VMC announces line-up for April return

Dominic Bernard
Friday, February 3, 2023

The BPIF’s Visual Media Conference (VMC) event will return to Leeds’ Rose Bowl on 4 April 2023, for the first time in three years.

The free VMC event will return on 4 April, with capacity for 300 guests at Leeds’ Rose Bowl
The free VMC event will return on 4 April, with capacity for 300 guests at Leeds’ Rose Bowl

The one-day event will showcase the place of print and packaging in the visual media landscape, with speakers from brands like Kellogg’s, Tony’s Chocolonely chocolate, and Lexus.

Run by Creative Digital Industries (CDI), a BPIF special interest group, the event will be free to attend.

Robert McClements, president of CDI and curator of the event, told Printweek that organisers had decided to return to an entirely in-person format for the conference’s tenth anniversary, after 2021’s virtual event and 2022’s fallow year.

He said: “The three day virtual event was a great success, with international reach to an audience of 650 - including one person in Mongolia - but it was a broadcast and felt like one-way traffic.

“The richness of real life was missing; we took soundings, and there was a resounding agreement to go live in 2023.”

No event was held in 2022, as organisers held a summit in September 2022 to decide the future shape of the VMC.

“We wanted to take stock of the appetite for real events, and be certain we understood the industry’s future priorities,” McClements said.

The summit settled on this year’s themes of  innovation, creativity and sustainability within the visual media industry, and the key role of culture in all three.

“Since [the summit], we have been rising to the challenge to find the best informed speakers who would bring real value to the debate, with experience, case studies, and a mixture of education and entertainment,” he said.

Securing Tony’s Chocolonely to speak about its culture, marketing methods, and vision of entirely slave-free chocolate production, McClements added, the organising team knew it had gauged the themes correctly.

The 2023 event will be held in association with headline sponsor Drupa. Print industry speakers include Sabine Geldermann, Drupa’s print technology portfolio director, Charles Jarrold, chief executive of the BPIF, Jonathan Tame, MD of Two Sides and Beatrice Klose, secretary general of Intergraf, alongside a long list of business leaders from companies such as Communisis and Precision Proco.

VMC’s return to Leeds comes during the city’s ‘Year of Culture’ celebration, which McClements said was a welcome bit of irony considering that 2017’s VMC event had helped the city launch its bid to be a European city of culture.

Brexit notwithstanding, the city decided to hold its own Year of Culture celebration - chiming with 2023’s VMC theme of culture, McClements said.

Keynote speaker and Kellogg’s VP and GM UKI, Chris Silcock’s session, for example, will be called ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’; Communisis’ director of responsible business, Ricky Alfred, likewise, will speak on the power of culture in purpose-led organisations.

The event will have a capacity of 300 guests, McClements said, adding: “To be able to provide a buffet lunch free of charge to all attendees it’s important that they register now.”

The full line-up of speakers can be seen here.

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