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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 Brian Parry, our Director of Strategy and Thought Leadership, on

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IMG_6776 Corsham TV


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:

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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 on Trust and Ethics and to be able to download it, click here, and for more information on our Thought Leadership Programme and to be able to download our Key Findings Report, please use this link.

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.

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On October 13th 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.


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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.

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.

For more information, or if you’d like to visit the exhibition, please email