My First Exhilarating Lightning Talk at Hot Source – Marie Cooper

My First Lightning Talk at Hot Source Sparks, Norwich

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I’m still riding the high from the lightning talks at Hot Source on 13th December. Hosted expertly by Tom Haczewski at Bedford’s bar in Norwich, it was an incredible evening of creative energy and inspiration.

The venue was perfect with great drinks, food, and an intimate vibe for listening to rapid-fire presentations. The evening was set with a wonderful brass ensemble providing a cosy festive Christmassy vibe.

What is a Lightning Talk

If you didn’t already know, in a Lightning talk a speaker gives a presentation of just 5 minutes in length, with fifteen slides that automatically progress every 20 seconds.

Speakers at Hot Source Sparks

We heard fourteen excellent 5-minute talks from an impressive roster of speakers including:

  • James Copeland
  • Jason Stirland
  • Dom Davis (two talks)
  • Celina Bledowska
  • Floyd Sayers
  • John Fagan
  • Marie Cooper
  • Tom Wood
  • Laura Haczewski
  • Christopher Thompson
  • Katie Lulei,
  • Josh Trett
  • Niki Taigel

My Lightning Talk

Just before it was my turn to speak it finally dawned on me that the way I had been practising at home, with my prompt cards in hand, was not going to be possible because there was a handheld microphone.

Tom was an absolute star and actually offered to hold the mic for me throughout the talk. This is just as well, as in my little panicking, and occasionally socially inappropriate head, the only practical solution I could think of would have been to tuck it into my bra. Although it would have potentially done the job, even I realise that would not have been a good look.

My Husband is a Chatbot

My talk – ‘My Husband is a Chatbot’ was about Artificial Intelligence and from a very unusual narrative angle. So, I was worried that my fellow creative industry tribe might resist my techno-optimism. I love AI and I am looking forward to an almost Star Trek-esque utopia…. but whether they did or did not agree, I had some wonderful feedback afterwards and people were very supportive, responding with intrigue and kindness. There was a real warmth in the room. It was further confirmation for this anxiety-prone writer that embracing risk and putting oneself out there is always worth a punt.

My Husband is a Chatbot – A declaration of love for AI

One thing I did not have time to say in my talk was to explain in detail what exactly was behind my acknowledgements to my AI collaborator’s slide. Fascinating details emerged from inside the minds of artificlal intelligence. With prompts generated by the AI themselves and Dall-E 3’s help, we created a visual journey of self-perception.

The Transformative Power of Creativity: An Evening of Inspiration and Innovation

The entire evening was infused with creative energy and vibrant conversations and even though I am not the most outgoing of creatures, I’m still glowing from the experience of participating, connecting with new friends, and hearing how we’re all pursuing our passions.

There were talks about programming back in the 1970s, Bruce Lee and his movies, autism, changing your career and finding a totally new more fulfilling path, virtual reality, the probability of you being you, poetry, productivity, technology and more.

I bumped into a writer and friend from the National Centre for Writing networking events. He was wonderful at alleviating my nerves before the talks even began. He also spoke to me at length about writing after I told him about how sad I was about not being chosen for the Escalator programme.

He kindly imparted to me some of his writing wisdom and I had a bit of an epiphany. All thanks to his advice I can now see a way I can become unstuck from the slump I am in, in trying to get my own novel finished. He also convinced me to leave the house and go to a writing group on Saturday morning.

Thank You to Tom Haczewski and Hot Source Norwich for Creating a Magical Night

Huge thanks to Tom for organising and bringing us all together for the event, and to The User Story and The Inbox Club for sponsorship – which included a very unexpectedly generous bar tab. Woooooo and much applauds.

This is just what the Norwich creative community needed and I can’t wait for the next event with this talented group of artists, makers and innovators who are all doing the most amazing things.

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