The Northernlands Data and Start Up Summit - Leeds International Festival

Thursday 2 May
10:00 - 16:00

The Northernlands Data and Start Up Summit

Uniting data & startup experts from the North and the Netherlands.

This one-day summit will bring together the people who are creating the data economy to explore the diversity, untapped value, and potential for innovation.

Artists, activists, organisations, businesses, data scientists, strategists, citizens – we all have something to gain from innovation with data, but we can all do something to contribute as well. The summit will generate conversations and create real actions, for health and wellbeing, value, trust, and the future.

The morning will kick-off with a keynote from Jeni Tennison, CEO of the Open Data Institute, and from our Northernlands artists Akeelah Bertram, Mr Gee and more, followed by a series of talks from some of the most creative and innovative voices in data and startups from the North of England and The Netherlands.

The afternoon will offer the chance to get hands-on with technical demonstrations, and learn from the experts in workshops about data visualisation, ethics, innovation, AI, machine learning and more. Running alongside the talks and workshops throughout the day will be the Startup Cafe, offering a dedicated space for showcasing startup success stories, finding out more about the startup life/culture, asking questions, finding mentors and much more.

Afternoon working sessions:

  • Health & Wellbeing with Open Data Manchester – Leeds Urban Sustainable Development Labs, Superflux & Playful Leeds
  • Data Trusts & Data Mutuals with ODI HQ & Our Data Mutua
Credit: ODI
Event partners


Thursday 2 May 10:00 - 16:00
ODI Leeds

Additional Information:

Age restrictions: Over 14’s


Danielle is a Futures Researcher, Digital Anthropologist & Partnerships Lead at Superflux.

She makes connections across the Studio’s core research areas and builds relationships with our partners and network. Danielle has a BA in Philosophy from the University of Leeds and previously worked at the University of the Arts London running communications, conferences, workshops and exhibitions. In 2017, she completed a two-year research Masters programme in Cognition & Communication at the University of Copenhagen.

Danielle’s main research interest is in the social and cognitive evolution of the concept of homo faber: human beings as makers and users of objects. She is intrigued by the interdependencies between human beings and other species and entities, including how increasingly “intelligent” autonomous systems impact societies and the biosphere. From the perspective of a Digital Anthropologist she is endlessly intrigued by the ways people behave and live; but her background in philosophy means she can’t help but believe we need to imagine alternative ways of living and being.

Sarah leads IPPR North, the leading think-tank for the north of England.  She is an expert in regional and local economic development, place resilience and land use planning.  She has written reports for IPPR North on small and medium sized cities and towns, the Great North Plan, the state of the North’s economy, natural assets and civil society.

Prior to joining IPPR 2016, Sarah worked as a Director of Policy at the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES), based in Manchester, overseeing their work on place resilience, welfare reform and international research on future cities. She has also worked for local government in the North East, delivering economic development and regeneration projects.

Sarah holds a PhD in Urban Studies from the University of Glasgow where she examined the influence of the economic growth imperative on the work of planning authorities in the UK and how it alters attitudes to people and place.

On leaving the management consultancy Experian Marc joined UCL’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis as a senior research fellow. It was there that he made initial contact with Dr Foster, analysing the relationship between geodemography and health outcomes. They were looking at the use of postcode level statistics to standardise hospital mortality rates alongside variables such as age, sex and diagnosis to enable hospitals to be compared with one another.

In 2004 Marc joined Dr Foster as Director of Product Development where he oversaw the company’s development of tools across clinical benchmarking, financial management and health needs mapping. In 2007 Marc was made Honorary Professor at UCL in the field of Geomatic and Civil Engineering. In 2010 he joined East Kent University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust where he is Director of Information responsible for informatics, coding and clinical systems. Marc is a graduate of the King’s Fund future leaders course and was named in the HSJ Top 50 Innovators in Health 2013.

Tom has a PhD in computational biology and now runs software and data consultancy imactivate. He is Head of Data at ODI Leeds, where he’ll be happy to help you solve problems you have using data. He’s particularly interested in data on housing, transport, and income inequality both within Leeds and across the UK and Europe. He blogs at and keeps a more polished internet presence at

Jeni Tennison is the CEO of the Open Data Institute. She gained a PhD in Artificial Intelligence, then worked as an independent consultant specialising in open data publishing and consumption. She was the Technical Architect and Lead Developer for before joining the ODI as Technical Director in 2012, becoming CEO in 2016.

Jeni sits on the UK’s Open Standards Board; the Advisory Board for the Open Contracting Partnership; the Board of Ada, the UK’s National College for Digital Skills; the Co-operative’s Digital Advisory Board; and the Board of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data.

Paul is an entrepreneur and specialist in innovation, his experience and knowledge means that he has developed a unique skill-set in the field Open Innovation, Data & Smart & Future Cities.

He founded ODI Leeds in November 2013 and DataCity in 2016.

ODI Leeds is a pioneer node of the Open Data Institute. It was created to explore and deliver the potential of open innovation with data at city scale. It works to improve lives, help people and create value.

DataCity is a Data as a Service (DaaS) company that is using Big Data and AI to understand the economy in real time.

Mr Gee has been a veteran on the UK’s Spoken Word scene for two decades. Perhaps best known as the “Poet Laureate” on Russell Brand’s Radio show, he has toured the world many times with the Comedian & his work has featured in the Times, The Guardian & the New Statesman.  He’s presented several radio series: “Bespoken Word”, “Rhyme & Reason” & “Poetic Justice” all on BBC Radio 4, the latter of which focused on the extensive rehabilitation work that he does in prisons.

Mr Gee has delivered two Tedx talks and was a host for the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Forum in London. He was also a featured guest on Akala’s BBC 2 program “Poetry Between the Lines” and his poetry launched the 2017 Barbour International  Spring season. He currently runs the Poetry night Chill Pill within London.

Akeelah Bertram is a visual artist who creates immersive environments out of light and sound. Inspired by phenomenology and structuralism, her work aims to situate audiences in unfamiliar environments to challenge physical and ideological perspectives. Akeelah studied Fine Art at the University of Leeds before going on to complete an MA in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art. Over the last 10 years she has produced independent and collaborative works, exhibiting nationally and internationally.

Ian Massingham is the Director of Developer Technology & Evangelism, at Amazon Web Services where he is responsible for driving the company’s developer engagement strategy.

Ian draws on over two decades of expertise in Internet technologies, technology operations leadership, architecture, and software engineering to help developers around the world in organizations of all sizes, from start-ups to large enterprises, apply cloud computing technologies, solve business problems, and exploit market opportunities.

Massingham has over 20 years’ experience in the IT services industry and has been working with cloud computing technologies since 2008. He began his career working in operations at an early pioneer in the internet hosting and access services market in the UK, and has since led substantial teams focusing on managed services, software engineering, technology operations and architecture in both national and multi-national telecommunications operators.

Stian Westlake is a consultant and advisor on innovation and technology policy. He served as policy adviser to three UK science and innovation ministers, and spent eight years at Nesta, the UK’s national foundation for innovation, where he ran the organisation’s think-tank.

He is currently a senior fellow of Nesta, a governor of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research, and a visiting researcher at Imperial College London. He co-wrote Capitalism Without Capital (2017), a book about the knowledge economy, which was selected as a Book of the Year by the Financial Times, The Economist and Marginal Revolution.

Hera is the Senior Advocacy Manager at the Open Contracting Partnership where she works with a broad range of decision-makers to influence policy based on robust evidence-based research which includes looking at how open contracting can benefit local authorities in generate efficiency gains, encourage innovation, improving social value and help address diversity gaps. Based in Manchester, Hera works alongside open data partners to create smarter and transparent solutions to public procurement challenges in Manchester, Scotland and the UK Government. Hera was named in the Forbes 30 Under 30 and MIT Innovators Under 35 list in 2018.

Sophie is the enthusiastic COO and Co-Founder of Dsposal, a clean-tech start-up working towards a world where all waste is treated as a resource. Dsposal builds easy-to-use tech to connect all waste producers to licensed waste services and make compliance simple. We believe in making the relevant data accessible and convenient to use, driving behaviour change and creating value by maximising the utility of waste.

Prior to founding the company in 2016, Sophie gained a degree in Conflict Resolution, cycled 8700 miles around North America and enjoyed a winding career encompassing logistics and supply chain, the food industry and sustainability. She brings a fresh pair of eyes and breadth of experience to her new-found passion for the waste and resources industry. She sits on the MBA Industry Advisory Board at the University of Bradford and is an alumna of the CSC Leaders Programme.

Sam lives and works in Manchester, but is originally from London. He’s had nearly 10 years working in various tech for good companies, including Time/Image, which digitised the British Council film archive, and working for Code Club in its early days. He is currently developing the Open Data Manchester programme, delivering workshops, training and running events.