We <3 Hackney House Austin

Our favourite Hackney Housemates offer up some pearls of wisdom from SXSW 2014

HHA
Gensler

This year’s Hackney House Austin introduced SXSW to some of London’s most innovative tech minds. As well as launching the ambitious HereEast project, HHA's industrial 7000sq foot space hosted a selection of the festival’s most thought provoking debates by the likes of Dezeen, the V&A, D&AD, Protein, Human After All and Dazed. The Texans were so impressed with the East End banter that the Mayor felt moved enough to jump on stage and twin Austin with Hackney. Good lad. With everyone safely back in London and (mostly) hangover free, we asked some of our favourite Hackney House-mates from SXSW 2014 to look back on what they learnt from this year’s festival and also offer up some survival tips for next year.

Louise Shannon, Curator of Digital at the V&A (@lmshannon)

What was the biggest triumph of HHA this year?
Getting to pick the brains of some of the most innovative thinkers on digital design at the V&A panel. Hearing different perspectives on what is important in contemporary digital culture, what people will want to collect of today for tomorrow.
Which event changed your creative outlook the most?
The most important talks for me where those that called upon the tech community to help fix the most pressing needs today - those of surveillance and privacy and a need to protect a sense of the civic.    
What essential SXSW survival tips did you learn for next year?
Pack for a northern summer. Texas is deceptive.

Danny Miller, CEO of Human After All (@dannymhaa)

What was the biggest triumph of HHA this year?
Mixing an authentic slice of Hackney with a bunch of world-class creative makers and doers.
Which event changed your creative outlook the most?
D&AD's talk was a timely reminder of the creative director's role in our fast moving world of cross-channel design communications. It was great to see five creatives who are as open-minded as they are experienced!
What essential SXSW survival tips did you learn for next year?
Steer away from keynotes delivered by experienced folk who are trotting out a pre-determined script. Research and discover those who really have something new to say, and something actionable for you to take away.

SXSW 1

Nicolas Roope, founder and creative director of Poke (@nikroope)

What was the biggest triumph of HHA this year?
Against the backdrop of sxsw it was a breath of fresh Hackney air in an atmosphere polluted with feverish techno-absolutism. Hackney seems to present a happy balance between the unhinged, lateral, creative that is also somehow real, grounded, pragmatic and HHA captured this beautifully. Mental yet humble, worldwise but not too freaked so they could get out of bed to do something with their epiphanies. 
Which event changed your creative outlook the most?
None did. But they added to it. Our idiosyncratic view is now mainstreaming and sxsw is one of the huge outlets that connects the two worlds. It's always the place where concepts break and shift into phenomena. 
What essential SXSW survival tips did you learn for next year?
You can't plan to do everything (there's far too much) so plan to do nothing. Find someone who can make sense of the shitty app and follow their recommendations. Book your airbnb pad no less than 6 months in advance. Get your direct BA flights early as they're the only ones flying that route. And if you suddenly feel like you've been teleported back to Camden Lock, head a block in any direction away from the main drag and you"ll be cured pretty fast. 

Tim Noakes, Editor-in-Chief, Dazed (@TimNoakes)

What was the biggest triumph of HHA this year?
It was an amazing place to discover big ideas, debate future trends and introduce a new audience to Dazed’s weird and wonderful world.
Which event changed your creative outlook the most?
The lecture that stuck with me the most was the “Journalism Revolution 2.0” panel hosted by Lara Setrakian with Andy Carvin and Drake Martinet at Austin City Hall. It was really inspiring to hear their predictions about the future of social and citizen journalism, especially how it can empower oppressed minorities.
What essential SXSW survival tips did you learn for next year?
Avoid wearable tech talks where the host is wearing a galloping LED pony blouse.

SXSW Dazed talk

Marcus Fairs, founder and Editor-in-Chief at Dezeen (@marcusfairs)

What was the biggest triumph of HHA this year?
In the evenings HHA became the place where everyone in Austin headed to enjoy a drink and plan the rest of the evening. It really felt like the centre of things during those cocktail hours.
Which event changed your creative outlook the most? 
I was quite disappointed by SXSW Interactive to be honest. It seemed to be far more about business, data and technology for its own sake rather than creativity.
What essential SXSW survival tips did you learn for next year?
Be sure to book into a motel that does breakfast.

Andrew Sissons, Head of Regeneration Team Hackney Council (@sissonsandrew)

What was the biggest triumph of HHA this year?

Just being bigger and better than the year before seeing the progress our partnership of businesses and government has made in just a year. It was a real statement of intent about Hackney as a place of business but we go about it in an innovative, fun and playful way.  
Which event changed your creative outlook the most?
The Millennium Mentors programme between Hackney and Austin colleges seeing the next generation coming through was very inspiring. We need to do more of this to get our young people ready for a career in the creative industries.
What essential SXSW survival tips did you learn for next year?
Wear trainers and drink a 5 shot espresso at 11pm to get you through the next few hours!

SXSW signs

Alex Capes, Digital Director of  Human After All (@alexandercapes)

What was the biggest triumph of HHA this year?
Creating a space full of creative and inspiring people and a programme of events and showcases that rivaled anything in Austin during the festival.
Which event changed your creative outlook the most?
I really geeked out at the Stephen Wolfram lecture on his soon-to-be-released knowledge-based programming language, Wolfram Language. He's been working on for 25 years! It's hard to get your head round but the possibilities are quite mind-boggling - my notes mainly consisted of 'woah!'.
What essential SXSW survival tips did you learn for next year?
A raincoat is essential.

Nick Farnhill, partner at Poke (@nickfarnhill)

What was the biggest triumph of HHA this year?
With the help of British Airways, getting so much east London talent onto Texas soil.
Which event changed your creative outlook the most? 
Author, Austin Kleon's keynote on the Friday encouraging us all to share the things we love and we'll wind up meeting the people who love those things, too.
What essential SXSW survival tips did you learn for next year?
Get the direct flight.
Book your AirBnB now.
Bring a jumper and umbrella.

V and A talk SXSW

Joe Cooper, Dezeen Watch Store manager (@josephbcooper)

What was the biggest triumph of HHA this year?
I think for Hackney council to even consider making a trip to SXSW in the first place is a triumph in itself. It's good to see the negative stigma Hackney sometimes has switch briefly to the creative and entrepreneurial and to briefly take the focus from the large multi-national companies to our small borough in east London, as there's a huge amount to be proud of. 
Which event changed your creative outlook the most?
The Millennial Mentoring Grand Finale was perhaps most memorable. There were a few hiccups, and some of the presentations didn't go perfectly, but the combination of Hackney and Austin Community College students tackling set briefs together and going through their findings on stage to a crowded Hackney House was a lovely thing to see. 
What essential SXSW survival tips did you learn for next year?
Use the penny cab guys to scout out taxi's. Sounds like an odd thing to do, but most of them are happy to drive you around (for a few dollars, of course) to find you a taxi, and they know the best spots to lead you to. 

Kirsty Dare, General Manager of Protein New York (@kirstydare)

What was the biggest triumph of HHA this year?
For me, it was a sense of pride that the UK holds a lot of great digital thinkers and innovative companies, and we were able to showcase these on an international stage.
Which event changed your creative outlook the most?
There’s an overwhelming amount of brand presence during both Interactive and Music, so to stand out activations have to be more than an open bar and a few guest DJs. There were some great events (The Vimeo Party on Demand; The FADER Fort) and some not so great, so it was good for us to experience these from the side of an attendee with take-aways that we can apply to our own client projects.
What essential SXSW survival tips did you learn for next year?
Book a hotel six months in advance so you don’t have to scrape the Airbnb barrel and end up paying extortionate prices for somewhere miles away from anything. And beware the Uber surge charges - $55 for half a mile definitely wasn’t my SXSW highlight!

Thanks to Hackney House and British Airways

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