At Manchester Digital we like to interview our members to find out a bit more about what they do and their work in the Greater Manchester digital and technology sphere. This week we're speaking with Dr Jessica Symons, Director at Visioning Lab, a South Manchester based creative digital studio and consultancy.
What does your organisation do?
Visioning Lab is a creative digital studio based in South Manchester. We produce digital experiences in the North West, with a focus on public engagement, sustainability, creativity, and emerging technologies. These include AR campaigns, heritage trails and 3D environments.
What do you think is currently the biggest issue facing the digital and tech industry?
The digital and technology industry is currently at a critical crossroad where we have a generation coming through who know the sector inside out and older generations in charge of teams and businesses who just do not have the technical knowhow and are not inclined to learn. Most boys in particular develop their 10,000 hours of expertise in 3D environments through gaming activity and all young people are highly proficient not just in using social media but its etiquette. It takes a strong constitution for senior management to step back and let the young take charge, but that’s what needs to happen to engage in the highly digital realm we live in these days.
What is your organisation’s biggest achievement?
We are proud to have supported a number of initiatives throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, vital for the creative industries who otherwise could not exhibit work. For example, Visioning Lab made the Chorlton Arts Festival 2020 possible by curating a digital arts programme hosted in Mozilla Hubs. We supported both artists and residents to develop their own online art spaces using free online tools. Also, during partial lockdown we worked with University of Salford and Loaves and Fishes, a local community organisation, to make a film with local residents about Peel Park. For some, these activities were the only social interactions they had during that difficult time.
What would you consider to be your organisation’s biggest challenge?
Securing funding in the current digital creative landscape can be a real issue, particularly for a smaller business like Visioning Lab. Also, educating potential users on emerging technologies, e.g navigating spatially, but this is gradually changing in line with the rise of QR code usage.
What do you think the future looks like for Manchester’s digital and tech sector?
Manchester is lucky enough to have a thriving digital and technology sector, with a variety of forward-thinking and innovative organisations. It also has a committed local government keen to support the creative industries. We’d like to see more collaboration between organisations. It’s through co-production that we will become really strong.
Tell us something we might not know about your company?
Visioning Lab is a female-led business that believes in championing diversity and equality at all levels, particularly within the digital and tech space. There needs to be a cultural shift in order to cultivate a practical future for women in IT and Visioning Lab aims to facilitate that through the empowerment of its diverse team and collaborators.
Thank you Jessica!
To find out more about Visioning Lab, click here.
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