top of page


Alternative You at Nesta's FutureFest 2018

6 – 7 July 2018

London's Tobacco Docks


FutureFest by Nesta, an innovation foundation based in the UK, is one of Europe’s largest festivals of the future, and explores how the most pressing challenges of our time could be tackled by developing radical alternative future visions.

"The fourth edition focussed on the fact that our relationship with the very idea of ‘the future’ is complex and fraught. For many, the forces set to shape our world in the coming years seem invisible and remote; from black box algorithms to hidden influences over the democratic process and the media. The scale of the challenges of our time (inequality, failing democracies, healthcare systems edging towards crisis) calls for bold and radical responses. It is in this spirit that FutureFest 2018 served as a platform for alternative visions of the future." (From public programme, FutureFest 2018)

The 2018 festival included Ruby Wax OBE, Sir Nick Clegg, Paul  Mason, Imogen Heap and Akala among its key speakers.

This festival was co-curated by Ghislaine Boddington, Pat Kane and Nesta’s Futures Team, in collaboration with Nesta’s Communications and Events teams on the marketing, audience pathways, content and promotion.

Ghislaine Boddington was asked to focus on the theme ‘Alternative You’ linked to her expertise work and extensive knowledge on the future human and the shifts in the concept of identity in the 21st century.

See the full programme of FutureFest 2018 here.
For full details on Ghislaine's curation into FutureFest 2018 see below.

23573_BODDINGTON_Futurefest 2018 THE REA


Alternative You – How are we reinventing and editing our identities?


Ghislaine Boddington curated into the 'Alternative You' strand of the 2018 festival. This included programming a range of speakers, installations and debate panels exploring themes linked to the body and data and our emerging digital presence and identity in the world – examining the blending interface between the physical and data self.

Boddington created and curated 4 sub themes for her Alternative You curation and invited main stage speakers, debate speakers and installations to illustrate each of them, waving a journey for the audience between seeing, hearing and experiencing multi-modal inputs on the topics: Virtual Physical Immersion, Machines that Care for Us, Future Humans: Augmented Selves, and Just The Job – vocational callings in a digitalised world.

The Main Stage

  • Douglas Rushkoff (Team Human, USA) - Team Human: Mastering the Digital

  • Proff Noel Sharkey (Emeritus Professor, University of Sheffield, Chair elect, ICRAC) - Sex, race and Gender in Robotics and AI

  • Prof Rebecca Allen (UCLA, USA) - The angel of mind and matter

  • Jude Kelly (Director WOW / South Bank Centre London) and Russ Shaw (Director, Tech London Advocates) - Occupational Futures

  • Kyle McDonald (Interactive media artist, USA) - Weird Intelligence - Reimagining Interaction

  • Imogen Heap (Composer / Musician) - The Creative Passport - Reimagining the Music Industry and Mi.Mu musical gesture gloves demonstration

  • Aral Balkan (Cyborg Rights Activist) - Building the Peoples Internet

Series of Debates on The Debate Stage:

  • Virtual Physical Immersion: Holistic interactions between our physical and data bodies. With panelists: Ghislaine Boddington (body>data>space / University of Greenwich), Kyle McDonald (Interactive media artist, USA), Prof Atau Tanaka (Goldsmiths University), Ling Tan (Senior Designer/ Coder, Umbrellium). Read more

  • Future Humans: Augmented Selves. With panelists: Douglas Rushkoff (Team Human, USA), Prof Rebecca Allen (UCLA, USA), Jasmin Idun Isdrake (Experience Designer, Sweden), Ghislaine Boddington (body>data>space / University of Greenwich). Read more

  • Machines that Care for Us. With panelists: Gareth Mitchell (BBC World Service Digital Planet), Proff Tony Prescott (Sheffield Robotics), Catherine Allen (Liminal VR), Hannah Allen (Babylon - Telepresence Medicine). Read more

  • Just The Job - Vocational Callings in a Digitalised World. With panelists: Proff Noel Sharkey (Emeritus Professor, University of Sheffield, Chair elect, ICRAC), Anne-Marie Imafidon (Head / Co-founder, Stemettes), Ann Branch (European Commission, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion), Mike Stubbs (then Director of FACT).
    Read more

Installation Works:

  • Bio-Body-Tech. A room of 5 highly innovative, interactive projects, that only work in connection with our bodies through expanding and enhancing our senses, utilising our bio-signals and reacting to our body transmissions. Read more

  • The Reader by Stanza explores what could happen in the future when embedded chips in our bodies have a direct connection to all the world’s information, data, and knowledge.

  • The Nemesis Machine by Stanza raises questions around surveillance culture, privacy and the connected city. The artwork visualises life in a big city on the basis of real time data from London, transmitted from a network of sensors.



FutureFest 2018, produced and presented by Nesta.

Image: The Reader by Stanza at FutureFest 2018.

bottom of page