Talks and hosting

Festival of Ideas: Leila JohnstonI frequently give talks about all sorts of things. I love hosting things for other people, too. Get in touch if you’d like me to contribute to your event in some way.

 

Hosting events for other people
I’ve hosted and supplied media for numerous events and clients, including the R3PLAY retrogamer event, The Story 2016, and ‘Horizons’ – Imperica’s 30th Birthday event for the ZX Spectrum. I hosted the computer art pioneers event Making Art by Writing Code for the Site Gallery in 2013. I hosted the talks stage for the 2016 Dublin Maker Faire. I’ve also hosted a podcast for The Guardian, and was ‘In conversation with’ Richard Dawkins at the Lowry, in September 2015.

Talks about my own work
I’ve spoken extensively about my work and projects, and read from my books. Credits include TEDx Sheffield and TEDx Brighton, New Scientist Live, Ada Lovelace Day, Playful, Interesting, Improving Reality, Sanctuary, Wuthering Bytes, Boring, The RCA, Oxwords, the BBC Women’s Group, The RiscOS User Group of London, the Digital R&D Fund sharing day, the Radio Festival at the Lowry, Creative Labs at the Hepworth, Fun Palaces in Sheffield, Nerdnite London, Women of Steel, Ladies, Wine and Design, and Future Everything in Manchester.

My own events
Most significantly, since 2013 I have produced six immersive, sell-out events bringing together art, tech and science playfully with experts and entertainment, as part of my Hack Circus project. We have sent audiences into space, showed them time machines and artificial intelligence, and left them at the bottom of erupting volcanoes.

Prior to this I also created:

  • Three panel conferences, hosted with Sara Williams, Storywarp 1, 2 & 3 (2011).
  • My own production – two apocalypse-themed afternoon conferences called The Event (Feb 12th & 19th 2012)
  • Shift Run Stop – a long-running iTunes-charting podcast created with Roo Reynolds. Our live events included a live recording at the Playful conference and a 50th episode party. We were in the Guardian’s podcast picks and interviewed on Resonance FM.

Sci-fi and hacking, comedy talks
From time to time, I do spontaneous talks not really linked to any other projects. These have included:

‘Do Humans Dream of Real Sheep?’ (short talk about A.I. for An Evening of Unnecessary Detail, for the Festival of the Spoken Nerd)

‘Dear Star Trek, I have some questions’ (Helen Keen’s Spacetacular, The Royal Institution, and various Helen Arney events).

‘Flowers for Alderaan’ (Helen Keen’s Spacetacular)

‘Terminator, how worried should we be?’ (Different versions for Hack Circus, Nixon McInnes, Nerd Nite London, An Evening of Unnecessary Detail, and Brandwatch).

Making Things Fast
This talk about how to get out of a creative rut and get stuff done has been one of my most requested. I’ve done this at Hachette UK, The Brighton Mini Maker Faire, (“Making Things Fast”) (September 2012), The Monday Club and The Assembly (November 2012), REACT’s ‘Books & Print’ Sandbox launch at Watershed (February 2013), the Writing Platform conference, Ignite London, the Oxford Geek Night & lots of other places.

Workshops
I host or get involved with workshops on occasion. I gave an ‘Introduction to Arduino’ at Caper’s ‘Culture Hack: the Inventive City’ at the Google Campus, and demonstrated some of my tech at the International Women’s Day showcase in London in 2013. I held a two-day workshop on creativity and subverting the city at Berlin’s School of Machines, Magic and Make-believe (2015). I’ve made stuff live with the public at various Maker Faires, including London’s and Dublin’s, and organised a magic show and making workshop for a community in Leeds in 2015. I ran a robots and LED puppets workshop for the Helsinki museums ‘Family Day’, in October 2016.

 

Ignite London (2010):

The Event (2012):

TEDx Sheffield (2012):

Hack Circus Time Travel Live (2013):