The Dickens Code

Events

Upcoming events

We host monthly decoding challenges - find out more and take part by visiting DickensCode.org.

10-19 November 2022

Online and in-person

Being Human: A Festival of the Humanities

We are delighted to have been awarded funding to take part in the 'Being Human' festival. We are running a range of free events for different audiences. Find out more below.

Past events

19 October 2022

Nineteenth-Century Centre, University of Birmingham, in-person

'The Devil's Handwriting: Solving the Mysteries of Dickens's Shorthand Dickens's Shorthand Texts', 5.00pm - 7.00pm (BST)

In the 150 years since his death, Charles Dickens’s works have never been out of print. Yet, incredibly, several texts in Dickens’s hand remain unknown because they are written in his personal shorthand. Dickens used a complex system called Gurney’s Brachygraphy – but adapted the rules and invented new symbols of his own.

This paper explores the work of the AHRC-funded Dickens Code project, led by Dr Claire Wood (University of Leicester) and Professor Hugo Bowles (University of Foggia), which seeks solutions to these mysterious shorthand texts. It will cover how and why Dickens learned shorthand, what makes Brachygraphy so difficult to decipher, how we’ve approached these challenges with the assistance of the Dickens Decoders, and what we’ve discovered so far.


25-28 July 2022

University of California, Santa Cruz, 'Dickens Universe', in-person

'Solving Dickens's Shorthand Texts'

The Dickens Code project was delighted to take part in the 2022 Dickens Universe, which focused on Frances E. W. Harper's Iola Leroy or, Shadows Uplifted, alongside Dickens's David Copperfield (the semi-autobiographical novel in which Dickens records his struggles with learning shorthand). Over the course of the week, participants took part in a series of workshops that taught them how to decode Dickens's shorthand writing.


1 July 2022

University of Leicester, 'Victorian Discoveries' conference, in-person

'Discovering Dickens's Shorthand Manuscripts'

Dr Wood presented a research paper examining recent decoding discoveries related to the 'Tavistock' letter and the shorthand dictation exercises 'Nelson' and 'The Two Brothers'.


22 June 2022

University of Leicester, 'Festival of the Arts', in-person

'Decoding Dickens'

Dr Wood worked with local Sixth Form and Year 10 secondary school students as part of the 'Festival of Arts', introducing Victorian voice recording technologies, shorthand, and how to get started with decoding Dickens.


17 June 2022

Università degli Studi di Sassari, 'Algorithms of Life' conference, in-person and online

'The Dickens Code: a pilot study using machine learning to aid transcription'

Professor Bowles presented a research paper examining the role of crowd-crafted transcription and machine learning in cracking the Dickens Code.


16 June 2022

University of Buckingham, Dickens MA Research Seminar Series, in-person

'Decoding Dickens'

Dr Wood presented a research paper examining recent project findings, focusing on 'The Two Brothers' mystery.


27 May 2022

Online

#SolveItDickens: Hunt the Source, 4.00pm - 5.00pm (BST)

Finding a source text is one the most effective ways to decode Dickens's shorthand - but it's not as easy as it sounds! Join us for a free, online workshop in which you'll develop a search strategy to identify potential shorthand source texts.

We also host monthly decoding challenges - find out more and take part by visiting DickensCode.org


22 April 2022

Online

#SolveItDickens: An Introductory Workshop for New Decoders, 3.00pm - 4.00pm (BST)

This workshop is aimed at participants new to decoding Dickens's shorthand. It will introduce you to our 8-step method, as well as a range of resources, tips, and tricks for decoding Dickens. Come along and have a go!


3 December 2021

Online

#SolveItDickens Workshop 3, 3.00pm - 4.00pm (GMT)

A free, practical deciphering workshop, exploring an item of Charles Dickens's shorthand writing. This is the third of three online sessions taking place in Autumn 2021. Attend just one or come along for all three!


20 November 2021

Online

Being Human: Cracking the Dickens Code, 11.00am - 12.00pm (GMT)

Learn about Dickens’s mysterious shorthand writing and how to approach the task of decoding shorthand script. 


5 November 2021

Online

#SolveItDickens Workshop 2, 3.00pm - 4.00pm (BST)

A free, practical deciphering workshop, exploring an item of Charles Dickens's shorthand writing. This is the second of three online sessions taking place in Autumn 2021. Attend just one or come along for all three! 


 1 October 2021

Online

#SolveItDickens Workshop 1, 3.00pm - 4.00pm (BST)

A free, practical deciphering workshop, exploring an item of Charles Dickens's shorthand writing. This is the first of three online sessions taking place in Autumn 2021.


31 August 2021

Online

ESSE 2021: 'Preserving and Expanding Dickens's Shorthand Legacy - the Dickens Code project', a paper presented as part of the 'Heirs and Heirlooms' strand of the conference


23 July 2021

University of Leicester

'Decoding Dickens: Contexts, Approaches, Inspirations', 2.00pm - 6.30pm (BST)

An online networking symposium that introduces the ‘savage stenographic mystery’ of Dickens’s shorthand and the challenges of deciphering unusual scripts.


20 February 2021

University of Hamburg

'The Devil's Handwriting: Digital Humanities and the Dickens Code Project' presentation at the 'Stenographical Studies' workshop.


18 February 2021

V&A, London

'The Dickens Code' presentation at 'Dickens in the Digital Age'.


18 September 2020

University of Buckingham

'Introducing the Dickens Code' presentation at 'The Impact of Dickens' conference.


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