BrisTech  is a group of technically minded people who meet once a month at the Engine Shed in Bristol for informative talks about new and interesting things in the software arena. The format is usually kept the same: two 30-minute talks, with plenty of time for questions afterwards, followed by pizza and beer.

This year in addition to the monthly meet-up they are also planning a one-day tech Bristech Conference created for developers by developers and are looking for guest speakers, ideally drawn from the local scene.

“We are looking for speakers who can offer insight into modern software development practices as well as highlight interesting angles on known or emerging technologies”


Nicholas-Hemley-bristechWe caught up with organiser Nicholas Hemley (pictured left) to find out more about the conference and the ideal speakers for it. He tells us: “The speakers will need to reflect the expectations of the audience, who will most likely be a mix of experienced professionals, students and technophiles. The strapline for the conference is “Are you a polyglot, professional or simply tech curious?” and this underlines its broad ranging appeal.

“So we are looking for speakers who can offer insight into modern software development practices as well as highlight interesting angles on known or emerging technologies. Ideally the speakers are locally based and active in the tech scene here in Bristol. By keeping this focus, we hope that the conference can retain the unique flavour of the city and thus differentiate itself from other conferences.” You can see the speakers already lined up at the Bristech Conference site and if you are interested in applying to be a speaker yourself you need to do so before 15 July.

From event to conference

So how did the conference come about? Nick explains: “The conference was spawned from the eponymous monthly meet-up that has been running for around 21 months and has enjoyed speakers on a huge variety of different software-related topics.”

bristech engine shed

Techtastic: The June BrisTech event at the Engine Shed

Nic adds: “Having been attendees at many of the local conference events, such as WebDevConf and DDDSW, we wondered whether the generalist nature of the meet-up would translate well into an annual event; the two types of event (i.e. monthly and annual) are complimentary and mutually reinforcing, with free events throughout the year and one paid event in the autumn.”

“When we first announced the conference, the response from the existing meet-up members was overwhelmingly positive”


And it seems that when the idea was floated people were very keen: “When we first announced the conference,” says Nic, “the response from the existing meet-up members was overwhelmingly positive since there is no “general purpose” tech conference in Bristol as such.”

“However,” says Nic, “the greatest strength of the conference is also its greatest weakness – as a general software development event it could be criticised for a lack of focus, but that is exactly what makes it such a melting pot: we are drawing on speakers across the whole software dev landscape – UX, platforms, languages and other “curiosities”.

South West focus

And Nic is keen to keep the conference local: “As mentioned before, as a general rule we are focused on supporting local speakers and local small to medium-sized companies, so will be very careful to give precedence to people who are based in and around the South West, with a sprinkling of people from further afield. Certainly, with Bristol as an emerging tech cluster, there are a number of exciting industry players who have set up shop in the city and so we can capitalise on this talent in our speaker pool, both for the meet-up and the annual event.”

To see more about the conference, apply to be a speaker or get in early and buy tickets (£50) see the Bristech Conference 2015 website. You can see more on Bristech and its events at the Bristech Meetup site. Also don’t miss tomorrow’s Bristech talk on both VR: A new world with new challenges with Dan Page, and Soft Skills from Sean O’Neill and Lukas Roper.

Jamie Middleton