SVP Deaf Centre Newcastle hosted its first Fringe TechNExt Festival 2024.

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On Thursday the 20th June, SVP Deaf Centre Newcastle hosted its first Fringe TechNExt Festival 2024.

The event was held in a relaxed atmosphere in a style of an informal round table discussion. We welcomed 25 guests who visited the centre over the course of the day, and shared a lovely lunch and refreshments with everyone.

Following our collaboration with the innovative tech companies and our working with the academic research, the aim for taking part in the event was to share the third sector’s best practice of bridging the gap between technology, accessibility, and communication. The event was an opportunity to share with the wider community our focus on the latest innovations and advancements in tech, its importance in today’s world, and its benefits for the Deaf and hearing clients.

After a brief introduction by the Centre Manager, Dr, Megan Nottingham explained how the centre integrates tech into its activities, for example the deaf community’s participation in research and their taking part in AI pilot studies and innovative technologies’ trials, working with digital technologies with our young members, and supporting young parents with Tech for Health.

The event featured the work of the DC Youth Group members who gained digital skills, recording an educational awareness video about the scamming techniques for the use of the elderly. 

The video sparked a lively discussion and helped with brainstorming about future youth projects. We shared the video with the Bensham Grove Community centre whose eldery members are very anxious about AI and using new technology. To our delight, we learned that our short film was screened at other Fringe TechNExt, catalysing meaningful conversations.

A short movie on the adverse effects of AI, was both insightful and engaging. We also shared the experience the children had when they visited the Science Museum and learned about use of tech in science and education. 

The fringe event was quite interactive, with participants sharing their own experiences with tech and mind mapping.

A couple of our guests and tech enthusiasts from the University of Liverpool talked about the benefits of data collection using technology and how it has improved our daily lives. They highlighted the risks, such as data leakage and job losses, and emphasized the need for a balanced perspective on development. The discussions raised an important question about AI data privacy: who owns the rights to the data?

We also watched a video showcasing 2-23/2024 activities at the Deaf Centre, featuring also NHS health awareness video. The key point was also the use of app that enables the parents to spot the symptoms of illness in children. Our parents concluded that being on hands with tech makes them feel more confident in speaking about the health problems. 

Our first Fring TechNext was relatively well attended with a great spectrum of demographics visiting us on the day!

Overall, the roundtable discussion was a huge success, with participants discussing the rapid pace of technological advancement. Still, most visitors concluded that despite the importance of technology, face-to-face interactions remain essential. 

Everyone agreed that being aware about the rapid pace of technological advancements is a key and we all look forward to taking part in TechNEext 2025 !