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Stories from Roald Dahl, Dyson and Chris Bonnello to take centre stage at XpoNorth

The Hebridean Baker will be speaking at the XpoNorth conference in June.
The Hebridean Baker will be speaking at the XpoNorth conference in June.

A Dyson designer, the director of the Roald Dahl Museum and a multi-award-winning author are among the speakers at XpoNorth’s annual conference

The annual creative industries digital conference will take place from June 15-16 online with the theme of storytelling.

Delivered via the Socio platform, the conference will offer dedicated training spaces, networking opportunities, specialist advice sessions and digital trade stands.

Steve Gardam.

Who are the keynote speakers?

With more than 25 years of experience inventing, designing and developing innovative products for global brands, Gareth Jones was one of the original three-man design team at Dyson which revolutionised the vacuum cleaner market.

At a panel discussion on inventing, and designing, he will share his insights into developing innovative products that solve real world problems.

Steve Gardam, director of the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre will share with a panel his experience of the last few years and his thoughts on how museums can best navigate this hybrid world.

Award-winning author of the series Underdogs, Chris Bonnello, will take part in a session focusing on supporting and encouraging neurodiversity. An autistic advocate, he launched ‘Autistic Not Weird’ to share his insights from both a personal and professional perspective.

Event open to a ‘broad international audience’

Chris Bonnello. Picture supplied by XpoNorth.

Iain Hamilton, head of creative industries at Highlands and Islands Enterprise and co-founder of XpoNorth, said, “The creative economy and the world more broadly has changed significantly over recent years, and we’re excited to be offering a platform for important discussions on the challenges and opportunities facing the sector as we hopefully move into a new phase of recovery.

“Producing the conference in a digital format brings a range of benefits to our networks; lowering logistical barriers increases access for our regional businesses and opening the experience up to a broader national and international audience.”

Who else will be there?

Embracing the storytelling theme, this year’s conference will hear from award winning poets, authors and literary agents in various sessions offering insights into the world of publishing.

Poet, Michael Pederson, will lead a session on poetry; indie authors John Jarrold and Amy Collins will explore ways in which agents and authors can and are working together; and Coinneach MacLeod, otherwise known as The Hebridean Baker, and award-winning author, Malachy Tallack, will discuss writing as a passion.

Malachy Tallack will be speaking at the XpoNorth conference. Picture supplied by Paul Bloomer.

Several sessions at this year’s conference will focus on the post pandemic world. A panel of speakers, including Iain Fionnlagh MacLeòid of Cànan Graphics Studio and Coinneach MacFhraing a Gaelic presenter, will explore the rich relationship between the creative industries and place.

Another session, How Creativity Can Empower Rural Economies, will explore how creative businesses in rural economies can be argued to have as much, if not more to offer global consumers, especially in the digital age.

Registration is now open at

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