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Creative Tech Festival


10 Feb / 10am-3pm / Towngate Theatre


What does creative tech mean for young people in Basildon?

  • How can existing interests link to career options?
  • Can everyday creativity and tech skills become jobs?
  • What digital skills power the 21st century workplace?
  • What local opportunities are there to develop these skills?


_LAB provides a chance for young people (primarily aged 14-16) and their parents/carers to play with some cutting edge technology, explore how everyday tech skills could lead to interesting careers and talk to professionals working in creative tech.

At this drop-in event, people are encouraged to find their own path through the event, create their own technology, win prizes and have plenty of fun.

  • 'Behind the Scenes' exhibits and talks from inspirational creative tech professionals + Q&A session
  • Exhibition space with short interactive taster sessions to explore
  • Workshops to delve a little deeper into a topic and gain some hands-on experience


Saturday 10th February

  • 10am - 12pm  or 1pm - 3pm



Towngate Theatre
SS14 1DL


*** places full, waiting list only ***


Interactive talks lifting the lid on how businesses and organisations apply creative technologies.
Sian Fan

Sian Fan

Sian Fan is an interdisciplinary artist working between Essex and London where she is artist in residence at Somerset House Studios. Her work combines movement, the female body and technology to explore embodiment, spirituality and human experience in the digital age.

She has exhibited internationally with institutions including Tate Modern, FACT, and the V&A, as well as producing work with Channel 4, the BBC and Facebook/Meta.

Topics covered in the talk:

  • Tech tools Sian uses and how
  • Thinking about technology in a creative way
  • Being inspired by or working in responses to technology
  • Working in an interdisciplinary way by combining different materials
  • Sian's career path from school to being a working artist
  • Unpacking her 'business model' as an artist

Sian will also be exhibiting a work called Gilded Bodies.

dlala studios logo

Aj Grand-Scrutton - Dlala Studios

Dlala is an award-winning independent game studio located in Essex.

In 2012 Basildon-born Aj, along with partner-in-crime Craig Thomas, left their roles at Bossa Studios to start their own independent venture from their parents’ garages – and Dlala Studios was born. Since then, Dlala have partnered with some of the biggest companies in the world, including the likes of Disney, Xbox Game Studios and Rare. Whilst Dlala initially focused on the creation of their own IP they are now known for the rebooting, and revitalising, of some of the most well-loved IP in the world.
Aj is a programmer, who morphed into a designer, who ended up a Writer, Director and CEO. All of Aj’s career changes took place while learning how to create and nurture a business from the ground up. With the help of his team, he continues to see it flourish and there is no end in sight!

Topics covered:

  • Aj will step through the different stages of a game development cycle showing how a game, like the award-winning Disney Illusion Island, goes from an initial concept to release and beyond


Shape the Music: behind the scenes

Anglia Ruskin University academics Dr Sven-Amin Lembke and Dr Lee Cheng will give us a talk about Shape the Music: a virtual-reality (VR) video game for intuitive music creation informed by research on perception and technology at Anglia Ruskin University.

The game allows users to create and shape a musical scene without the need to play a musical instrument.

ARU logo


These workshops of varying lengths will allow attendees to get some hands-on experience and a more in-depth focus one one aspect of creative tech.

Astro Pi Mission_Zero
Virtus Asset_22x_Black_2
Steam Powered Education-logo
Aaron Shrimpton image on shoot

Astro Pi Mission Zero offers young people the chance to have their code run in space!

In this workshop, you will write a program to display a personalised image on an Astro Pi computer on board the International Space Station to remind the astronauts of home.

A show and tell workshop on the games industry, providing a breakdown of the different areas you can get involved in. Virtus Studios will show you how to get started with games engines and talk about the exciting projects they've worked on, before letting you get to grips with the creative tech available at the Screen South exhibition stand.

Make your own small wind turbine and use it to power lights in a dollhouse!

STEAM Powered Education supports children to learn practical 21st century skills in robotics, coding, problem solving and creativity to help develop a sustainable future. 

Try out some different roles in film-making to bring a script to life.

Aaron Shrimpton is a filmmaker and director of New Waverley Studios which was formed in 2017 by bafta winning 1st class hons graduates.

Interactive exhibits

A range of short interactive taster activities to explore at your own pace. Exhibits will demonstrate a range of sectors that use creative tech skills. Activities can be done individually or in small groups.

Raspberry pi Foundation
the drone rules-DOUBLE-LOGO

Disney Illusion Island is the smash hit game for Nintendo, developed by Dlala Studios.

As you explore the beautiful hand-drawn world of Monoth, you'll meet a colourful cast of new characters, and acquire a host of fun abilities to help you on your journey to save the island, and be a hero.

Raspberry Pi Foundation's mission is to enable young people to realise their full potential through the power of computing and digital technologies.

Coolest Projects is a celebration  of young digital creators and the amazing things they make with technology.

Experiment with Microbit computers and discover the world of 'physical computing'. Use simple coding to program LEDs, control motors and build your own robot!

Signals is a multi award-winning centre for creative digital learning, that provides courses, workshops and projects across Essex.

The Drone Rules provides a platform for the education of individuals, institutions and companies on Remotely Piloted Aircrafts (drones). 

The Drone Rules will be demonstrating the real-world application of drone technology.


leonardo logo
ARU logo

Screen South is a cultural development organisation with digital creativity at its heart.

Screen South will be introducing us to sessions and showcases in Unreal Engine, 360 filmmaking and painting in VR.

The Unseen World with Leonardo.

Leonardo's thermal imaging tech has been used in filming for Planet Earth 2, One Planet, Dynasties and Autumn Watch, to capture previously unseen footage of animals in the wild.

Come and experience a thermal imaging camera, and see if you can solve Leonardo's challenge!

Don a VR headset and Shape the Music!

Create and shape a musical scene without the need to play a musical instrument.

Shape the Music is a virtual reality video game for intuitive music creation, brought to you by Anglia Ruskin University.

Get Shot Studios will be answering questions about photography and setting participants a professional brief to take an action shot of people engaged in creative tech activities.

The best shot for each session will win a brand new tablet!

About the organiser

always possible logo

always possible is an energetic social impact consultancy who use facilitation, design, curation, events, problem-solving, story-telling and research to help ambitious organisations shape the future. They help to join up the spaces between business innovation, skills, culture and place - and help organisations to define, measure and communicate their positive impact in the world.

About the sponsor

towngate theatre

Towngate Theatre is the hub for the arts at the heart of Basildon. A home for an exciting programme of drama, musicals, comedy, gigs and children’s theatre that builds to fever pitch for panto season at Christmas time.

The Towngate foyer is an open showcase for community arts and exhibitions, with the Towngate Café Bar a perfect central venue to meet and make new friends. Our Participation Workshops and family friendly productions offer a fun, affordable, interactive way for your kids to actively experience the wonder of theatre. Our annual award-winning pantomimes feature talented local youngsters in our Young Ensemble, giving them a priceless opportunity to experience professional training in performance art and stage craft.