the Home



  • 2:00pm and 7:00pm /

    Welcome Address

    Brian Gambles, CEO of the Library of Birmingham Trust, welcomes you to xHumed: How the Industrial Age Forged Our Digital Future. xHumed producers, Jason and Samara Jones-Hall introduce the show.

  • Film /

    H.G. Wells

    Shaping Things to Come. xHumed from original audio recordings, courtesy of BBC Archives, seminal texts, courtesy of United Agents, and photographic imagery, H.G. Wells presents our opening keynote with his forward-thinking ideas on foresight.

  • Film /

    Erasmus Darwin / Dr Christophe Veaux

    Using Your Voice: Own It or Clone It. Erasmus Darwin will be xHumed live on stage via a 6ft mechanical automata sculpture based on the "Speaking Machine", as described in his scientific poem, "The Temple of Nature, or The Origin of Society", from the Library of Birmingham archives. Dr Christophe Veaux picks up the theme and brings Darwin's work up-to-date for the digital age with the Centre for Speech and Technology Research's Voicebank project.

  • Film /

    John Baskerville / Dr John Troyer

    Reclaiming Your Identity. Digitally xHumed on screen to tell the tale of his multiple previous xHumations over a period of more than 100 years, John Baskerville appears as a cautionary tale drawn from an image courtesy of Birmingham Museums Trust and archive texts and works from the Library of Birmingham. Dr John Troyer of the Centre for Death and Society and the Death Reference Desk, explores the technology of death and the data rights of the dead.

  • Film /

    Joseph Priestley / Jon Bounds

    Eye of the Twitterstorm. Joseph Priestley is Alive! xHumed via Twitter by social media expert, Jon Bounds, commenting on contemporary events from original texts found in the Library of Birmingham archives. Follow him now on Twitter @JPriestley1733. Jon Bounds will take to the stage to discuss this project, Priestley's connection with Twitterstorms and the impact of this recent twitter-based xHumation.

  • 3:30pm and 8:30pm /


    Twenty five minute interval.

  • Film - Part 2 /

    Matthew Boulton / Nick Allen

    The Maker Community and 3D Printing. Matthew Boulton, xHumed from original paintings and sculptures courtesy of Birmingham Museums Trust and texts and letters held in the Library of Birmingham archives. Boulton will be recreated via the medium of 3D printing as an animated action figure, joining Nick Allen of 3DPRINTUK, in conversation. This digital video and animation piece will bring these two together for the first time to explore the pros and cons of manufacturing in the digital age.

  • Film - Part 2 /

    Geraldine Cadbury / Helen Milner

    Social Inclusion and the Digital Divide. Social reformer, Geraldine Cadbury, will be xHumed with content based on the Barrow Cadbury Trust archives held in the Library of Birmingham. Helen Milner, CEO of the Tinder Foundation, picks up the baton of digital social inclusion for contemporary communities.

  • Film - Part 2 /

    Mary Shelley / Jon Turney

    The science of xHumation: resurrection by digitisation. Mary Shelley, digitally xHumed and re-animated from archive portraits, courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, and texts, courtesy of Bodleian Library, University of Oxford breathes new life into her own groundbreaking writings on bringing back the dead. Jon Turney, author of Frankenstein's Footsteps and Rough Guide to the Future, traces the continued relevance of Shelley's original work on contemporary commentary and appreciation of science and technology.

  • Film - Part 2 /

    Andrew Carnegie

    Kickstarting the Kickstarters. Reading from his seminal piece, The Gospel of Wealth, Andrew Carnegie is xHumed via animated text and original audio archive, recorded by Edison and held by the G. Robert Vincent Voice Library at Michigan State University.

  • 4:55pm and 9:55pm /

    Closing Address

    Thank you to all artists, participants, funders, sponsors and you - our audience.

DeadGood Speakers

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Reclaiming Your Identity

Thrice buried printer, typographer and outspoken atheist, John Baskerville, asks who owns our identities? Once more "xHumed" and put on show almost 250 years after his death, Baskerville is in a unique position to ask who owns the rights to our bodies, our archives and our very own selves? Guest companion speaker, Dr John Troyer of the Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath adds his own contemporary spin and explores the technology of death and the data rights of the dead.

The Maker Community and 3D Printing

xHumed entrepreneur and innovator, Matthew Boulton, and Nick Allen of 3DPRINTUK - who is very much alive - join together to discuss commercialisation of mass manufacturing and the technologies that make it happen.

Social Inclusion and the Digital Divide

Social reformer and co-founder of the Barrow Cadbury Trust, Geraldine Cadbury, addresses one of the most vital issues of her day and ours in this live and most playful of all our xHumations. Geraldine will be joined by Helen Milner, CEO of the Tinder Foundation, picking up the baton of digital social inclusion for contemporary communities.

Kickstarting the Kickstarters

In the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Carnegie Trust, we will be hearing from the man himself, Andrew Carnegie, via the genius of Thomas Edison. A multi-billionaire by modern standards, Carnegie devoted his life to philanthropy, with a particular passion for public libraries - funding over 3,000 throughout the world - and education, donating £50,000 to help set up the University of Birmingham in 1899. Carnegie's Gospel of Wealth is a rallying call to kickstart the Kickstarters.

Using Your Voice: Own It or Clone It

Philosopher, physiologist, slave trade abolitionist, inventor, poet and - as grandfather to Charles - the origin of The Origin of the Species. Erasmus Darwin joins us on stage via the medium of one of his own inventions - The Speaking Machine. Darwin will be joined on-stage by Dr Christophe Veaux of the Centre for Speech and Technology Voicebank project.

Ethics and Empathy in Innovation

Whether it's xHuming from body parts and brains or from data, DNA, personality profiles and cloud-stored media, the real question of whether or not we can bring back the dead is not "can we?" but "should we?" As author of Frankenstein - not to mention volumes of empathetic critiques of "Lives of the Most Eminent Literary and Scientific Men" - Mary Shelley is in a unique position to lead us through this minefield. Mary will be joined by Jon Turney, author of Rough Guide to the Future and Frankenstein's Footsteps.

Shaping Things to Come

Writer, controversial social commentator and the "father of science fiction", H.G. Wells shares his thoughts on the value of foresight, the "World Brain" (aka the internet), and the immense social value of "The Open Conspiracy". An ardent believer in sharing knowledge for the common good and a new kind of open-sourced government, Wells is xHumed to give new insight in his own 80 year old words on contemporary digital society.

Eye of the Twitterstorm

Theologian, dissenting clergyman, natural philosopher, chemist, educator and political theorist, Joseph Priestley published over 150 works, many of them both controversial and inflammatory. Credited with discovering oxygen, Priestley believed strongly in the free and open exchange of ideas, even when this meant going against the grain of popular thoughts and beliefs, inciting controversy, protests and even riots in his name. Only fitting, then, that "Gunpowder" Jo Priestley should be xHumed via the medium of Twitter. Follow him now @JPriestley1733 and enter the eye of his Twitterstorm to find out more about this experiment at our Birmingham event ... with a little help from Jon Bounds.



Alive and Kicking

christophe_veauxDr. Christophe Veaux holds a PhD in Audio and Signal processing from the University of Rennes, France and is currently a Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, UK. His research activities are focused on speech and audio technologies (speech synthesis, voice transformation, speech and audio perception) and human-computer interfaces with applications in both assistive technologies and new media. From 2002 to 2005, he has been working at Orange labs, France, on the perception of speech and audio quality. His research activities in speech synthesis started in 2006 at Ircam, France, with a strong focus on speech expressivity and emotions in voice. He has there collaborated with several theatre companies and music composers interested in the use of artificial expressive voices and emotion morphing of natural, recorded voices. Since 2011, he is working at the Centre for Speech Technology Research, University of Edinburgh, on the applications of speech synthesis for assistive technologies. His main research project is focused on the voice reconstruction of individuals with degenerative speech disorders. This collaborative project with the Euan Mac Donald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease aims to create personalised voices for assistive communication aids.

Christophe will be appearing at xHumed with Erasmus Darwin.

The VoiceBank Project | Connect on LinkedIn

Helen Milner CEO Tinder FoundationHelen Milner is the Chief Executive of Tinder Foundation, a not-for-profit social enterprise that makes good things happen with digital technology.

Established in December 2012 as a staff-owned mutual, Tinder Foundation’s 30-strong team supports a network of 5,000 local community partners to be smarter in how they use digital and helping more than one million people gain the skills they need to use computers and the internet confidently.

Helen will be appearing at xHumed with Geraldine Cadbury |Follow Helen on Twitter | Connect on LinkedIn

John Troyer

Dr. John Troyer is the Deputy Director of the Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath. His interdisciplinary research focuses on contemporary memorialisation practices, concepts of spatial historiography, and the dead body’s relationship with technology. Dr. Troyer is also a theatre director and installation artist with extensive experience in site-specific performance across the United States and Europe. He is a co-founder of the Death Reference Desk website and a frequent commentator for the BBC.  His forthcoming book, Technologies of the Human Corpse (published by the University of North Carolina Press), will appear in 2013.

One of his current projects, the Future Cemetery is an AHRC funded collaboration between Arnos Vale Cemetery, Calling the Shots media, and the Centre for Death and Society. The Future Cemetery can be followed on Twitter and on Facebook.

John will be appearing at xHumed with John Baskerville. | Follow John on Twitter

jonboundsJon is a meme artist who created, wrote and directed (mainly by Direct Message) the first ever piece of drama to be performed on Twitter. Back in 2008 he persuaded a cast including MP Tom Watson to give over their timelines to perform Twitpanto: a full length piece of theatre that spun its story out into the unsuspecting online World. He’s organised psychogeographic trips around Birmingham’s Outer Circle, measured the emotional wellbeing of the city, started ‘Talk Like a Brummie Day’, and  as well as founding the famous blog Birmingham: It’s Not Shit. He currently edits Paradise Circus: A Birmingham Miscellany. All of his projects work in the space where emotion and place collide—online and off—and if the place is Birmingham it seems to work all the better.

He’s currently finishing a book about visiting every seaside pier in England and Wales—Pier Review—which has been described as “On the Road meets On the Buses”.

Jon was the ’14th Most Influential Person in the West Midlands’ 2008. Subsequently not placed.

Jon will be appearing at xHumed with Joseph Priestley. | Follow Jon on Twitter

Jon Turney

Jon Turney is a science writer and reviewer based in Bristol. He has worked as a journalist, academic, publisher and civil servant. He currently writes for Green Futures, and FutureEarth.Info, among others. His books include Frankenstein’s Footsteps: Science, Genetics and Popular Culture (1998), which won the BMA’s award for popular medical book of the year, and The Rough Guide to the Future (2010) which was shortlisted for the Winton Royal Society Science Book Prize. He is working on a book about the human microbiome.

Jon will be appearing at xHumed with Mary Shelley. | Follow Jon on Twitter

Nick Allen The Boss 3DPRINTUKNick is a designer and maker of the 21st Century who manufactured in the digital era using 3D CAD data to produce models on a state of the art 3D printer. Nick set up his business, 3DPRINTUK, in 2011 with the idea of being the creator of other people’s ideas as well as his own. Nick has had firsthand experience of over 20,000 3D printed models over the last two and a bit years and, due to his both front and back end experience in the business, has a knowledge of what people want and what people expect from 3D printing based on thousands and thousands of enquiries from both the public and the industrials sectors. Though the future of 3D printing is wonderful and inspiring, it is always an ongoing battle against the hype and the Chinese whispers of the internet about where the industry is going and where it will end up.

3DPRINTUK started in a shed in Oxford, then moved to and office and is now situated in an industrial production facility in the heart of London. With every member of staff in their twenties, it is likely that this is the youngest and most enthusiastic  production facility in the UK. Clients have ranged from 7 year old boys to the likes of Bugatti, Disney and Adidas, so the range is massive!

Nick will be appearing at xHumed in a specially commissioned video with Matthew Boulton.

3DPRINTUK | Follow Nick on Twitter

Dead Good Thinking

5 November 2013

2pm and 7pm

Library of Birmingham

World Premiere

DeadGood PRESS

Full press pack for the xHumed project, including Dead Good Thinking: How The Industrial Age Forged Our Digital Future is available as a PDF here:

xHumed Press Pack

Media Enquiries

Please contact: Samara Jones-Hall: 0121 288 5730 or  email


Our DeadGood Press

BBC Worldwide Click

Birmingham Central

Birmingham Post

The Engineer 

ICHOOS Newsletter

In Conversation with Imperica Magazine

iScience Magazine 

The Next Web





Thank you

Dr. B. C. Barker-Benfield, Bodleian Library | Mary Shelley Archive

Rebecca Bartlett, Ammba | Project Liaison

Gordon Bell, Microsoft Research | Content Support

Gino Bellavia, University of Birmingham | Partnership Support

Joanna Birch, Birmingham City University | Partnership Support

Adrian Bradley, Birmingham REP | Technical Support

Emma Butterfield, National Portrait Gallery, London | Mary Shelley and Geraldine Cadbury Archive

Sir Dominic Cadbury | Partnership Support

Meroe Candy, Wellcome Trust | Partnership Development

Professor Sir David Cannadine, School of Advanced Study, University of London | Partnership Support

Adronikos Chatzikostis, Photostudioan | xHumed Man Source Image

Elliott Cranmer,  ShootMedia Ltd | Video Production

Jim Farmery, Creative England | Core Funding xHumed BHX13 Limited

Brian Gambles, Library of Birmingham Trust | Core Funding xHumed BHX13 Limited

Barry Griffiths, Library of Birmingham | Project Liaison

Caitlin Griffiths, Capsule | Marketing Support

Peter Harrison, Creative England | Core Funding xHumed BHX13 Limited

Dave Harte, Birmingham City University | Social Media Partnership Support

Pat Kane, Nesta | Commissioning (FutureFest)

Carol MacArthur, United Agents | H.G. Wells Agent

Rachel MacGregor, Library of Birmingham | Archivist

Caroline Officer, Birmingham City University | Content Development Support

Lise Olson, Birmingham City University | Content Development Support

Domniki Papadimitriou, Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery | Partnership Development

Marc Reeves, RJF Public Affairs | PR Support

Sian Roberts, Library of Birmingham | Archivist

Charles Rosendaal, LCI Productions Limited | 3D Project Mapping Support

John Sear, University of Birmingham | Technical Support

Ian Taylor, Marketing Birmingham | Marketing Support

Robin Thomas, Library of Birmingham Trust | Core Funding xHumed BHX13 Limited

Bill Thompson, BBC | Partnership Support

Nathan Tromans, Birmingham City University | Content Development Support

Marlyn Weeks, LCI Productions Limited | 3D Project Mapping Support

Sue Wilkinson, Library of Birmingham | Venue Support

Jessy Wang | Digital Artist

Kelvin Wong, Birmingham City University | Content Development Support

John Woodcock, PSP Audiovisual | Technical Support

John Baskerville, Matthew Boulton, Erasmus Darwin and Joseph Priestley archive all source images and text courtesy of Library of Birmingham and  Birmingham Museums Trust

Geraldine Cadbury archive all source text courtesy of Library of Birmingham

Mary Shelley archive all source text courtesy of  Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

H.G. Wells, Mary Shelley and Geraldine Cadbury archive all source images courtesy of National Portrait Gallery, London






VENUE: Library of Birmingham, England