Creative Tech Week
For the past year, I’ve been building a new event week called Creative Tech Week. The first one will be held in New York City during the first week of May. We cover the field from tech art to commercial and community creative technology programs and products. The mission is to give companies, institutions, organizations, and individuals who use technology to create art, design, and creative work the opportunity to showcase themselves.
Tell us about a project you’re currently developing or recently launched. How will/is it impact/impacting the tech industry and New York City at large?
We have about 200 partners committed to making this work with events all over the city. For example, NYU Tandon and Columbia Teachers College are both hosting independent conferences. An electronic art and performance center called Harvestworks is partnering with the National Arts Club; a global digital art prize foundation is partnering with St. Francis College; and the Met Media Lab is also participating. There are companies having educational hackathons and experiential ad agencies displaying and explaining their work with creative technology. The Brooklyn Public Library is hosting a day of talks and panels focused on issues of education and community involvement with the arts and technology. We have music, dance, and theatrical performances planned.
There are so many New York-based organizations and companies devoted to the field, however, many aren’t receiving much press because this is still an emerging industry. So our plan is both to raise the profile of the field and its players while establishing New York City as global center for the industry. We believe that these partnerships will strengthen the arts and tech industries and will allow diverse populations more participation; we’re uniting people with a multiplicity of skills and setting the bar for the next tech boom.
What makes New York an ideal home for the tech industry?
There are many special things about New York, but at the end of the day it’s all about the people. New Yorkers are very driven, intellectual, and possess a brightness of ideas. Moreover, we have the major media, publishing, and finance industries, which are all transforming into tech-driven entities.
New York also has the highest concentration of creativity in the arts and design. We’re living in a time when all these creative fields are rediscovering technology on a massive scale. It has been building since the 1960s, and it’s at a major inflection point today. Many tech companies are learning they’ve gone as far as they can without design skills. They are starting to hire creative minds and make engineering more design-focused in order to keep up with other cities. Within the artistic community, they’re looking to hire creative minds with technical skills. We can do this better than other cities. All the ingredients are right here.
What do you envision as the future of tech in New York City?
I like to think of NYC as having the kind of creative technology workforce that companies cannot outsource, because this kind of talent is exclusive to cities that embrace the arts and technology in combination. Technology in a bubble lacks character and can be replicated anywhere. Artists are unique, so bringing their unique perspectives to a tech workforce is a winning combination for companies and employees, and for the city, as well.
Follow Creative Tech Week on Twitter: @creativetechwk