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The annual symposium has been running for over a decade and the results has been published.



The next Symposium will be held in London and online, will focus on text in XR and text related to AI, as part of the Future of Text XR Initiative. Please note however, this does not at all preclude other aspects of the future of text, which are all equally warmly welcomed. All presentations from this year’s Symposium will be transcribed and included in ‘Vol IV of Future of Text’ which will be published late 2023. You can see our current XR Experiences online.

4th of October {Central London & Online}

Online: 1AM-9AM Pacific. 4AM-Noon East Coast. 9AM-5PM UK time. 10AM-6PM Europe. 6PM-2AM Western.

  • 9am: Coffee & pastries
  • 9am: 5 min presentations, followed by 10 min dialog
  • 12: Lunch
  • 1pm: Themed discussions, as discussed before lunch (text for thought/presentation/editing)
  • 5pm: Close
  • 6pm: Dinner nearby

5th of October {Wimbledon & Online}

  • 9am: Coffeeshop opportunity
  • 12: Lunch (likely Tate Modern or nearby)
  • 1:30pm: 1 ½ hour walking tour from Blackfriars
  • 4pm: Session continues online
  • 6pm: Dinner
  • 7pm: Session continues online

Online: 8AM Pacific. 1AM East Coast. 4PM UK time (local to event). 5PM Europe. For 2 hours, then 1 hour break and resume.


Zoom Room:


Walking tour: In this the year of the 400th anniversary of the publication of The First Folio (the book that was the first to bring together all of Shakespeare’s plays in print) we will explore: the impact of the introduction of the first “mass” printing press by William Caxton;  the birth and growth of Fleet Street as the centre for printing in London; the birth of England’s first book shops around St Paul’s and the church of St Dunstan in the west; the battle to control and regulate the print market; and Shakespeare’s relationship with the printed word in his lifetime. Along the way we will meet a few key players of the age in the print and publishing business (and some of their sharp practices!).



Transcripts of the 2022 Future of Text Symposium, which was focused on text in XR, is now available in the ‘Future of Text’ vol 3. A few photographs from the physical location, at the Linnean Society in London:


Previous Symposia 


Supported By

The University of Southampton • WAIS  • W3C • Google UK • Google US • Vint Cerf • The British Library • The Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation • Artchestra • LCC • Wikimedia • Nefertari • The William A & Elwanda Fenwick Foundation • Unapologetic  • ReImagine Science • Sam Hahn • The Liquid Information Company Ltd. • The Augmented Text Company • Starbucks UK • Continue Magazine • The Marshall McLuhan Center • The Institute for The Future



Tom Standage, Deputy Editor of The Economist: “At a time of rapid technological change, the Future of Text Symposium offers an invaluable high-level perspective on the original information technology, where it has come from, and where it is going.”

Timothy Donaldson, typographer and teacher: “The future of text is one of the most stimulating public disseminations of knowledge I have encountered, its pithy format and emphasis on discourse makes it an intellectual delight.”

Philip Ball, science writer: “The notion of what text is becoming and what it might become is of vital importance to the future of an information society, with implications ranging from questions of artistic expression to the meanings of democracy. Yet it’s remarkable and perhaps disturbing that so few people are examining the issues in a broad, multidisciplinary way. The Future of Text Symposium is an event which fills that gap in a manner both deep and rigorous, but also engaging.”

David Jablonowski, artist:“In the fine arts one talks with all respect about the ‘Avantgarde’ in the arts. This symposium is about the ‘Avantgarde’ of the entire human communication -no less than that. In about 10 years people will realise what they’ve missed”

Ilona Regulski, Curator Egyptian Written Culture at The British Museum: “As an academic and museum professional studying the past, I usually perceive texts in a historical context. The approach to look at the future of text is innovative though necessary, and thereby refreshingly informative. The Future of Text Symposium is an inspiring event. The sheer variety of fields represented emphasise that the visible aspect of language; through text, is our most important means of communication and deserves more attention.”

Jane Yellowlees Douglas, PhD,Associate Professor of the University of Florida: “’The Future of Text’ should be called ‘How to Live in the New Now,’ since you’d be hard-pressed to find a wider range of expertise on how text morphed into the words that wrap around and inform our lives. In addition, you’ll learn how to live with and capitalise on the changing face and uses of text through dialogue with some of today’s top experts. If you don’t emerge with a different view of how to work with text, take your pulse: you might be dead.”

Bob Stein of Voyager Books, publisher of the original interactive books: “The Future of Text 2013 symposium in London was a brilliantly curated and organised event. The day’s videos could be the syllabus for a terrific course about the future of reading and writing.”

Chris Stringer, Author, from the Natural History Museum in London: “I thought the Future of Text symposia  in London were really stimulating events, where a diverse group of specialists engaged in free-ranging discussion between themselves but also in open dialogue with their audience.”

Dame Wendy Hall of the University of Southampton: “The innovation of interactive text is essential and the Future of Text Symposium is a vital part of this process.”

George Landow, Professor of English and Art History Emeritus, Brown University: “This was a delightful, informative well-run mini-conference with a particularly attractive and efficient format that investigated the past, present, and future of text.”

Ren Cahoon, founder and president of Reynolds Cahoon LLC: “It was an extraordinary event.”

Dino Karabeg of the University of Oslo: “Having been a presenter at the 2014 Future of Text Symposium at Google, London, I am glad to recommend in strongest terms this year’s Future of Text Symposium in the Bay Area. By organizing the Future of Text events, Frode Hegland is continuing, and broadening and deepening, the tradition initiated by Doug Engelbart, his late friend and patron. By bringing together speakers who have deep academic insights into the origins, history, nature… of textual communication, with software tool developers, Frode wants to make sure that the future of text keeps up with contemporary insights and needs, and with technological developments. Hand-picked international speakers help reach his goal, and make this event uniquely valuable.”

Robert  E.  Horn, Senior Researcher Human Science and Technology Advanced Research Institute (H-STAR) Stanford University: “What do words to best and what do visual elements (images, both representational and abstract, and diagrammatics, both quantitative and qualitative) do best when they are working together– integrally, intimately, synergistically?  That is a communication question for the 21st century.  That is a scientific “best practices of thinking” question for the 21st century. That is an explosive and expressive question for the visual arts for the 21st century.  That is one of the big questions that The Future of Text has begun to explore.”

Adriano Ferrari: “It was both wonderful and arduous… worth it though for the learning and perspective it gave us.”

Vint Cerf, co-inventor of the Internet: “I have participated in the Future of Text events and find them thought-provoking and poignant reminders that text is how we communicate with the future.”