Another Monday heralds another week. But it’s not just another week. It’s Internet Week Europe and another chance to immerse yourself in creativity-related activities or to feel inadequate that the day job prevented you from taking part.
Like other ‘weeks’ before it, IWE is building on existing London fixtures such as Onedotzero’s Adventures in Motion festival on Wednesday and the annual Click fest of digital creativity, organised by Design Week’s sister title Creative Review, on Thursday. But, however good the content, you have to question the efficacy of creating a bottle-neck of events at best tantalising in their scope – or, at worst, overlapping – when a push for activities over a wider period might work better all round.
The broader-based London Design Festival and London Festival of Architecture have addressed this issue to an extent, acknowledging that it’s hard to get round everything.The LFA ran for a month this summer and, like the nine-day LDA, focused on a series of ‘districts’ around the capital. The LDA’s identification of hubs like the Brompton Quarter and Clerkenwell are intended help visitors to make the best of the activities and focus their energies.
Interestingly, the LDF, which touched more corners of design this year through the inclusion of Neville Brody’s hugely successful Shoreditch-based Anti Design Festival, lacked a strong presence for digital design. The decision by Malcolm Garrett and his cohorts to move the i-Design conference out of the festival took that element out for a year at least, while Jimmy MacDonald’s London Digital Week fell far short of early promise as part of the Tent London feature of the LDF.
Enter IWE, imported by Mother-related digital agency Poke from the US. Could this plug the hole? On the face of it, it could, with the likes of Google, the BBC, Channel 4 and Lonely Planet billed as hosts making it serious industry stuff with topics like social media and other digital marketing platforms high on the agenda.
But is it about design? You could say digital design is a step too far removed from, say, furniture and architecture to gain much traction with visitors to the LDF or LFA, but it isn’t purely about marketing either, which appears to be at the heart of the IWE.
The other problem for creatives might be in the name. Isn’t ‘Internet’ a bit limited, with some of the best work being created now for installations in public spaces, be they are or information-based? How do the kind of projects that made the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Decode: Digital Design Sensations show so popular this spring fit in?
So while we wish the IWE organisers well with their first effort, we look forward to seeing a stronger focus on digital design in future. The opportunity is there, so why not take it?
Internet Week Europe runs across London from today until 12 November. Check out www.internetweekeurope.com