My Work at MediaCity: Ann Darby, director of strategic partnerships at The Landing

This is the third in our regular series of interviews called My Work at MediaCity. This time we speak to Ann Darby, director of strategic partnerships at The Landing.

1. Describe your typical working day at MediaCityUK.

Every morning begins with a review of the day’s meetings and events with the team from our media lounge, On The 7th. After that, anything can happen! Frequently I have meetings with our partner organisations, international visitors, government officials and follow up new business leads with our specialist operators.

Ann_048 (3)2. What is the nature of your role with The Landing?

Primarily, I identify opportunities and relationships that will support the small creative and digital businesses in the region, setting up partnerships or organising events that will allow them to reap the benefits. Alongside that I manage our marketing and communications, and also clients and internal projects.

3. It’s now just over a year since The Landing launched. Can you give us an update on current occupancy rates?

We are 100% full! We are constantly ‘finding’ new space to meet the demand for hot desks, and we’re about to move our management office for the second time to make room for more.

4. Can you give us a flavour of the kinds of companies based at The Landing?

Our tenants are small to medium creative and digital companies. We have a strong tech focus given the lab and studio facilities we have on site. The businesses here work on an interesting and broad range of technology, including visual effects, games, digital health, 4D interactive and digital publishing.

5. Why should an SME or freelancer choose The Landing over, say, one of the many work spaces in Manchester city centre?

What we offer is unique to Manchester. High value but affordable work space, post-production, workflow and UX labs, as well as an impressive bar lounge with screening and conference rooms for showcasing work – all under one roof.

6. What’s your overall view on the impact that MediaCityUK has had and is having on the North?

MediaCityUK has already become an integral part of Greater Manchester’s enormous capacity in media content production and digital communications technology. With a unified approach, there is serious potential for transformation and economic impact in areas such as health, retail and financial services.

7. What are your favourite aspects about the MediaCityUK site itself?

Salford Quays is a very picturesque area, which I’m reminded of cycling into work on sunny days. Also, having most of our clients and partners on our doorstep makes everything so convenient and efficient.

8. Can you pinpoint any ways in which MediaCityUK needs to improve?

I think the social aspects are already starting to improve. The Dockyard pub recently opened to give people a new option for an after-work drink, and Peel does a lot to promote activities for people who work on site to get involved in. It helps to create more of a community at MediaCityUK, and of course it builds relationships that are a key part of doing business.

9. What’s been your favourite or most memorable experience at MediaCityUK so far?

My first dinner at Damson was the best food I’ve had in Manchester. Fine dining while overlooking the filming of one of Gok Wan’s live makeover shows was a surreal moment.

10. How do you see the future for The Landing at MediaCityUK – any plans in the pipeline?

We have some very exciting plans for events in the works for 2014, especially around gaming and specialist skills bootcamps.

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