If you are self-employed, it’s a struggle to move to a new town (or to an old one) and quickly establish a social and professional network . I’d recommend scouring the web for networking groups and ‘fling yourself in’. Here are some of the lists and gatherings I’ve joined or have been recommended to expedite the process of settling and establishing myself in Cambridge:
- Cambridge Network
- Aims to connect people from business and the university in technology fields. A information hub for people in the Cambridge region. The site’s been around for 10 years, and not had a whole lot of usability/QA love. The job search has been broken for at least the last 3 months, probably longer.
- Cambridge Usability Group
Usability and information architecture. The site is not kept up to date, might be taking a break for the summer.
Designers, artists, illustrators, filmmakers, musicians. Monthly meeting, many subjects, well attended.
- Cambridge Geek Night
Some talks under 15 mins each, diverse topics of a techie flavour, in a room above the Maypole pub. I have to work hard not to call it “Cambridge Gee Knight”. Really fun, lively group, with drinking.
Digital creative types in Cambridge. Not been to a meeting yet, but heard there are talks. Well thought of, met Fran the other week who was awesome.
- Open Coffee
Entrepreneurs and start-up people. Informal meetup in a coffee shop every Wednesday or Wednesday at 10am. Different every time.
- Refresh Cambridge
Web professionals. Lively email list and twitter – range of tech help requests and advice, events, jobs, some cross-posts from other lists. Monthly talks/meeting at Anglia Ruskin, and drink in the pub. I went to this last night, it was great!
Social networking business people. Meets every Monday – haven’t attended yet.
Non-professional networking and events
- Arts Picture House Bar Events
Not helpful website, but there’s a chalkboard in the bar for upcoming events. Free, well attended screenings and late night performances – including the monthly Freaky Flicks with the Man from Uranus, and Fuzzy Lights awesome electro-string accompaniment for La Jetee
- Cambridge Open Studios
A seasonal opportunity! Artists in the Cambridge area open their doors to random gawkers and potential purchasers.
- Cambridge University Events
Talks and other events open to the public as well as university types
- Kettles Yard
Local gallery that hosts concerts and exhibitions. Have not been to any events yet
- We’re All Neighbours
Local events listings and free-form chats. Lots of repetition and rubbish on the events calendar, but generally lots of fun. Good if you are into live music and random chatter.
That’s what I have so far. Please add a comment if you can recommend others.