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Future Everything 2011 – Manchester

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Future everything

An award winning global festival of art, music & ideas taking place on 11-14 May 2011 in Manchester, England. World premieres of astonishing artworks, an explosive citywide music programme, visionary thinkers from around the world and awards for outstanding innovations.


Technology is not what it used to be. Digital culture is expanding at a ferocious pace, allowing us to engage with our surroundings in innovative new ways. The FutureEverything Conference continues to foreground the most prominant discussions and developments from some of the most visionary and forward thinking speakers.

Featured speakers include Meg Pickard, Juha van ‘t Zelfde, James Bridle, Kars Alfrink, Sue Thomas, Chris Taggart and Chris Speed.


Presenting the most innovative contemporary art and design. A telescope set high above the city invites you, alone, to pry the street where a secret cinematic plot is unfolding in a world premier from Me and The Machine. Main exhibiton The Data Dimension, features artists exploring the flourishing field of data visualisation. We will also be screening an exclusive preview of Kevin MacDonalds 'YouTube movie" Life in A Day at the Cornerhouse cinema.

Our Handmade strand will take place at Victoria Baths and involves a day of contemporary craft. digital hacking, interactivities and DIY culture. This is an all-new forum for Crafters, Hackers and Digital Innovators to share ideas and practice, led by some of the UK’s leading digital crafters.

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‘The City as an Algorithm’ | ‘The Internet of things that don’t exist’ | ‘Emotional Computing’

Future Everything 2011 brings the future into the present through society, music, art and ideas. Arriving in Manchester in May for its sixteenth year, FutureEverything is the essential place to find out what’s on the horizon in creative new technologies.

The FutureEverything conference leads our Ideas strand, where visionary speakers explore the interface between technology, society and culture. Among the topics for 2011 we ask what open data means for journalism, why games create new digital ideas, and how participative media is spurring community engagement.

The Music strand profiles musical pioneers and ground-breaking talent, with gigs across the city and a festival-long music hub at the Umbro Design Space in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

The Art programme features world premieres and urban interventions, including new work by Me and The Machine, twisted transport courtesy of Agents of Change, creative hacking in our ‘Handmade’ sessions and much more. All FutureEverything 2011 Art Exhibitions and Events are FREE to attend.

Simply email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the discount code and secure your pass with a 10% discount applied from a limited allocation for Public Networks subscribers.

An expanded preview of the festival and narrative can be found in this pdf

“crammed with geek cool” The Guardian

Keynote Speakers

Speaker Panels, Lectures and Workshops

Challenging Openness

‘Challenging Openness’ is a panel dedicated to society and public service strategy moderated by Prof. Keri Facer who is future education specialist and ex lead researcher for ThinkLab and FutureLab.

Andrew Stott recently retired from the post of the Director of Digital Engagement for the UK Government. He was responsible for the Government’s online strategy and brought in the Power of Information initiative, and the government’s transparency agenda.

Theresa Grant is the Deputy Chief Executive of Trafford Council and is an advocate of the benefits Open Data can bring to Greater Manchester. Theresa will present the DataGM project that Trafford Council partner on –

Dave Carter is the Director of MDDA and has overseen some major digital infrastructure projects in Manchester

Tim Davies is a researcher and wrote the first piece of research into Open Data and its impact within the UK.

Open Transport

Technology and Travel

Journalism and Open Data

From Public Data Stores to Freedom of Information Act, what are the implications of accessible data for investigative journalism?   A must for anyone working in media or wanting to know more about future directions in digital journalism, this debate brings together a distinguished panel of journalists, information architects and open data pioneers to consider the issues.

In Conversation

  • Meg Pickard Head Of Digital Engagement
  • Dan Catt Programmer

The City as an Algorithm

  • Panel TBC

Open Data Cities

  • Panel TBC

Deshed Session

  • Ian Anderson Artist Media Sand Box
  • Heather Craig Artist Media Sand Box

In Conversation

  • Emilie Grenier Artist Sandbox
  • Duncan Speakerman Artist Sandbox

Emotional Computing

  • Toby Barnes Managing Director MudLark
  • Ben Bashford LBI

Post Craft

  • Sally Fort Freelance Consultant Creative and Educational Industries
  • James Boardwell Design Research Lead Rattle/Folksy
  • Andy Huntington Interaction Designer
  • Michael Eden Practitioner

Zero Latency

  • Led by Manchester Digital

Why Do Geeks Go Camping? FOO And Other Brushes With Nature

Sue Thomas Writer and Professor in New Media De Montford University

Sue Thomas shares some selected tales and speculations from her new book Nature and Cyberspace: Stories, Memes and Metaphors, forthcoming in 2012 from Bloomsbury Academic.

She will connect:

  • Apple trees with wikis
  • Doug Engelbart and Tim O’Reilly by way of gunny sacks and mattress vine.
  • Google OpenSocial with American naturalist John Muir and President Roosevelt
  • Network bandwidth with the Atlantic Ocean
  • Twitter with zillions of tiny rivers
  • Howard Rheingold with all kinds of trees

Sue brings together a complex legacy of thinking and writing about the natural world with contemporary views of computers and the internet drawn from texts, personal interviews, surveys, and of course the web itself. The result is a narrative of the many ways in which people from different countries and cultures use their experiences of nature to situate and comprehend their experiences of cyberspace.

The Internet of things that don’t exist

Chris Speed Reader In Digital Spaces across the Schools of Architecture and Landscape Architecture Edinburgh College of Art

The ‘internet of things’, refers to the technical and cultural shift as society moves to a 24/7 form of computing in which every device is ‘always on’, and every device is connected in some way to the internet. However, many versions of this notion rely upon one significant premise: that the thing remains in existence.

Dr Chris Speed forecasts a near future when digital memories of artefacts remain as the only reference, because that thing has been lost or disposed of. Whilst the realworld artefact has been crushed, burnt or tipped into a landfill, the digital ‘ghost’ has the potential to live on within the networked society – searchable against any other data from the past, present or future.

Chris proposes a social interface to these ghosts; an internet that allows us to connect to things that no longer exist. Of course society already does this for big events that bind social history: war memorials, anniversaries of famous deaths that are manifested through public structures, songs and calendar dates. But for the small artefacts that do not make the national headlines, where and how do we relocate memories that define our relationships with the past?

New Games For New Cities

Kars Alfrink Chief Agent of Hubbub
Against the background hum of continuous technological change, contemporary urban life has undergone lasting and undeniable changes. Our views on public space, civic engagement and what it means to live well in a city have changed accordingly. Various types of organizations seek to influence urban life for the good of society, for their own interest or a combination of both. At the same time, games and play have started to break out of the traditional frame of the video screen. On the one hand, this has given us all kinds of interesting experiments in pervasive, urban and alternate reality gaming. On the other hand, more recently, it has given rise to a program of playful persuasive technology now commonly know asgamification.

In this talk, Kars Alfrink – chief agent of Hubbub, a networked studio for applied pervasive games – will share his vision of what game design can contribute to the improvement of life in our contemporary cities. A vision that breaks from the trappings of gamification on the one hand, and the shortcomings of experimental gamification on the other.

Speaker Profiles

Chris Speed

chris speedDr. Chris Speed is Reader in Digital Spaces across the Schools of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the Edinburgh College of Art, where he teaches undergraduate, masters and supervises PhD students.

Chris investigates the ways in which digital arts and technology can engage with architecture and human geography. Chris is currently working with collaborative GPS technologies and the streaming of social and environmental data. He is the lead academic on a GPS tool for historical maps funded by JISC (the organisation that inspires UK colleges and universities in the innovative use of digital technologies), He is also part of a large UK academic team investigating social memory within the ‘Internet of Things’, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and has co-developed the Comob platform with Jen Southern (independent artist) and colleagues from ECA and Uni Edinburgh.

Chris Taggart

Originally a magazine journalist then later publisher (and occasional geek), Chris Taggart is the founder of OpenlyLocal, which has been opening up local authority data since summer 2009, OpenCharities and the co-founder of OpenCorporates: The Open Database of the Corporate World. He is also on the Government’s Local Public Data Panel.

Martin Belam

martin belamMartin Belam is Lead User Experience & Information Architect at Guardian News & Media, working across the award-winning website and mobile platforms. He has spent a decade building digital media products for global brands like the BBC, Sony and Vodafone, including a three year spell working independently as a consultant based on the island of Crete.

He is a contributing editor to FUMSI magazine, and helps run London IA, a community for information architects and user experience professionals. Martin blogs about user experience, journalism and digital media at

Tom Chatfield

Tom Chatfield is a freelance author, essayist, game writer and theorist; he is the author of “Fun Inc.” a book about the culture of video games and he speaks and consults regularly on technology, media and gaming.

Describing himself as having “a geek-meets-arts background”, Tom is particularly interested in the ways culture and technology interact. Tom has done design, writing and creative consultancy work for a number of games and media companies, including Mind Candy, Grex, Red Glasses and Intervox. His latest project involves writing and design work on The End, a new game for Channel 4 from the award-winning British games company Preloaded. A former arts and books editor at Prospect magazine, Tom also writes widely in the national press, including for the Observer, Independent, Sunday Times, Wired, New Statesman, Evening Standard and Times Literary Supplement.

Tom took his doctorate and taught at St John’s College, Oxford, before moving to London in 2005.

Meg Pickard

Meg Pickard is the Head of Digital Engagement for Guardian News & Media, responsible for developing and supporting existing and new social web strategy and interactive experiences. She comes from a background in social anthropology and in the mid-nineties conducted ethnographic fieldwork into community participation and cultural identity first in Bolivia and subsequently online. Since then, she has worked in New Media including a long stint at AOL, plus consulting roles with a range of small startups, global brands and charities.

Meg’s particular areas of interest are community engagement and the emergence of new forms of collaborative and participatory media, which are inspired by her ongoing curiosity about the cultural, social and psychological aspects of online interaction plus an enduring personal passion for publishing and participating online. She describes herself as a creative geek, is one of the longest-running bloggers in the UK, and lives in London and online.

Paul Bradshaw

Paul BradshawPaul Bradshaw is visiting professor in online journalism at City University London and Course Leader of the MA in Online Journalism at Birmingham City University, which he established in 2009. He has a background in magazine and website management, has contributed to a number of books about journalism and the internet, and regularly speaks on the subjects in the media both in the UK and internationally.

Paul is best known as the publisher of the Online Journalism Blog, described by UK Press Gazette as one of the country’s “most influential journalism blogs” and by the Telegraph’s Shane Richmond as “The UK’s Jeff Jarvis”. He is also the founder of the investigative journalism crowdsourcing site Help Me Investigate, which was shortlisted in 2010 for Multimedia Publisher of the Year.

In 2008 Paul was ranked the UK’s 4th ‘most visible person on the internet’ by NowPublic, and in 2009 ranked 36th in the ‘Birmingham Power 50?. In 2010 he was listed on both’s list of leading innovators in media, and the US Poynter Institute’s list of the 35 most influential people in social media. In 2011 he has been ranked the UK’s 9th most influential UK journalist on Twitter by PeerIndex.

Paul’s ‘Model for the 21st Century Newsroom’ and ‘BASIC Principles of Online Journalism’ series have formed the basis for newsroom operations and journalism education around the world, where they have been translated into a number of languages.

In addition to teaching and writing, Paul acts as a consultant and trainer to a number of organisations on social media and data journalism.

James Bridle

james bridleJames Bridle is a writer, publisher and artist based in London, UK. He investigates the intersections of literature and technology by making things with books and the internet. He has published 18th century erotica, the first book of Twitter and a historiography of Wikipedia, and created quietube, an accidental anti-censorship proxy for the Middle East.

He can be found at

Kars Alfrink

KarsKars is ‘Chief Agent’ of Hubbub, a networked design studio for applied pervasive games. Hubbub works with organizations to create games that take place in public space, engage people physically, and are socially relevant. Amongst other things, these games are used to encourage good citizenship and to facilitate cultural participation.

Besides this, Kars teaches at the Utrecht School of the Arts, where hementors students who are pursuing a master of arts in interaction design or game design & development.

He is also the initiator and co organizer of ‘This Happened’ – Utrecht,a series of lectures dedicated to the stories behind interaction design.

In his spare time, Kars practices a traditional Japanese martial art,and tries to keep up with geek culture.


By Adam Neiman with Lancaster University and Manchester Communication Academy

There are as many cities as there are inhabitants – different people and communities attach different meanings to its buildings and landmarks, have their own meeting places, and map different pathways through it. OurCity will prototype a new way to capture and communicate this multiplicity, through a thousand individual views on city life.

Adam will start by working with the kids from Manchester Communication Academy to co-design a plan or ‘provocation’ for Manchester. This will then be presented to the population of the city and FutureEverything Festival visitors so they can have their say, via web, SMS or mobile app. VoiceYourView software, developed by computer scientists at Lancaster University, will analyse the online chatter to reveal patterns of themes, sentiments and their potential for actions. Groupings will be revealed based on shared views and commitments. A data visualisation and art installation will present the results to policy makers as well as the participants themselves, to feed back into social action.

The art installation will tour to CYNETART later in the year.

Adam Nieman is an artist who works predominantly with science. He is known for the interactive techniques he has developed as a graphic artist specializing in scientific visualisation. He is the Creative Director of Carbon Visuals and also the Creative Director of GovEd Communications.


(Collective Hedonistic Environments Toolkit)
By Intolight

Intolight want to change the relationship between performance and audience, by enabling the audience to use their body movements to play with sound and image. Their current project CHET is a software toolkit for the easy collaborative creation of body-reactive environments at festivals and public events.

After announcing their project at CTM (February, Berlin), intolight will present a two-day public event to field-test the platform at FutureEverything (May, Manchester), and present the complete project at a large-scale public event at CYNETART (November, Dresden).

These multi-author environments work like modular music instruments. People will be able to bring their individual audio and video content and meet for audiovisual jam sessions. With an easy-to-use software patch, interactive sounds and graphics can be created almost instantaneously. Once set up in public spaces, the input of motion-sensing data and other interfaces opens the system to everybody, playing around and getting involved. Club music, soundscapes, real-time 3D graphics and visual effects will change immediately as people walk around or dance and celebrate – all creating one surrounding atmosphere.

Developed by an open source community, the software prototype consists of a sophisticated patch of tracking data, as well as graphic and sound modules. Intolight is a group of musicians, visual media artists and product designers. They have realised a variety of media art projects, ranging from interactive environments to participative performances of contemporary dance and interactive setups for the club dancefloor.

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Read 4072 times Last modified on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 22:38


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