement around the room by all of you, facilitated by a person at each table. The aim is to produce ideas that work towards a continuing conversation that itself can become a manifesto, to be produced for next year.

There are three big questions that Phil has outlined today:

  1. How should businesses work with education?
  2. How do we attract, develop and retain?
  3. How can the city council or other infrastructures make the city better?

Each table is focusing on one of these questions. Please spend 20 minutes on the table you’re at, contributing to the conversation, then get up and move to a different table with a different question and conversation. That’s where you get to curate your experience with a nice bit of kerfuffle in the middle.

I imagine the first conversation will go fast and the challenge is to capture it in note form. Please write down your ideas in a nice, clear legible fashion.

What we’d like to get to by the end of the session is not just the ‘what’ but the ‘how’. Then Phil and his team at Wired Sussex will turn the resulting ideas into a wiki, so we can continue to follow and develop those, with a view to moving forward all the way until 2019, where we will develop a manifesto 

Let Round One commence.

Helen opens up the floor and at this point the Skills Summit de-centralises into groups seated around nine tables (with three tables discussing each question).

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