Project Description

When the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data and United Nations Foundation decided to run their inaugural Data for Development Festival in Bristol they turned to Focal Point to bring the event together. Being based in the United States the Partnership needed a flexible and reliable production partner who could act as their local representative – taking on operational responsibility, helping with planning, procuring cost-effective suppliers and ensuring seamless professional delivery.

The US team visited the venue just once before coming on site for the event.

The Festival was a complex and high-profile event with content developed in collaboration with more than 70 international partners and sponsors including the Department for International Development; the World BankUnicef; the Hewlett FoundationGoogle and the Ford Foundation.

Photos: Jon Craig
D4Dev Festival 2018 film

Run over three days and taking over the complete ground floor of Bristol City Hall, the festival incorporated a plenary stage; five concurrent breakout rooms; a Virtual Reality Play Space; a “Data Dive” hackathon; and a temporary “Data Bazaar” exhibition which took over the conference hall during breaks. The Festival also featured an off-site visit to the Office for National Statistics, and a gala dinner at We The Curious.

The event was technically as well as organisationally challenging. All plenary sessions and debates needed to be live-streamed. High-profile speakers, including Vice-Presidents, Ambassadors and Ministers needed to be interviewed, as well as the production of a highlights video to be shown on the final morning of the Festival. We also needed to support the live VR artist that was recording the proceedings.

Focal Point were responsible for:

  • Venue planning, liaison and management
  • Supplier procurement and management
  • Event staffing and management
  • Registration design and management
  • Development of branded merchandise
  • “Data Bazaar” exhibition design and build
  • Audio visual planning and delivery
  • Freestanding/internal/external print and digital signage
  • Budget management
  • Event streaming and videography
  • Event Photography
  • Gala Dinner planning and delivery including a bespoke “Street-Art” activity

The event was a great success. More than 400 delegates attended the event, with equal sectoral representation from governments, civil society, NGOs, and the private sector. Nearly 1,500 people contributing to the conversation online using #Data4DevFest, helping us reach more than six million people across six continents.

Have a look at the media report from the event.

Neecia Shaw, Event Manager at the United Nations Foundation had this to say:

“Thomas exemplifies all the characteristics necessary for a great event professional. He is organized, detail-oriented, and a problem solver. I had the pleasure of hiring and working with Thomas on the 2018 Data for Development Festival held in Bristol, UK hosted by the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data.

As an event manager for the United Nations Foundation, I am used to solely planning and executing events, but for this event our team knew we’d need to bring in outside help. Thomas impressed from the beginning with his level of experience and expertise, often making difficult tasks appear easy and executed our event flawlessly.

I was particularly impressed by his ability to mediate numerous logistical problems. From managing registration flow for 300+ guests in a space made for 150 to flipping our plenary space in 45 minutes to set up our exhibition booths, no problem was impossible to solve; he went about the entire process with a great attitude putting our entire team at ease.

As an event professional, Thomas earns my highest recommendation and I would not hesitate to work with him again.”