Hello Tomorrow: Digital Suzhou
Andy gave a keynote lecture at the Digital Suzhou event in Suzhou (a city about the size of London, about 70 miles west of Shanghai). Suzhou is a mix of the old and the new. Effectively a new city has been built next to the old one and linked by bullet train (20 minutes) to Shanghai. The old city is a UNESCO world heritage site, the magnificent ‘gardens the humble administrator’ are stunning. Andy took part with a group of academics from Winchester School of Art (Southampton University) who have a joint programme and are advising the city on the digital arts. The first part of the event was a major conference in a hall of 500 capacity (see picture). It was quite a media spectacle. In addition to colleagues from Winchester, we had a contribution from Google’s head of urban and regional regeneration in Europe. Of course, there were significant contributions from local experts as well, both in urban planning, and digital skills.
They had a particularly interesting afternoon briefing the Chief of Cultural Policy on urban cultural and creative policies. The location of the meeting was the ‘Golden Brick works’: the only kilns able to make the ‘slabs’ for the Chinese Palaces. These slabs/bricks were more than worth their weight in gold, hence the name; each one is individually signed by its maker. The brick works have been converted into a wonderful museum, but the works keep one kiln active to make replacements should they be necessary.