Digital Dundee

The digital industry descends on the UK`s media powerhouse

Article by Alex Cole | 28 Oct 2009
  • NeoN

Dundee may get its fame from jam, jute and journalism (and being the butt of Frankie Boyle’s jokes), but this month the city’s worst-kept secret hits the international stage. The first-ever Northeast of North (NEoN) Digital Arts Festival, running from the 13th through the 15th, will play host to big shots from all over the digital world, including luminaries from Pixar, Adobe, BBC, Microsoft, Channel 4 and HP, along with academics from digital programmes at the local universities.

Most famous for birthing Rockstar North and the Grand Theft Auto series, Dundee is home to over 10% of the UK digital industry, and its universities are well-known as the crucible of video games, designers, developers, and anything made or experienced on a computer. Now, the NEoN festival hopes to make the fourth-largest city in Scotland the centre of the digital universe.

Among the more prominent guests is Bud Luckey, one of the principal character creators from Pixar, as well as Graham Linehan of The I.T. Crowd fame. The weekend’s programme will include lectures, video game exhibitions, films screenings, master classes and rounds off with the Scottish premiere of Videogames Live, the orchestral performance of the subversive theme songs from classic video games (sadly, not in 8-bit sound).

“NEoN is a unique event for the UK and this will be the first time so many recognised and respected players active in the digital arts will be together in one place," says Donna Fordyce, project manager for Tayside Interactive. "This will be a unique opportunity for those working within the digital arts to rub shoulders with these highly influential individuals.”

Distinct from trade show pissing contests like E3 and CES, NEoN hopes to offer the community a forum for individuals to network with industry pros and entrepreneurs, as well as learn from the designers, coders, gamers, content creators and animators sitting next to them. Expect URLs and Flash animation tips to be traded more than business cards.

Even if you can’t make it to the festival, anyone can follow the events at @weareneon (what, you didn’t think they’d have a Twitter account?). Tickets start at £60 for at one-day student pass. News and updates can be found at