Dispatch From Internet Week Europe: Murder and Mayhem in London

Innovation, Entrepreneurs and Creativity Take Center Stage in the U.K.'s 'Silicon Roundabout'

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Internet Week Europe had a laid-back London vibe this week, with events including a Jack the Ripper tour and a coding session for local schoolchildren, as well as a #nointernetweek ban on the digital life of five internet addicts. Almost all the events were held in the "Silicon Roundabout" area east of the city, a hub for U.K. digital entrepreneurs and tech firms.

Credit: Night of the Living Dead

The "Night of the Living Dead" tour, hosted by digital product and design agency Made by Many, took participants on an after-dark tour of 19th century serial killer Jack the Ripper's most bloody crime scenes, accompanied by Victorian undertakers carrying lanterns, and three speakers on the digital afterlife.

Stacey Pitsillides, who is doing a PhD in digital death, digital afterlife and digital heritage at the University of London, spoke about the creative possibilities of tagging the streets in which you live, work and play with digital graffiti that records your memories, leaving an "information rich" environment for historians and archaeologists to find.

Next up was Paul Golding, managing director of Cirrus Legacy, which helps people protect and control their online legacy. He explained the legal minefields around who owns your digital identity and legacy on different platforms. Finally Andriana Cassimatis, whose Black Ribbon Blog seeks to modernize the images and language of bereavement, talked about providing a more beautiful and creative space in which to grieve.

Credit: Wilton's Music Hall

The evening rounded off at Wilton's Music Hall, which dates back to 1743, where the undertakers performed a "digital execution," erasing the social media life of one of the participants.

Mother London's #nointernetweek experiment, conducted under the watchful eye of psychotherapist Sarah Hirigoyen, found that the older participants (a Mother strategist, a digital publisher, an online editor) struggled less than the younger ones (a fashion blogger and a regular teenager), who found it almost unbearable because their self esteem is so closely linked to the positive reinforcement they receive online. Mother has created a documentary showing the full findings.

Credit: Code Corner

Coder Corner promised bragging rights in the playground and bravely let primary schoolchildren into Google Campus to create mayhem as well as coding their own computer game. Host Nick Corston, business development director at The Team who also runs after school Code Clubs, demonstrated to the kids that their efforts were better than even Steve Jobs managed on his first outing as a programmer.

The annual Lovie awards on Wednesday provided the focal point of Internet Week Europe, where the emphasis was on celebrating creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. Internet Week is part of Crain Communications, Ad Age's parent company.

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