Leeds Digital Festival 2011: Celebration of digital scene ends on a high

WINNNERS: Simple Usability, who won the innovation award. PIC: Steven Lilley

WINNNERS: Simple Usability, who won the innovation award. PIC: Steven Lilley

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It was a month-long celebration of all things digital and aimed to boost the profile of the industry and its impact on the city of Leeds.

But the Leeds Digital Festival came to an end this week with the first-ever Digitally Leeds awards, which celebrated the great and the good of the city’s digital sector.

During the past month, the YEP-backed festival has brought Loaded founder James Brown and technology journalist Ben Hammersley to Leeds, with hundreds of people attending more than 50 events.

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And organiser Leanne Buchan said the festival, held throughout November, had been a success for the city’s digital scene.

She said: “Several events were really popular and we received good feedback, which is great because a lot of people worked hard to make the festival a success.

“Our aim was to broaden the appeal of this year’s festival and provide an opportunity for anyone interested in anything digital, not just workers from the industry, to come along and find out more about it.

“I think we’ve definitely achieved that and we’re really pleased with the reaction and response we’ve had from people.”

And Leanne has another reason to celebrate – she was one of several individuals honoured at the Digitally Leeds awards, held at Alea Casino on Wednesday.

Leanne, 29, won the ‘Leeds Star’ award, which recognised an individual who had made an impact on the city’s digital scene.

Other winners on the night included Hebe Media, which scooped the small team award; MadeByPi, which won the large team award and the design award; Richard England, who won freelancer of the year; and Culture Vulture, which picked up Blog of the Year and Leeds Tweeter.

Highlights of the Leeds Digital Festival included James Brown paying tribute to the region’s bloggers and Get into Gaming, which brought together fans and developers from the region’s games sector.

There was also Check In Check Off, a variation of a treasure hunt using smartphones and QR codes; a photography exhibition at the Corn Exchange called SnapShot Leeds – and even a special festival beer created by Leeds Brewery, the Leeds Digitale.

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