When: Thursday 30th August
Where: Ballyhoo, New Oxford
Organised by: Ubelly

Skimming through the latest edition of The Fetch London, an event called Ignite Underbelly caught my attention. Not sure why as it isn’t immediately clear what type of event it is.

But I’m really pleased that I took the time to check it out.

Ignite is a unique presenting style that gives each presenter the chance to speak about something they are passionate about for 5 minutes. However they must do so with the aid of exactly twenty slides and spend only 15 seconds speaking about each slide.

The event was run by the team at Ubelly, the unofficial official Microsoft blog (as they describe it) for web developers. As you might expect, the presentations were mostly tech-related but covered an eclectic range of topics

A brief overview of each presentation follows. However I couldn’t possibly do the presenters justice in the space of a couple of lines so I’ve included links to clips of each presentation (click on the title).

1) Listening to Data

Peter Gregson spoke about The Listening Machine, a project that he worked on for the BBC that turns live data sets into music. Peter’s aim was to compose the first piece of music created purely from online data.

2) Code Club

Adam Onishi told us about Code Club, a voluntary initiative that is introducing coding to the school curriculum. They have already set up 196 clubs in the UK but are aiming for 500 (and need your help).

3) Crochet Stitches and Pixel Density

Ruth John explored the parallels between two of her passions, crochet and design and how these parallels can be used to enhance the use of pixels in the design process, such as testing how images appear on a range of different devices.

4) What happens when people share

Peter Sigrist questioned if social media really matters and whether we are taking advantage of it. He discussed the impact that Facebook, Twitter et al have made when it comes to sharing information such as during the Arab Spring.

5) Antifragile web systems

Andy Bell explored the concept of antifragility and how it can be applied to the web. He used examples such as Youtube and Twitter and discusses how they have been adapted from their original purpose.

6) Picture writing

Peter Gasston spoke about comics as a medium and the flexibility that they offer, focusing especially on the use of speech bubbles and the grid system employed by artists to structure the story.

7) Inspiration

Kat Thompson quite simply took us through what inspires her. Starting off with her parents’ positive influence, Kat goes on to discuss how inspiration is subjective and how it has impacted her career as a designer.

8) Two Laws, One Thermometer

Matt Ballantine bemoaned the fact that the corporate practice of classification by ‘traffic lights’ has seeped into our everyday lives. He argued that the real world is more complicated than this and it requires more fluidity.

There were no winners this time but all the presenters deserve a lot of credit for taking part. It’s hard enough to present to a room full of strangers but having to stick to Ignite’s strict guidelines would be enough to make the bravest of us break out into a cold sweat.

So, summing up, what did you miss? A really original event that gave us an insight into some very interesting people and the things that they are passionate about.

For information about Ubelly’s upcoming events, follow them @ubelly.

About our Ambassador: Keith McGuinness runs digital agency 1Four Media. Connect with him on Twitter @1FourMedia.