Inspiring Story: Digifest

DigiFest in Southend, part of Essex 2020

What is Digifest?

Digifest is a month long celebration of digital arts, featuring workshops, talks and screenings, to enable creative ways of using technology. It is organised by Focal Point Gallery in Southend. Led entirely by artists, the programme looks to promote developing skills used in creative industry practices such as film making, digital photography, animation and games development through artistic engagement.

Following two previous week long festivals, in 2020 Digifest will be an expanded programme, with greater focus on cross generational activities. Family groups can create collaborative artworks and people of all ages can have fun developing their digital knowledge, confidence and life skills together. Digifest will conclude with a public showing of the digital artworks produced on Big Screen Southend, adjacent to Focal Point Gallery, and a celebration day at Twenty One on Southend seafront, supported by Digifest’s main sponsor, CityFibre, to highlight the achievements of all participants.


DigiFest - a month of workshops on the digital arts in Southend

Is there an inspiration for Digifest, around the Essex 2020 theme of science + creativity?

This year, Digifest is inspired by Focal Point Gallery’s current exhibition ‘The World After’ by David Blandy, who uses film making, animation, gaming mechanics and computer music in his artwork. The series of workshops will give participants the opportunity to discuss and incorporate some of these tools, as well as providing access points for their personal pathways.

Comprised of a film, installation and game, ‘The World After’ is a fictional tale which re-imagines Canvey Island, at a time in which Humanity’s activities had a detrimental effect on earth’s climate and environment. In this future world, human influence on the planet has faded following a catastrophic man-made ecological crisis, with those who remain having to find new ways to survive and form kin.

Digifest is one of the first events of Essex 2020, a yearlong celebration of science and creativity across the county.


Digifest is funded by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, with support from Arts Council England. Focal Point Gallery is also grateful to CityFibre for their sponsorship of the event.

What’s on?

The full events programme is as follows, all events booked at www.fpg.org.uk

Home Education Sessions

A regular class at Focal Point Gallery, in this period activity will focus on digital photography.

Bronze Arts Award

Bronze Arts Award sessions are only open to current Arts Award participants.

Digital Photography Workshops

Digital photography workshops led by local artist Laurence Harding, exploring macro photography and the creation of cyanotypes using indoor UV lamps. We have a number of DSLR cameras available to use in pairs or you can bring your own. Open to participants of all ages and abilities. We particularly welcome those with caring responsibilities (concessions available).

Digital Workshop with David Blandy

Join David Blandy for digital photography and Photoshop activities using gaming characters from ‘The World After’. This activity is for participants of all abilities over the age of 11.

Children learning film-making at DigiFest

Digital Film Making Workshops

A three part series of film-making workshops. These workshops will focus on video capture and editing using Adobe Premier software. DSLR cameras and laptops with editing software are available to use in small groups, or you can bring your own. We welcome people of all abilities over the age of 13. This course can be booked for a single session, but is designed to run over three sessions, so we recommend you book all three dates.

Digital Illustration with Cat Rogers

An early evening digital illustration workshop open to participants of all ages and abilities. This workshop will be led by Cat Rogers, illustrator of ‘The World After’ game and publication. We particularly welcome those with caring responsibilities (concessions available).

Children’s Art Club

As part of Focal Point Gallery’s Digifest programme, Children’s Art Club sessions will have a digital focus in the month of January. Taylor Jack Smith will be leading workshops creating characters and learning key digital photography skills. This workshop is for children aged between 7 and 11 years.


Booking online is advisable, but feel free to email focalpointgallery@southend. gov.uk to reserve a place and pay with cash on the day.

Children learning animation at DigiFest

Family Animation

An afternoon of collaborative family artworks using digital animation techniques, led by Taylor Jack Smith. This event is open to all ages, and participants are encouraged to attend in family groups. Children must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Free to attend, but £5 donations either online or on the day are welcome.

Twenty One - artspace and gallery in Southend

Digifest Celebration Day

An afternoon event celebrating the achievements of those participting in Digifest. The day will include artist workshops, a film screening of all work created throughout the festival and refreshments provided by our main sponsor CityFibre.

For more information, please contact Sharon Byrne, Learning and Engagement Curator on sharonbyrne@southend.gov.uk, or 01702 534148