Refresh Teesside 2019

James Mills > Refresh Teesside > Refresh Teesside 2019

The begining

Many people think Refresh Teesside started in 2012, but our first event was actually on Thursday 2nd April 2009, which I announced on this very blog. It was September 2008 when I built the first Refresh Teesside website and announced our manifesto. The first event was a great success and the attendance surpassed my expectations. This first event was supported by Adam Lee from Koodoo Creative, the company at which I was working at the time.

When I first thought about the idea of starting a networking event I searched for inspiration. I stumbled across a concept called Refreshing Cities. They had a common, shared manifesto, which you could use as a framework and establish your own event. At the time, there was only two other events in the UK but lots worldwide. I thought it was a great fit for what I wanted to do.

Refresh Teesside is a community of designers and developers working to refresh the creative, technical and professional culture of New Media endeavours in their areas. We aim to promote design, technology, usability and standards.

Refresh Teesside’s First Manifesto Based on Refreshing Cities.

Refresh Teesside 2012

2009 was a long time ago, and at that time I had started to feel frustrated with the industry. We clearly needed a strong networking event in Teesside at that time, but perhaps we weren’t quite ready. However, over next three years, things started to move on, and by 2012, it was time for Refresh Teesside to really take off.

February 2012 is when Refresh Teesside launched as most people know it. We secured a great location and announce the event for 6pm, Wednesday 8th February 2012 to be held at Capaldi’s, Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough. It was not long until my good friend Chris Scott (who was coincidentally my neighbour at the time) started to help run the events. Chris was an amazing help, I really couldn’t have done it without him.

Refresh Teesside ran some really successful monthly events for the next few years. All events were extremely well attended and we got some amazing feedback and coverage. I know personally of business who collaborated on projects because of Refresh Teesside. I know of people who found employment from attending Refresh Teesside events. There are so many success stories, almost everyone in tech in Teesside knew about the event.

Around mid-2012 we started an official board and invited Iain McPherson from Big Bite Creative to help move the events forward. It was a great team and a great time to be involved with Refresh Teesside and networking in Teesside.

In 2013 I moved to Dubai and left the events in the very capable hands of Chris and Iain. I continued to sit in on some planning meetings and even joined a couple of events using Google Hangouts. Occasionally my trips back to the UK coincided with a Refresh event and it was a pleasure to be able to attend some of the events, which had grown from strength to strength with Chris and Iain at the helm.

Refresh Teesside has been on hiatus for two years while key players pursued other projects. It has served as a timely opportunity for Refresh to be…well, refreshed!

Refresh Teesside 2019

This brings me to the present, 2019. I just cannot believe that Refresh Teesside started 10 years ago. It’s absolutely amazing to see the re-launch of the events. Iain continues to help run the events and is joined by Sarah McCormick who is spear heading the re-launch.

It’s hard to believe it’s 10 years since the incarnation of Refresh Teesside.

Refresh Teesside was first started in April 2009

From January 2019, Refresh will be held every other month, bringing together Teesside’s creative, digital and tech industries to build connections, promote local talent and eat pizza.

The January 2019 event will be on Thursday 31st January 2019 between 18:00 and 20:00 at Hit The Bar, 1 Bridge Street West, Middlesbrough.

The first two speakers have now been announced. The first speaker for the much anticipated January meetup is Sarah Louise Taylor, Head of Platform at @Visualsoft. The second speaker for #RFTees January meetup is Mark Easby, MD at @better_studio and Chairman at @hightidetees 🙌

The return of Refresh Teesside has proven so popular that the January event no longer has tickets available. You can find more information about the event on the Event Bright page.

The events are being supported by Middlesbrough Digital and Mabo Media.

You can find out more by following Refresh Teesside on Twitter. The new domain for the events is and as always, everything will be tagged with the #RFTees hashtag.

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