• Applicant: Lucy Knight
  • Funding agree: £500

Content below provided by Lucy, with minor edits by James Arthur Cattell.


Beyond comprises three events with the single aim of moving on from smart cities, or even smart rural, to a more sustainable, productive, practical conversation around people, place and technology.

We ran our first conference in 2015 at the Met Office, spending 3 days exploring a more connected, sustainable, human vision for Smart Cities and beyond; 1 that recognised the relationship between urban and rural areas but, more importantly, put people and the environment first. Earlier this year we also ran our first family event, bringing 200 people together to play Minecraft in a virtual Devon, generated from LiDAR data.

Developments in technology have the potential to positively transform our lives, but they also risk eroding our humanity. We need to find our own voices, and a sense of our own agency in the connected world to stake a claim for the technology to work for us and the environment, not just for its own sake.

Events Beyond – 30 June 2016

Our next conference, Beyond 16 , will build on last year’s Beyond the Smart City with 3 days of talks, discussion and hands-on activities at The University of Exeter. The speaker line-up for this year’s conference already includes John Thackara, Sharon Richardson and Charlie Ewen; between them they bring together incisive views on how design, technology and data are already transforming where we live, and what this means for the future.

As with last year we’ll be hosting a social evening on the day before the main conference, and an activity day afterwards. We’re keen to build upon the combination of insights, discussion and doing that made last year’s conference so successful.

ThingsCamp – 28 May 2016

Just over a month before Beyond 16 we’re presenting a 1 day camp style event around hardware for connected places. This part hack, part design jam event will bring people together in Plymouth to explore our technology mediated relationship with where and how we live.

We’ll be looking to help start new projects and collaborations around hardware ranging from sensor kits to satellites, and provide new insights to feed into our main conference. We’re lucky enough to have already secured seed funding from UKGovCamp and we’re talking to other partners who can offer the resources we need.

Time to Play – 12 March 2016

Beyond is about much more than technologists, businesses, policy makers and academics. The themes we care about affect everyone’s lives and we’re keen to find new ways of opening up the conversation.

Our first family event, the Minecraft discovery day at Exeter library, brought together over 200 people to play Minecraft in a virtual representation of Devon, generated from LiDAR data. Over the next few months we’ll be building this Minecraft world and using it to explore people’s relationships with where they live.

We have a lot more planned for this element of Beyond. Using everything from citizen science to kids’ hacks we want to offer a diverse range of activities that reconnect people of all ages with their environment.

Why Devon?

We are starting where we are, in Devon, with the intention of making it a centre of innovation in smart technologies that span city and rural applications.

The South West of the United Kingdom as a whole incorporates urban, rural, marine and every other kind of environment, providing the ideal mix for testing out ideas at the cutting edge of sustainability. This kind of work is typified by institutions such as Dartington and Schumacher colleges, the Met Office, the Plymouth Marine Laboratory and Research Institute, and Plymouth and Exeter Universities.

Who We Are

We’re a team of 3 working across data, design and technology:


We’re already working with the Met Office, University of Exeter, UKGovCamp and we’re keen to develop key partnerships around the themes described in this document. Making events like these successful is about more than obtaining financial support; it also means curating the right mix of venue, speakers, attendees, content and infrastructure. Please get in touch with any of us if you have any ideas or resources you can add into the mix!