We're pleased to bring you a guest blog from Tom Higham, curator of Manchester's digital and arts festival, FutureEverything. Rather than basking in the glory of a hugely successful festival, Tom discusses what's next.

For anyone who's been involved in a festival production cycle, you’ll know it brings with it a particular kind of madness. The build up to a festival (or any kind of hugely intense production or project) really sucks you in. It's such an exciting and high-pressure environment, it’s probably not very good for your health but I have to admit, I’m addicted. Now four weeks have passed since the 2014 edition of FutureEverything it’s possible to reflect a little.

In its 19th year, the FutureEverything festival and conference featured more than 100 celebrated artists and future thinkers, from James Bridle, Anab Jain, Liam Young, Daisy Ginsberg, Golan Levin and Adam Harvey, to Volker Buscher at Arup, economist Irene Ng, and Mike Bracken, Digital Director at the UK Cabinet Office.

The most original, influential figures at the forefront of powerful currents in today’s design scene converged on the 2 day Conference at Manchester Town Hall, to imagine speculative futures around the technologies and innovations likely to change our lives. There were reports of tumbleweeds blowing around Shoreditch. Leading figures from government and business explored the next generation of decentralised data, intensive tools and platforms, where the cutting edge of data science and economics meet.

It’s hard to gain perspective on an event you have been so deeply involved with but this year’s edition has been widely celebrated as the most successful FutureEverything festival to date. Videos and recordings are being edited at the moment, but explore some of the links below to get a feel for what happened.


Here's some Festival photography

One hit at the conference was a new strand introduced for 2014: Fireside Chats – available now via Little Atoms & Resonance FM. Listen/Subscribe

City Fictions was the focal point of our art programme. This took the shape of a pop-up speculative city, with various projects from world leading designers, artists and city makers presented across the NOMA neighbourhood in Manchester. The BBC dedicated a special edition of their flagship technology programme, BBC Click, to City Fictions, broadcast on the World Service and available to listen to now on BBC iPlayer.

We don’t pause now though, we're bringing the world’s largest independent environmental sensing network – Smart Citizen – to the UK with Intel. The free sensor workshop is taking place as you read this.

We’re also recruiting codefellows for our Greater Manchester Data Synchronisation Programme (GMDSP). Here's more information and your chance to apply.

To stay in touch with all the other events we're running remember to keep checking the website. Thanks.