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More than 1,000 young people from youth clubs, schools and gaelscoileanna across Ireland will come together, virtually, on Wednesday, October 28th for ESB Creative Tech Fest. In partnership with Camara Ireland, the annual bilingual event will celebrate the innovation and creativity of young people who participate in TechSpace programmes across STEAM, digital creativity and computer science projects.
The live event will be broadcast from Carlow Arts Centre directly into the homes of young TechSpacers across the country. As well as announcing over 20 award winners on the day, there will also be performances and inspiring tech talks from Daithí Ó Sé, Chris is Ainm Dom and Cairde.
This year’s ESB Creative Tech Fest event was launched today by Shaun Samra, an 11-year-old TechSpacer from Finglas, Co Dublin who, along with his friends from Finglas Youth Resource Centre afterschool group, won the ESB TechSpacer of the Month award in June for his creative rap “Anxiety” – written by Shaun about how anxiety has impacted him and his family.
Shaun is also the voice behind #FlipTheScript, a rap animation which aims to show how TechSpace empowers young people to unlock their passions and potential through the creative use of technology. The creative animation visualises how perceived negatives in teenage behaviours can, with the right tools and support, become positives for young people on their journey in creating their own brighter future.
Camara Ireland had to very quickly #FlipTheScript when Covid-19 impacted all of society in March, adapting its TechSpace programme to meet the changing needs of youth workers and educators, and to provide the tools they needed to stay connected to the young people they continue to support.
On the launch of this year’s ESB Creative Tech Fest, Marianne Checkley, CEO of Camara Ireland said: “We are very excited to showcase the inspiring work that has emerged from challenging circumstances this year though a virtual reality exhibition and live broadcast event. We are also delighted to celebrate the innovative solutions that young people have created, which have had a real impact through our special Community Responder award this year. We will miss the energy and atmosphere that the young people create at our annual celebrations, however, a virtual ESB Creative TechFest allows us to be even more accessible to young people in every community across Ireland.”
Pat O’Doherty, Chief Executive at ESB, outlined his admiration for the young people who take part in the TechSpace programme: “It is impressive and inspirational to see how young people are combining their innate energy and creativity with the skills they have learned through the TechSpace programme to address real world problems and lead change in their communities.”
The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin T.D. also expressed her support for the programme: “TechSpace is such an inspirational development programme which enables young people to be inventive and imaginative. ESB Creative Tech Fest gives them the opportunity to showcase their creative work. I am delighted that Clár TechSpace is part of this event and that my Department has the resources to support such a wonderful programme. These events can be a life changing experience for some, and I applaud Camara Education Ireland for their great efforts this year to turn a live show into a virtual reality exhibition for our young people.”
The Government Chief Whip and the Minister of State for the Gaeltacht and Sport, Jack Chambers T.D, said: “The work of the Clár Techspace programme can be transformative for many young people as they get to experience the Irish language in a fun, modern environment working on the very latest technologies. The ESB Creative Tech Fest is a great opportunity for them to demonstrate what they have learned and to show off their skills and creativity. I am delighted that ESB Creative Tech Fest is able to proceed online this year and I wish all the participants the very best of luck.”