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Marlowe Theatre and Ashford Picturehouse to host workshops organised by University of Kent

By Chris Britcher

Independent retailers should harness the opportunities presented by artificial intelligence, according to experts.

That will be the centrepiece of discussions at workshops designed to show independents how harnessing the latest technological advances and data analysis can boost their bottom line.

The events are being staged by the University of Kent in collaboration with Canterbury and Ashford councils.

The studio space at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury will host one of the workshops
The studio space at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury will host one of the workshops

Dr James Bentham, lecturer in statistics, from the university’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science (SMSAS) will talk about how artificial intelligence (AI) and data analysis can work in practice for independent retailers at two early evening workshops taking place in the two districts.

Speaking at the events will be Denise Brown, of Molly Moon Ice Cream in Seattle, who will explain how she used data and AI to help transform her business.

Co-organiser Carole Barron at the university said: "These workshops offer invaluable expertise and ideas for retailers to survive the constant threats to their businesses.

Ashford Picturehouse will host the other workshop
Ashford Picturehouse will host the other workshop

"Our high street shops, especially smaller independent shops, as well as cafes and restaurants have struggled in recent years to compete with the rise of online shopping. The recent demise of Debenhams and Patisserie Valerie shows that no retailer is immune from changing consumer buying habits.’

Places are limited and are by ticket only.

The first takes place at the Marlowe Theatre Studio in Canterbury on Tuesday, April 30, between 6-8pm.

The second at the Picturehouse in Elwick Road, Ashford, on Wednesday, May 1, between the same times.

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