I’ve been meaning to get down to Refresh Teesside for a while, partly because it’s always sounded interesting, and partly as an excuse to actually see Middlesbrough. Last Thursday I finally made it.

Middlesbrough

My query about what was worth seeing in Middlebrough got some, er, interesting responses (one included “nothing”). However, I did get pointed towards the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum, which I got to via a rickety train ride. Brits may not realise that Cook is an important name in the Pacific. He was the first person to chart New Zealand (which aside from a few mistakes such as thinking Banks Peninsula was an island is incredibly accurate) and his ship Endeavour is on the New Zealand 50 cent coin. And my father is a Cook Islander, named after … well, you can guess. I hadn’t been aware that he was from Middlebrough.

Old New Zealand 50 cent coins featuring the Endeavour

Old New Zealand 50 cent coins featuring the Endeavour. The newer smaller version does too.

The museum has been recently upgraded with lots of new exhibits. While as a designer there are some bits I’m not entirely sure about, I was intrigued by the Middlesbrough haka, and impressed with their video of differing opinions of Cook across the Pacific (which are usually: impressed by him; hate the diseases he bought; or that someone was going to invade us, better it was the English rather than the French or Spanish).

Refresh Teeside

There was a buzzing atmopshere at Sassari. The free first drink didn’t hurt, of course.

Refresh Teesside April 2013

I got snapped juggling devices.

Vicky Teinaki at Refresh Teesside April 2013

The night was made up of flash talks, with speakers kept to their 5 minutes via dramatic alarms.

  • Adam Parkin debuted as a public speaker with a discussion of his photography practice, and his upcoming photography exhibition for charity.
  • Matt Kirwan discussed the good, bad and ugly of working at home as a developer. It can be a huge timesaver and the lure of flexible work can be motivating, but it can get lonely. More dangerously, you can risk burnout from working too much.
  • Bobby Robertson spoke about the startup inclubator Searchcamp that it about to open in Teessdie.
  • Jay Moussa reflected on her work as a filmmaker: is a music video she was paid to do, doesn’t like but got some traction in the media classify as being more successful than one she didn’t get paid for but had complete creative control?
  • Finally Paul Smith shared how his startup Appysnap started, failed, and is now rising from the ashes based on what his team learned. He stressed that press is a bad thing when you have a minimum viable product, to test and release, and to above all GIFRO:

For more on the talks, check out the storify of the night.

 

 

Vicky Teinaki is a user experience designer at Newcastle upon Tyne agency Orange Bus. She is also working on a PhD at Northumbria University about better ways of communicating design methods within the design industry.