Michael Blackman, 64, father of 5 children. He was born in Georgetown, Guyana (South America) and moved to London when he was 6 years old. He lives between Barcelona and Munich, where he works as the Managing Director of Integrated Systems Events (ISE) and all its’ subsidiaries (USA, Netherlands, UK, Germany, Spain) since 2003. He is also the spokesperson for the organization and represents the company officially at all levels.
ISE is the largest Audio-Visual show in the World. Leading up to the event the amount of people working to make it happen grows to hundreds. We also organize some smaller conference events including the Digital Signage Summit Europe in Munich annually.
Why did you choose Barcelona?
The first ISE took place in Geneva in 2004 and then moved to Amsterdam (in 2006 we had 1 year in Brussels). The exhibition outgrew the Amsterdam Rai venue and stretched the city’ hotel capacity. In 2018 seeing that we needed a larger location we started our search and considered almost many of the key cities in Europe. We eventually chose Barcelona as host for ISE not only for the excellent Fira Barcelona Gran Via venue but also for the ample hotel capacity. That is why I am commuting to Barcelona regularly for the past 3 years.
What aspects of the city would you highlight as being positive?
Most of all we chose Barcelona for its culture, ambience, and hospitality. After 2 very successful editions of ISE in Barcelona the attendee reaction has proven that it was the correct choice. Furthermore, with the city’s development as a hub for Audio-Visual enterprises, Barcelona is really suited to the event. ISE is committed to the city for at least the next 3 years and longer if the city continues to live up to experience it has provided so far.
From a personal point of view, I enjoy the culture, the abundance of good restaurants and high quality of life. But most of all, being a motorcyclist, I value the unique versatility of this metropole that offers countryside, mountains, and beaches all within less than an hours’ ride.
What aspects of the city must be improved? How?
The only negative has been the numerous robberies that some of our attendees have experienced. We hope that this situation improves over the coming years and that security becomes an important pillar for the city.
What do you expect from Barcelona in the coming years?
I feel privileged to be able to live and work here, but also of being in a position to partly contribute to its future. Seeing the City’s focus to being a major ‘Tech Hub’ makes my job even easier. The Public-Private partnership that the city enjoys to further its goals is unique and experiencing this growth in the future will be great.
Which city do you feel as «your city»? What do you miss the most?
I have only really lived in 4 cities in my life Georgetown (where I was born) I do not have many memories as a child there but did visit again 5 & 10 years ago. As much as it is part of my heritage, I could not live there again. I spent part of the longest time of my life living in and around London and have many fond memories. I do miss the theaters. Munich has been a great place to live and feel very lucky and privileged to enjoy the best of both Munich and Barcelona simultaneously. Both offer a great but different lifestyle. The plus points of both cities are not really comparable, (although the food in Barcelona is better). I believe that I am a citizen of both Barcelona & Munich.
If you are an expatriate living in the city and want to help improve Barcelona to attract more high-impact talent, you can complete the survey here: https://barcelonaglobal.civi-go.net/en/6th_international_talent_monitor