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‘Distractions’ is coming to Manchester - tickets now on sale

A THREE-DAY event is coming to Manchester this summer, which will explore how technology changes the way we create, share and consume art, music and entertainment.

A number of organisations have created Distractions, including Greater Manchester Combined Authority, FutureEverything, Manchester International Festival and Sound City – and you can get your tickets now.

Thursday, July 18, to Saturday, July 20, 2019, will see FutureEverything, Sound City and Manchester International Festival host the event in Manchester, each leading a themed day focussing on innovation, revolution and the future of entertainment.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Distractions is everything Greater Manchester is about – innovative, forward thinking and radical. We have a great musical heritage and this event shows we use that to inspire an even better future. But more than that, it is about exploring the cross-over between music, technology and our plans for young people.

“We have a pioneering digital, technological and music history. Whether that’s building the first computer, the birthplace of the industrial revolution and the Spinning Jenny, or the home of Factory Records - our progressive past should be seen as a great foundation for the future.

“Distractions is all about showcasing the future of Greater Manchester and asking the moral and ethical questions about how technology is both a fantastic opportunity to drive forward out digital city-region ambitions whilst building on our unique cultural offering.

“In Greater Manchester, we don’t want to just imagine what the future of entertainment and music might look like, we want to lead it.”

Day 1 (Thursday, July 18) is led by FutureEverything. Can culture revolutionise our digital world? Who gets to lead technological innovation? And what happens when we work together to imagine, build and test ideas for collective futures? In Distractions: GM Futures, FutureEverything will bring artists, makers and digital tech leaders together with the people of Greater Manchester to explore visions for the future in our innovation lab. Responding to the challenges we face at the points where technology and society collide, attendees will have the opportunity to take part in meaningful discussion, action research and hands-on prototyping, drawing on themes from the emerging GM Digital Strategy. Coinciding with the launch of a new digital artwork, Invisible Faith by artist Jiayu Liu, GM Futures will bring people together to understand, imagine and invent a rich digital culture and ecosystem for Greater Manchester and beyond.

Day 2 (Friday, July 19) will see Sound City take the lead. Tech is driving the future of entertainment. AR, VR, MR, 3D immersive, facial recognition in stadiums, ticketing and social media, global entertainment is bigger and more innovative than ever. The new talent of the future is as likely to be a digital designer as much as a DJ or performer. It all raises questions and invites opportunity. The explosion in e-sports and the use of tech means virtual attendance, increased audience capacity and participation is the future for all entertainment brands.

These topics and more will be debated with some of the world’s leading tech companies and artist managers and then into the evening a new talent showcase will showcase the new content and new music at the heart of the entertainment.

Day 3 (Saturday, July 20) is led by Manchester International Festival. How is science and technology enabling us to reconfigure our minds, bodies and relationships with each other and the world around us?

Taking inspiration from key commissions and events at this year’s Manchester International Festival (MIF19, July 4-21) productions, we’ll hear from world-class artists and futurists visualising new worlds and the thinkers tackling the big ideas. Featuring demos alongside debate, this event forms part of Interdependence, MIF19’s ideas programme. Contributors include, games director and animator Paloma Dawkins; Claire L Evans, writer, musician and the author of Broad Band: The Untold History of the Women Who Made the Internet; pioneering computer scientist  Dame Wendy Hall; Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, artist and creator of Atmospheric Memory; media artist Refik Anadol; experience design studio Marshmallow Laser Feast; Ash Sarkar, Senior Editor at Novara Media; and TEM, creative studio for Skepta’s DYSTOPIA987, which has its world premiere at MIF19.

For further information about Distractions visit: and for tickets:


Article Published: 21/05/2019 14:35 PM