Social Media for Social Good

Social Media for Social Good

The Friday of Digital Leaders Week (June 23rd), saw Corsham Institute’s ‘Social Media for Social Good’ event, chaired by CEO Rachel Neaman and hosted at Ukie, the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment, in Central London.

Our panel consisted of a disparate and fascinating mix of social media experts, Ros Lawler, Digital Director at Tate, Matt Hall, Anmama Founder and podcast producer and Dr Charles Kriel, Ci’s Director of Digital Creativity.

The theme of the event included how the latest social media micro-targeting techniques sway communities, how they can deliver fresh takes on culture and how creating the right creative media content can increase social sharing and impact.

As Rachel Neaman said in her opening remarks, social media is increasingly changing social interaction and recently there has been a polarisation of attitudes to social media; from the positive impacts of connecting many types of communities and increasing the reach of communications, to the negatives of fake news and algorithm manipulation. Therefore, it is vital that there is an increased level of debate over how social media can be used for social good.

Each panellist presented a short summary of their work, with their thoughts on where the world of social media is heading. We include them all here as separate podcasts, which are embedded from our Sound Cloud page.

If you want to add to the debate, then please do get in touch. Email us at, or tweet us @Corsham_Inst. 


Ci CEO honoured with Founder's Award

Ci CEO honoured with Founder's Award

This week (19- 23 June), has been Digital Leader’s Week, a week of focussed events around the UK that has celebrated, showcased and inspired the best digital transformation across the public, private and non-profit sectors.

The National Digital Conference on 22 June highlighted, in many quality presentations and discussions, that in this time of societal and economic uncertainty there has never been a greater need for leadership in the digital world, to find ways for social good and community inclusion, and to inspire and drive innovation and understanding.

There were calls for business, government, academia and non-profit organisations to strive even harder to find ways to empower people with digital skills and ensure that the UK grasps every opportunity to be a world digital leader.

There were also great contributions to the debate from some of the next generation of passionate, digital leaders: Molly Watt, Jessica Okoro and the winner of the 2017 Young Digital Leader of the Year, Jack Parsons.

Following the conference, the Digital Leaders 100 Awards again highlighted digital excellence in a raft of categories, covering every sector of the UK. Corsham Institute’s CEO, Rachel Neaman, was honoured with the inaugural Founder’s Award.  She admitted that it had been a “complete surprise” and said;

“It is wonderful and humbling to be recognised in this way by the Digital Leader’s community. I am passionate about digital transformation and leadership and it is a true honour to be part of a group that helps focus and highlight all the great digital transformation work that is going on throughout the UK”.

Cyber Security Podcast for Digital Leaders Week

Cyber Security Podcast for Digital Leaders Week

This podcast, our second for Digital Leaders Week, is with Professor Richard Benham, the current Digital Leaders South West Champion and the first formal Professor of Cyber Security Management. He discusses a whole range of Cyber Security issues, the benefits of GDPR, and steps that both businesses and the Government need to take.

Richard is pictured with one of his 'Cyber Citizens', soon to be appearing in schools and businesses all around the country to raise awareness around Cyber Security.

For more information about #DLWeek2017, which runs from June 19th-23rd across the UK, visit:

Digital Leaders Week - Podcast with CEO, Rachel Neaman

Digital Leaders Week - Podcast with CEO, Rachel Neaman

This podcast is a conversation with Rachel Neaman, CEO of Corsham Institute, who is also a member of the Advisory Board of Digital Leaders, about the first ever Digital Leaders Week. She also talks about the Corsham Institute, the role that the organisation plays and the impact we hope to have.

For more information about #DLWeek2017, which runs from June 19th-23rd across the UK, visit:

The reality of Virtual Reality

The reality of Virtual Reality

Blog by Nik Hunt, Corsham Institute’s Project Co-ordinator, following some experiences with the Ci team, of a number of current uses of virtual technology…

There are many interesting ways that visual augmentation technology is currently being used, mainly in the leisure and entertainment sectors.

In 5D cinema, 3D glasses are worn and you sit on mechanical chairs. As the film starts, the chairs move and things from the screen seem to come towards you, while at the same time water gets sprayed at you and the back of your legs are touched from beneath the chairs to synchronise with elements of the film. The films are short, and the technology is aging, but the effect of more than one sense being affected has exciting potential applications. In an educational setting, it could be used to experience what it is like to blast off in a space rocket, how it felt to be in a wartime bunker, or maybe as an inclusive way of showing how it feels to ride a horse.

Urban Golf is golf played in an augmented reality cave. The technology is simple, a projector projecting the image of the golf course and a ball with sensor stickers on it that can detect the acceleration and direction of the ball which is then added onto the play screen, so that it appears that the ball carries on into the screen. There is only one screen used, as three screens, (as we have in the Ci CaVE), require projectors in the middle of the ceiling that would provide a risk when swinging a golf club! The possible educational applications of this technology could be as a sports science aid – combined with a video, it could help students or athletes to evaluate and improve their techniques, not only in golf, but in many ball sports.

Virtual Reality Exhibitions are becoming more commonly used. They consist of a virtual reality headset, headphones and, if they are in a walk-around environment, a backpack that contains a processor and battery. This technology has many promising uses. As it is, it could be used for exhibitions around the world without the artefacts being moved. It could be used to explore any situation that is not easily accessible, you could, for instance, experience what it’s like to be in a submarine. What is most intriguing is the use of physical objects within the space that feel like the objects visible in the VR. It could have uses in education for sensory impairment or as a more interactive experience with different textures to touch, or even science experiments out of the lab.

We have the hardware at Ci for developers to work on and test software for these educational and research purposes. If you have any ideas, contact us at or arrange to come and experience our CaVE!

Civic Engagement through Digital Activity

Civic Engagement through Digital Activity

Blog by Martin Head, Corsham Institute’s Director of Communities...

Ci's Communities Programme is developing a range of projects that are finding ways to engage people more in civic society and local democracy, as part of our overall mission to promote a fair, inclusive, prosperous and creative society.

As part of our Digital Corsham initiative with our online digital tv platform Corsham TV and our partner community radio station KIK Radio, we cover local and national elections from a local standpoint, as well as regularly holding our MPs and Councillors to account in detailed interviews, addressing local concerns. The resulting engagement is measurable and has real impact.

During the 2015 General Election campaign, we produced video clips of the local hustings event, which resulted in over 1,500 views compared to around 125 people who attended the evening. Over 10 times the engagement in the debate, through digital activity.

Our production partnership with local BBC Radio to deliver an EU Referendum debate attracted over 900 local video views and one of a very few community media co-productions with the BBC nationally.

Coverage of the May 2017 local elections had every candidate in four wards offered a video statement and in a typically low turn-out election over 750 people viewed the results.

We also audio live-stream local Council meetings and the Unitary Authority Area Boards and reach over 500 people a week locally with topical podcasts. For the General Election this year, each candidate in our local constituency has recorded a video message and we’ll be at the overnight count to cover the results and be the first community media to hear from the new MP, whoever they may be!

All the above examples have impact and the potential to re-define the way local communities engage with their politicians and councils and there is an increasing role for community media to serve their communities by shining a light onto the democratic process.

However, the long-term impact of greater local digital engagement in the democratic process is still to be quantified. After the 10-fold level of digital engagement that we saw during our coverage of the General Election in 2015, there is a clear research opportunity to examine connections between levels of engagement and voter turnout.

Digital media can lead to greater engagement and participation in the local democratic process and part of Ci’s ongoing work is to develop examples and partnerships to prove the power of digital community media to engage citizens more widely.

Introducing the CaVE!

Introducing the CaVE!

Blog by Nik Hunt, Corsham Institute’s Project Co-ordinator….

At Ci we’re in the beta testing phase of our new innovation space, called 'The CaVE'. 

The Corsham (Institute) Augmented and Virtual Environment brings together research, innovation and reality in an area designed to optimise thinking.

This technology is currently used in a variety of sectors; at MTC it is used by architects and constructors to formulate building plans; at BP it is used to train for oil platform usage. At Welsh Water it is used for touring sites using Google Earth, and at the University of Brighton, VR is used for sports training – timing starts and analysing performance. These are only a few of the endless possibilities, made available through the use of VR and AR.

In our CaVE there’s a work zone with a conventional set up, where a group of people can plan and deliberate, but it’s in the adjacent tech zone where it gets really exciting! You step into a space that has projections on three walls, so that you’re surrounded by a different reality. Although the space is for one person, others can see in, interact and make suggestions from the outside.

There is also an HTC Vive Virtual Reality headset – this is currently a one person activity, however, we are in the process of expanding it for 2+ users.

We’re creating a real eye opening experience to encourage out of the box thinking and dynamic discussion and we’re hoping to work with developers on projects that will deliver Corsham Institute’s vision of a fair, inclusive, prosperous and creative society.

To find out more please email:

Currency: re-defining the way we transact in a digital world

In May we held the third Thought Leadership event of our 2017 Programme at St George’s House, Windsor Castle, exploring the impact that digital technology is having on the way we are able to transact and how this is fundamentally altering what we understand as ‘currency’ in an increasingly connected world.

Delivered in conjunction with our partners, RAND Europe, the event was attended by senior leaders from across academia, business, government and non-government sectors, and explored how new models of transaction can help to create new opportunities for social benefit.

There was widespread agreement amongst participants that more traditional, monetary-based forms of currency are here to stay, however we are likely to see the emergence of a ‘mixed economy’ in the future, with data being increasingly viewed as a currency in our connected world. Interestingly, cryptocurrencies were considered as more of an asset management mechanism for storing value, rather than transacting.

However, we also heard how the speed and scale of change may have potential downsides for the economic well-being and stability of our society.  Ensuring equality of access and adequate levels of financial and digital literacy were also seen as key issues that need to be addressed if individuals are to be able to make the most of opportunities presented by the growing number of transaction platforms and mechanisms.

Our discussions highlighted how new platforms are facilitating the more efficient exchange of data during transactions.  This has the potential to impact price setting, enabling greater amounts of data about the products/services and the parties involved in a transaction to be shared during the transaction process.  Such bundling of data has the potential to alter the relationship between the vendor and the customer, enabling price to be set on a more informed basis.  It could support individuals to transact in a more informed manner, increasing confidence and trust, allow organisations to offer more personalised services and recommendations.  However, at the same time this could create unfair practices when such data are used by vendors to adjust price based on prior usage patterns to create unfair commercial advantage.  

Finally, we discussed which groups in society are most likely to benefit from changes, as well as the implications for policy and regulation in terms of economic and financial stability but also in terms of generating greater trust, and the behaviour changes required to encourage adoption of a broader range of transaction mechanisms.

Further details on the debate will be available in the form of Conference proceedings, which are to be published shortly. The Ci 2017 Thought Leadership Programme now moves forward to our final event in June, which will focus on civic society and the opportunities created by digital technology for more effective civic engagement.

To follow comments from the events on Twitter as they happen please follow the hashtag: #digitalsociety or if you’d like any more information please email:

Open Science: the citizen’s role and contribution to research

Open Science: the citizen’s role and contribution to research

The second event in our 2017 Thought Leadership Programme was held on April 6-7th, at St George’s House, Windsor Castle, and explored the opportunities for citizen science and how digital technology can support stronger citizen engagement in research activities.  

Working with our partners, Rand Europe, and attended by senior leaders from the UK, Europe and internationally, representing Academia, Business, Government and Non-Government organisations, our discussions focused on how citizen science has the potential to transform both the process of research and also the impact that research findings can have.

During the 24 hours that we were together we considered some critical questions on the role and purpose of citizen science, including:

  • What do we mean by the term ‘citizen science’, and what activities should we include within this definition?
  • Are we clear about the benefits and opportunities of involving citizens more centrally in the research process, and conversely what concerns and challenges are restricting greater involvement of citizens?
  • Does digital technology have a role to play in accelerating the growth of citizen involvement in research?
  • What should a forward thinking and aspirational vision for citizen science contain and who can help us realise the true potential of citizen engagement in research?

Some of the key conclusions we agreed included:

  • The term ‘Citizen Science’ has different meanings to different individuals and organisations;
  • Citizen engagement in research has been growing in importance and has the potential to transform research activities at scale and with speed;
  • When citizens are engaged in defining the research scope and brief, it supports stronger engagement because the research is focused on issues which matter most to the people supporting it;
  • Citizens need to develop good ‘research skills’ and this requires clear accessible advice and guidance as well as training;
  • Barriers to engagement and inequalities remain key challenges to be addressed;
  • Some academic researchers appear hesitant to recognise research led by citizens, and data collected by them as being a valid and value adding activity; and
  • Digital technology has the potential to amplify both the opportunities and also some of the challenges faced.

These are just some of the initial conclusions emerging from our discussions and more will follow in the conference proceedings currently being drafted, which will then be available from the Thought Leadership pages of our website.

At the end of our discussions and in keeping with our theme of scientific research, we were honoured to have a private demonstration of the Gömböc - the world’s first self–righting object, which was invented by Professor Domokos and Mr Péter Várkonyi.  To mark the presentation of the Gömböc to St George’s House and in advance of a lecture on natural numbers and shapes we were able to see the object in action.  More information The Gömböc and how the mathematics behind it were proved can be found on this link.

The Corsham Institute  2017 Thought Leadership Programme continues with our next event in May, which will focus on the role of currency and how this is being redefined, as we transact in a more connected world.

To follow comments from the events on Twitter as they happen please search for the hashtag: #digitalsociety, or if you’d like any more information please email:

Ci's first CEO is Rachel Neaman

Ci's first CEO is Rachel Neaman

Ci is delighted to announce the appointment of Rachel Neaman as its first Chief Executive Officer. She will take up the post on 1 May 2017.

Rachel is currently a consultant at the Tech Partnership, the network of employers collaborating to create the skills for the digital economy. She was previously Director of Skills and Partnerships at Doteveryone, the digital organisation founded by Baroness Martha Lane Fox to make the internet work for everyone, and before that was Chief Executive of Baroness Lane-Fox’s digital skills charity Go ON UK, which merged with Doteveryone in April 2016. Prior to joining Go ON UK she was Digital Leader and Head of Profession for Digital at the Department of Health, responsible for digital strategy, policy and transformation

From 2013–16, Rachel was Chair of Digital Leaders, the UK’s premier platform for expert opinion and networking on digital transformation, and is now a non-executive member of the Advisory Board under the new Chair, Lord Francis Maude. She is also a non-executive member of the DigitalHealth.London Advisory Board. Neaman was voted 20th in Computer Weekly’s list of 50 Most Influential Women in IT 2016.

Jeffrey Thomas, Founding Chairman of the Corsham Institute said: “Rachel’s extensive senior leadership experience in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors in the UK and internationally makes her the ideal choice to lead the Institute as our first Chief Executive Officer. The Corsham Institute was founded to gain a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges afforded by our digital society. We are delighted to welcome Rachel at this formative stage in our development.  She is uniquely qualified to deliver on our vision to establish the UK as a leading digital economy.”

Karen Price, CEO of the Tech Partnership said: “I’m delighted to see that Rachel will be leading the exciting programme of work at the Corsham Institute. This appointment is very good news for employers and the broader digital community and I look forward to continuing to work with Rachel in her new role.”

Rachel Neaman said: “I am hugely excited by the opportunity of working with the Corsham Institute. I strongly believe Ci has a major role to play in creating the inclusive, citizen-centred digital society that we so badly need in an age where personal data has become a commercial commodity, information is manipulated by algorithms, and individual privacy has lost its meaning. I have been extremely impressed by the amount that Ci has accomplished to date as well as by its ambitions for the future. I look forward to building on these achievements and helping Ci accelerate a digital society and economy in which all can thrive.”

You can follow Rachel on Twitter @RCNeaman and for any further information please email:

Skills and Education for a Digital World

Skills and Education for a Digital World

Our 2017 Thought Leadership Programme got off to a dynamic and invigorating start with our partner Rand Europe in the unique environment of St George’s House, Windsor Castle where participants and partners came together to discuss digital technology’s role in enabling skills development for a connected world.

Representatives from Academia, Business, Government and Non-Government organisations from the UK, Europe and internationally, focussed on detailed questions of how digital can best support individuals to develop the skills needed for the digital society, which will in turn lead to the first of this year’s Thought Leadership Reports.

Held under the Chatham House rule, to enable open, honest and challenging discussion, the following issues and questions were explored:

  • How does technology challenge the educator’s role?
  • What are the core skills needed to be a citizen in a digital society?
  • Are we preparing today’s young people for the jobs of tomorrow with yesterday’s tools?
  • How can digital technology aid life-long learning for the benefit of citizens, to embed greater inclusion within Digital Society?
  • How can digital delivery channels help ensure equality of access and inclusivity to skills and education?
  • In what ways can we support an ageing population to acquire the digital skills necessary to transact in an increasingly digital world?
  • How do we build capacity within the education system to maximise the impact of digital technology?

Conference proceedings, which summarise the key findings and ideas from our discussions, will be published in due course and available from our website. In the interim, closing remarks on behalf of the participants included:

  • Digital technology offers an amazing opportunity to extend learning opportunities and citizens should give themselves the permission to fully participate in such opportunities in support of both social mobility and life-long learning;
  • Delivering education and learning through digital channels cannot deliver benefits on its own. We need to have a more compelling narrative for education and learning in general and how digital technology can support the learner more effectively, to encourage greater participation;
  • Delivering education and learning through digital technology faces a number of challenges, including resistance from more traditional institutions but also in terms of inclusion. The use of new technologies can extend audience reach and tackle issues of inclusion, but it also has the potential to extend the gap between those who participate in learning and those who are at risk of being excluded;
  • The use of digital technology to deliver education and learning is disrupting what we see as the traditional role of the educator.  There is a need to discuss more openly how this role should evolve if we are to maximise the benefits of digital technology in learning environments;
  • Businesses as employers, who are looking to develop their workforce should take a lead in terms of developing platforms and tools, using technology to enable digital learning for the benefit of everyone;
  • Automation and the use of artificial intelligence has great potential in the area of education and learning, especially in terms of assessment and accreditation, as well as in areas such as continuous professional development and compliance assurance.  The technology and its use in learning environments is not however well understood.

These are just some of the headline conclusions from our discussions on Education and the potential role which digital technology might play in delivering the skills needed for a more connected world.

Our 2017 Thought Leadership Programme continues with the next event in April focusing on the opportunities and challenges that digital technology is creating for Open Science.  Other themes we have planned for this year include Currency in a digital world and Civic Engagement.

To follow comments from the events on Twitter as they happen please search for the hashtag #digitalsociety, or if you’d like any more information, please email:

Wiltshire College partners with Corsham TV

IMG_6776 Corsham TV.jpg

Wiltshire College’s TV and Film Students have been out on location in Corsham creating video stories for Corsham TV.

Corsham TV, part of the Digital Corsham initiative from Corsham Institute, is a community-inspired digital tv channel covering the people and stories of Corsham, Box, Neston, Colerne and Lacock.

The project with Wiltshire College started before Christmas when Corsham TV set the College the challenge of producing a series of 3-4 minute factual programmes for the Channel and is one of a number of collaborations to help train the next generation of film-makers and increase the amount of content available for the Channel.

Students chose to focus on a broad range of themes from the history of Corsham Station, to the role of apprenticeships in the local economy, whether the voting age should be lowered, the challenge that local pubs face and how the Corsham Knitting Group helps refugees.

Corsham TV’s Channel Director, Martin Head, who leads the Digital Corsham initiative, commented; “the range of stories that the students came up with was very impressive and it was great to increase Corsham Institute’s links with Wiltshire College. We look forward to more projects in the future”.

Course tutor Nicola Dew said: “this was very much a real-world exercise which certainly stretched our students. It’s even inspired some of them to think about a career in factual programme-making. We’re looking forward to exploring future opportunities with Corsham TV".

To produce the videos the students worked alongside Corsham TV’s team of Creative and Digital Media Apprentices and the students had to identify potential interviewees before recording and editing the footage needed for their videos.

The videos can be viewed at and for more information please email:

GDPR – transforming the use of personal data

“You need to have sleepless nights about this”, was one of the wake-up calls delivered by John Godwin, Director of Compliance and IA at UKCloud, during his recent Corsham Institute (Ci) ‘Insight’ Talk about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

In May 2018 this new and far-reaching framework will be implemented to give citizens more control of their personal data and to unify data regulations for any business either based in, or doing business in, the EU.

The European Commission has produced this somewhat ‘revealing’ video to warn of the dangers of not taking control of your personal data.

The Regulation at over 200 pages is complex and not withstanding Brexit, will affect every business, organisation, charity and person within the UK. Even after the UK has left the EU, GDPR will transform the handling, storing and use of personal data especially for any non-EU organisation providing goods or services to the EU.

The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office has a website for the posting of information about the reform of data protection legislation and they have also produced a 12-step checklist to help organisations prepare for GDPR, including information on reviewing what data you hold, privacy notices, consent, safeguarding children, your suppliers’ procedures and the need for Data Protection Officers. The link to download the checklist is at the end of this post.

GDPR will transform the use of personal data and as John Godwin outlined in his talk at Ci, the costs of getting it wrong will escalate sharply, from a maximum current penalty of £500,000, up to the larger amount of either 4% of an organisation’s world-wide turnover or a fine of up to €20million, with a 72 hour mandatory time period for the reporting of any data breaches.

At Ci we recently launched our Thought Leadership Consultation Report on Trust and Ethics, which called for the creation of a more enlightened and ethical digital society, identifying the need for a public-led framework to help citizens understand the rights and responsibilities of different parties when using their personal data.

With the planning for the implementation of GDPR and the mandatory changes in the use of data it will bring for Government departments, large corporations, SMEs, the self-employed, schools, charities, clubs and societies, perhaps it is also the opportunity to kick-start a debate over a digital charter and social contracts to which everyone can sign up, to ensure a common ethical purpose across all society for the use of data, to both protect and enable the digital citizen.

To find out more about our Thought Leadership Consultation Report and our Thought Leadership Programme, please visit the Programme’s page on our website.

John Godwin’s Twitter feed regularly features commentary and updates on GDPR matters. The account to follow is: @johngodwin1

To download the ICO 12-step checklist to prepare for GDPR, please click here.

Ci launches Thought Leadership Reports at House of Lords

On October 13th 2016, Ci was proud to launch our Thought Leadership Reports for 2016 at a packed House of Lords reception with over 150 guests representing academia, industry, Government and non-government organisations.

Lord Crisp, in welcoming people said that, “this launch shines a light on the benefits and challenges of our connected society” and he recognised the need “for a concerted effort around data privacy and digital inclusion to ensure solutions best serve the public good”.

Our Thought Leadership Reports for 2016 cover Digital Health, Cyber & Resilience, Digital Living and Trust & Ethics and were written after our Thought Leadership Consultations at St George’s House at Windsor Castle.

Jeffrey Thomas, the Founding Chairman of the Corsham Institute, thanked all the participants for engaging in such challenging & insightful debates that had, “created the impetus to address vital issues that the growth of digital accelerates”.

“We need a new framework”, he said, “which we are calling a ‘Digital Charter’, which will outline in clear, accessible language the role and responsibilities that we all have, as citizens and organisations, both in the public and private sector, to support an inclusive, safe and trusted digital world.”

Part of the work to develop a Digital Charter is a call for businesses, Government, organisations, as well as individuals, to find stronger and shared models of ethical behaviour, providing clear guidance on how to behave appropriately in the digital age.

At the Launch, Hans Pung, the President of Ci’s Thought Leadership Programme partner Rand Europe, said that, “the Programme has examined a number of crucial dimensions of our connected society”, and that “digital challenges are not just technical, they affect our social norms, ways of governance and ethical frameworks”.

All of the reports, together with a Key Findings Report summarising the 2016 Programme, are available to download from the Thought Leadership page of our website, together with details of our Programme for 2017.

170 million years of history!

We love a challenge at Ci and so over the Summer we asked our Creative and Digital Media Apprentices to work on telling the story of Corsham’s history, only covering we suggested, the last 170 million years or so!

The resulting multimedia exhibition; Tablet to Tablet, Corsham’s Journey from the Jurassic to the Digital Age, which our Apprentices have researched, written, designed and curated, is open to the public for a week from October 17th 2016.

Featuring over 100 images in 9 different spaces around the Ci Courtyard campus the exhibition also features artefacts from Corsham’s stone mining heritage and the oldest object that exists in Corsham, an 80,000-year-old bison bone.

Corsham’s history in communications and stone mining made possible its digital infrastructure today and the exhibition tells the story of the ground-breaking Box Tunnel, which in 1841 when it opened was the longest tunnel in the UK, to the growth of the Bath Stone mining industry. From some of the mines, during the first and second World Wars, being used as stores for thousands of tons of munitions, to the development during the Cold War of the highly secret alternative seat of Government under Corsham, with capacity for 4,000 civil servants and the communications infrastructure to resurrect the country after a nuclear attack.

Local artists, art groups and history societies have been involved and many local, personal archives been accessed and filming has been done underground in Corsham’s only working stone mine to bring the story up to date.

‘Tablet to Tablet’, provides a unique glimpse of the heritage that has enabled Corsham to develop into one of the most connected communities in the UK that has laid the foundations for the work of the Corsham Institute.

Our Creative and Digital Media Apprenticeships are a part of Ci’s commitment to Digital Communities. They are a rolling 18-month programme of full time work and training under the auspices of Cirencester College and they work to deliver content for our digital media channels. Future Apprentices will work on extending the scope of this exhibition, as well as digitising it, so it can be made available to the people of Corsham as a community asset.

Ci plays its part for a better and safer Internet!

This year's Safer Internet Day has the theme of ‘Play your part for a better internet’ and Corsham Institute (Ci) has been playing its part as well!

Coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre the celebration sees hundreds of organisations get involved to help promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people. (

Globally, Safer Internet Day is celebrated in over a hundred countries, coordinated by the joint Insafe/INHOPE network, with the support of the European Commission, and national Safer Internet Centres across Europe.

Safer Internet Day offers the opportunity to highlight positive uses of technology and to explore the role we all play in helping to create a better and safer online community.

Ci’s Digital Corsham initiative has been working with pupils and staff at a local primary school to develop a video about the safer use of the Internet that is being made available to local schools across our Digital Community programme.

Called ‘Cassie’s Online Story’, it features a primary school age character filmed in stop frame animation, who sets up an online social media account without their parent’s permission and is then subject to cyber-bullying. The video is packed with practical tips and advice from school pupils to stay safe online.

The video is backed by a second video aimed at parents outlining how important the subject of a Safer Internet is. The videos will be premiered today in front of pupils and parents, and can be watched below.

The videos were developed, filmed and edited by Ci’s Creative Digital and Media Apprentices.

Cassie’s Online Story

This e-Safety video is a joint project between the Corsham Regis Primary Academy, the Corsham Institute, Digital Corsham and Corsham TV. It was inspired and produced with the School’s Year 6 Pupil Leadership Team for Safer Internet Day.

Watch the video here:

E-Safety Guide for Parents

This video is a guide to parents about e-Safety and is the companion video to the pupil-focused video ‘Cassie’s Online Story’. It was produced for Corsham Regis Primary Academy for Safer Internet Day by the Corsham Institute, Digital Corsham and Corsham TV.

Watch the video here:

To find out more about Ci’s Digital Communities Programme please email or tweet us @digital_corsham.

To view our community digital television channel Corsham TV please visit and follow @CorshamTV.

Digital Solutions: a citizen centric approach

Last Friday (22/1/16) saw an exciting announcement for the Corsham Institute (Ci) at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The public unveiling of a new collaborative Test Bed that is a great example of the citizen centric work that Ci is doing in the Research and Innovation arena.

The Davos announcement saw NHS England Chief Executive, Simon Stevens, confirming details of the first wave of the NHS Test Bed programme.

In doing so he said:

“Over the next decade major health gains won’t just come from a few ‘miracle cures’, but also from combining diverse breakthroughs in fields such as biosensors, medtech and drug discovery, mobile communications, and AI computing.

Our new NHS Test Beds programme aims to cut through the hype and test the practical benefits for patients when we bring together some of these most promising technologies in receptive environments inside the world’s largest public, integrated health service.”

In partnership with Ci and other organisations in the West of England, the Diabetes Digital Coach Programme is a Test Bed led by the West of England Academic Health Science Network (WEAHSN). It means that people with diabetes will be among the first to benefit from a major new drive to modernise how the NHS delivers care.

Following the announcement, Ci director, Jeffrey Thomas said:

“The potential of digital technologies to transform the provision of healthcare, in particular, patient led care for chronic illness is significant. The Corsham Institute is delighted to be part of a talented consortium in testing and developing the Diabetes Digital Coach programme.

By providing the NHS and our fellow partners with a trusted, secure and agnostic environment to house data and develop consent driven applications, we are delighted to be helping to create solutions and analytics that add significant value to patients, clinicians and researchers alike.”

The Diabetes Digital Coach Test Bed will bring together mobile health self-management tools, such as wearable sensors and supporting software, with the Internet of Things (IoT). It will enable people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes to ‘do the right thing at the right time’, to partly self-manage their condition and will encourage more timely and appropriate interventions from peers, healthcare professionals, carers and social networks.

The Test Bed is part of an integrated £40 million, three-year Central Government programme, in collaboration with Innovate UK, that seeks to advance the UK’s global leadership in IoT and increase the adoption of high quality IoT technologies and services throughout the public sector for the benefit of everyone who uses them.

As essential and welcome as these new Test Beds are to the Health Sector, digital innovation reaches into every corner of society and Ci is also enabling Research and Innovation programmes across many other areas including education and learning, public service transformation, smart living and communities.

Ci connects people, academia, government and the not for profit sector in ‘Digital Collaboratories’ that provide an environment where people can research, innovate and implement digital products and services in a secure, non-competitive ‘white-space’ that allows capacities to be built and essential connections made.

In whatever field Ci is working; ethics, privacy and trust are intrinsic to our Programmes and from conception through to market testing we are centered on digital citizens and the future of the digital society. We believe that the next decade is not simply about infrastructure and technology, it is about digital behaviour, engagement and creativity to help people and communities meet the digital challenges we all increasingly face.

As Ci builds further unique collaborations and test beds, of which the Diabetes Digital Coach for the NHS is the latest exciting example, we will continue to seek partners across all sectors to build digital activity, to enable people to lead healthier, better and safer lives through secure and trusted solutions.

To find out more about Research and Innovation at Ci, please get in touch with us at

George Freeman –Minister for Life Sciences - talks about NHS Test Beds on BBC Radio Five Live

Transcript of George Freeman, Minister for Life Sciences, on BBC Radio Five Live with Peter Allen 22/1/16 at 11:09 @Freeman_George

“There are some very exciting technologies out there that haven’t yet really been used in Health Care – whether it’s digital apps on your phone for monitoring disease, for empowering patients to hook up with other sufferers, hospitals using wireless diagnostics and wireless telemetry to monitor babies, whether it’s tele-care.

There is some wonderful technology out there that will help us improve health care and improve the patient experience – less journeys to the GP and hospital, less queues, more time at home and it improves productivity for the Health Care system…

For example, I went recently to see a pilot we’ve got with the McLaren Formula One team and the Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where children who have had cardiac operations are now being monitored using McLaren’s Formula One telemetry, so that they don’t have to wear devices or wires – the toddlers can walk around and the nurses have 24/7 Formula One level data streams so that any problem with the child is immediately picked up.

We’re doing a similar pilot on the A&E at John Radcliffe Hospital to help the A&E team to work more like a Formula One pit team and be more efficient – this is about using technology to help our health service and to promote NHS leadership in technology.

We’re announcing today the Test Beds scheme in 7 areas - we said we’re prepared to allow companies and innovators, people with technology, to come into bits of our Health Service – we’re not paying for the technology – we’re helping them to come into the system and they can show us how their technology can help patients, help doctors deliver outcomes and help our health service improve efficiency – we’re getting access to this technology free of charge as part of these test beds.

If as we believe will happen, this technology helps us to improve outcomes and reduce costs, then we’ll be in a position to have a conversation about sharing some of those proceeds with the innovators.

This is a ground breaking announcement, that we’re really prepared to bring front line technology to the NHS.”

Ci partner in major new NHS Testbed for West of England

Patients in the West of England will be among the first to benefit from a major new drive to modernise how the NHS delivers care, as announced today (Friday 22 January) by NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The West of England Academic Health Science Network will be leading the way in NHS innovation as part of a pioneering ‘Test Bed’ with partners including the regional healthcare community, Corsham Institute, Diabetes UK, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Ki Performance, LeLan and SocialDiabetes, R-Outcomes, Soupdragon Resources and HEOR.

As part of the ‘Diabetes Digital Coach’ Test Bed, people with diabetes and frontline health and care workers across the West (with a population size of 2.4 million) will pioneer and evaluate opportunities to work with the ‘Internet of Things’ through using remote monitoring and coaching technology for better self-management.

The programme, along with six others from around the country, will be unveiled by NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens as part of the first wave of NHS Innovation Test Beds; collaborations between the NHS and innovators that aim to harness technology to address some of the most complex issues facing our population and the health service.

Successful innovations will then be available for other parts of the country to adopt and adapt to the particular needs of their local populations.

The Diabetes Digital Coach programme will bring together mobile health self-management tools (such as wearable sensors and supporting software) with the Internet of Things (IoT). The Test Bed will enable people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes to ‘do the right thing at the right time’ to self-manage their condition, and will encourage more timely and appropriate interventions from peers, healthcare professionals, carers and social networks.

This IoT Test Bed is part of an integrated £40 million, three-year Government programme in collaboration with Innovate UK that seeks to advance the UK’s global leadership in IoT and increase adoption of high quality IoT technologies and services throughout businesses and the public sector.

Co-developing the future with patients and leading technology providers

Director of Corsham Institute, Jeffrey Thomas said:

The potential of digital technologies to transform the provision of healthcare, in particular, patient led care for chronic illness is significant. The Corsham Institute is delighted to be part of a talented consortium in testing and developing the Diabetes Digital Coach programme. By providing the NHS and our fellow partners with a trusted, secure and agnostic environment to house data and develop consent driven applications, we are delighted to be helping to create solutions and analytics that add significant value to patients, clinicians and researchers alike.

Lars Sundstrom, Director of Enterprise at the West of England AHSN, said: “I am really delighted that we have been chosen as an Internet of Things Test Bed site to pioneer the next generation of connected self-management tools for people to better manage long-term conditions. This is a great example of how the NHS and the Department for Health with Innovate UK are leading the way in co-developing the future with patients and leading technology providers for the benefit of all.

Sandra Tweddell from Bristol has lived with Type 1 diabetes since 1961. She is coordinator of the Bristol Diabetes Support Network and has been involved in the design of the Diabetes Digital Coach programme.

Sandra says: “I am so excited by the news about Diabetes Digital Coach being announced as an NHS Test Bed. In the absence of a cure for diabetes, technology offers a way of giving immediate information about your diabetes control so you can manage it better and prevent or delay the complications that can go with the condition.

Technology can be used to enable true partnership between the GP, consultant or practice nurse and the person with diabetes. Diabetes Digital Coach is a really exciting initiative as, if successful, it will enable more people to better manage their diabetes, hopefully reducing the awful complications that go with the condition.”

Cutting through the hype

NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens said: “Over the next decade major health gains won’t just come from a few ‘miracle cures’, but also from combining diverse breakthroughs in fields such as biosensors, medtech and drug discovery, mobile communications, and AI computing.

Our new NHS Test Beds programme aims to cut through the hype and test the practical benefits for patients when we bring together some of these most promising technologies in receptive environments inside the world’s largest public, integrated health service.”

The Diabetes Digital Coach programme in the West of England will work with a number of SME partners, who have responded warmly to today’s Test Bed announcement:

The Diabetes Digital Coach partnership

There are a number of partners involved in the Diabetes Digital Coach Internet of Things Test Bed, with the West of England ASHN as lead organisation.

The partnership also includes two charities, 10 companies, seven Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), two acute providers, and three community providers.

Corsham Institute
Diabetes UK
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)
Ki Performance
LeLan / SocialDiabetes
Soupdragon Resources
All seven Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in the West of England (Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, Gloucestershire, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Swindon, Wiltshire)
Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust
North Bristol NHS Trust
Sirona Care and Health
Bristol Community Health
NHS England Test Beds

A joint programme between NHS England, the Office for Life Science, the Department of Health and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, NHS Test Beds bring together local health and social care bodies including CCGs, hospital trusts, primary and community care providers with a wide range of innovators from home and abroad.

Each Test Bed will use a different combination of innovations, from both large and small organisations, to address a locally-identified clinical challenge.  The changes made will be rigorously evaluated, with the aim to provide evidence, which will give more areas the confidence to adopt the innovations over the coming years.

Test beds are a key strand of the NHS Five Year Forward View, and will help realise the ambition of reforming the NHS so that it is fit to face the challenges of the 21st Century – particularly an ageing population and an increase in patients with long-term health conditions – while remaining financially sustainable.

The NHS has a track record of being open to new ideas and technology – they’re being implemented all the time. Where progress has been slower is in combining innovations, in a whole-system way, so that their impact is bigger than the sum of their parts – the ‘test beds’ programme will change that.

Corsham TV is 1 year old!

Launched in January 2015, Corsham’s own local digital tv channel Corsham Television is now one year old.

It has already produced over 110 timely and relevant video stories about Corsham and the surrounding area, interviewed 91 people and its videos have been streamed for viewing over 20,000 times, all via the Corsham TV website

Our local digital television channel is modelled on the mainstream TV catch-up services and is available anywhere 24/7, with videos viewed in themed playlists.

Corsham TV is part of the Digital Corsham initiative, set up and funded by the not-for-profit research charity, Corsham Institute.

Corsham TV supports community groups and events, local businesses and local people who have a story to tell, as well as conducting regular interviews with local MPs and both Wiltshire and Town Councillors.

Its first success was its local coverage of the General Election in May 2015 where it covered local hustings, streamed the results live and had the first video interview with the new MP, Michelle Donelan.

Later this year with its local community radio station partner, KIK RADIO, it will begin to stream live Wiltshire Council’s Corsham Area Board and the Corsham Town Council meetings to open them up to a wider digital online audience.

In the run up to Christmas the series of videos ’12 Days of a Corsham Christmas’ attracted record audiences and featured many community groups and local businesses, including the children of Corsham Primary School singing festive songs, with excerpts from their Nativity Plays.

The Chair of Corsham Town Council, Ruth Hopkinson, reflecting on the first year of Corsham TV told us;

“Corsham TV;

- has given the residents of Corsham the opportunity to find out what is actually going on in the town,

- has shown Corsham off to its best advantage,

- is a great showpiece for all that is good in the town;

- has given the opportunity for local people to have their say;

- makes people feel good about the town they live in. It turned negative publicity into positive.”

Corsham TV engages with the community on social media and through regular public events in the town and surrounding areas.

It can be viewed at, on Twitter @CorshamTV and on Facebook/CorshamTelevision.