Inspirefest: a sci-tech event with a rocking free summer festival

28 May 201537 Shares

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Loah performing at Electric Picnic. Photo by Tara Thomas Photography

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The best networking at tech conferences happens in relaxed, social settings – but that shouldn’t confine delegates to pubs and bars. Inspirefest unlocks Dublin’s potential with an outdoor Fringe festival to entertain and connect its visitors through a variety of events and performances.

Inspirefest visitors will enjoy a jam-packed day of keynotes and panel discussions from international leaders such as Cindy Gallop, Kimberly Bryant, Dr Sue Black and Dr Nina Ansary, as well as homegrown heroes Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Prof Susan McKenna-Lawlor, Margaret Burgraff and Lauren Boyle.

After all that mental stimulation, attendees will take a short stroll from Bord Gáis Energy Theatre by Dublin’s Grand Canal Dock to decompress and enjoy an evening’s entertainment and spoken word in the leafy surrounds of Merrion Square.

Inspirefest Fringe performers Little Green Cars

Inspirefest Fringe performers Little Green Cars

Inspirefest Fringe music

The Merrion Square Fringe performances will include live music from Little Green Cars, Wyvern Lingo, Katie Kim, Loah, Inni-K and Little Xs for Eyes.

One of Ireland’s true breakout bands of the past few years, Dublin five-piece Little Green Cars has received international attention for its sweeping guitars, pretty harmonies and chant-able choruses, while the spirit of Irish trad is alive and well in the music of Bray-based trio Wyvern Lingo, while classically-trained musician Loah channels indie pop, merging a wall of strings with her operatic voice.

Katie Kim can been described as Ireland’s answer to Joanna Newsom, but with an extra layer of grit; Kildare artist Inni-K is a true original with an extraordinarily quirky indie pop style, and Little Xs for Eyes’ catchy pop hooks stacked upon catchy pop hooks deliver tight, slickly-produced songs on jangly guitars and light synths.

Inspirefest Fringe performers Little Xs for Eyes

Inspirefest Fringe performers Little Xs for Eyes

Inspirefest Fringe films

For film buffs, the Inspirefest Fringe festival has a string of Irish premieres on offer, including two looking at the World War II battles fought using computers.

Documentary short The Computers tells the largely untold story of six women who programmed ENIAC, the world’s very first all-electronic, programmable computer as part of a secret World War II military project in Philadelphia, while Codebreaker tells the heartbreaking story of Alan Turing, a British officer whose codebreaking genius helped the Allies immensely.

Coding pioneer Grace Hopper in a still from Code: Debugging the Gender Gap, which will see its Irish premiere at Inspirefest Fringe

Coding pioneer Grace Hopper in a still from Code: Debugging the Gender Gap, which will see its Irish premiere at Inspirefest Fringe

The other documentaries screening in Merrion Square delve deep into damaging standards and stereotypes.

Robin Hauser ReynoldsCode: Debugging the Gender Gap examines how antiquated cultural attitudes, damaging stereotypes, educational obstacles and sexism are all reasons why girls and people of colour are less likely to seek careers in computer science than their white, male counterparts; and Elena Rossini’s The Illusionists explores the multi-billion-dollar industries built on advertising that push images of unattainable beauty.

Inspirefest Family Fringe

In the spirit of inclusivity, the Inspirefest Fringe will close this international sci-tech event on Saturday 20 June with a day of free workshops in Merrion Square, open to all. However, you have to register to take part in all this day of family-friendly fun has to offer.

Participants at the inaugural Girls Hack Ireland event in Dublin City University (DCU)

Participants at the inaugural Girls Hack Ireland event in Dublin City University (DCU)

Inspirefest Family Fringe brings together the leading Irish STEM community groups: CoderDojo, DCU Girls Hack Ireland, TOG, Hardie Kids, Coding Grace, TCD Walton Club and Dublin Maker, along with Intel and Year of Light, who will be hosting a whole range of activities.

From coding to hardware hacking, there will be workshops for small kids (ages seven and up) and big kids, so that adults can learn some basic coding too!

Inspirefest 2015 is Silicon Republic’s international event running 18-20 June in Dublin that connects sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM with fresh perspectives on leadership, innovation and diversity. Hurry – our limited offer of 2-for-1 tickets ends Monday, 1 June!

Elaine Burke is managing editor of Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com