We host monthly decoding challenges - find out more and take part by visiting DickensCode.org.
13 April 2023
- 'An Introduction to the Dickens Code and Transcription Workshop'
25 February 2023
In-person, Senate House, London
'Dickens and Shorthand'
- Dr Wood will present a paper exploring the latest discoveries from the Dickens Code project.
15 February 2023
'Decoding Dickens' with U3AC
- Professor Bowles will lead a session, part lecture and part workshop, teaching participants how to decode Dickens.
10-19 November 2022
Online and in-person
We were delighted to be awarded funding to take part in the 'Being Human' festival. We ran a range of free events for different audiences, including:
- 'Decoding Dickens (School Workshops)'. A series of in-person workshops delivered to Year 10 students at eight Leicestershire secondary schools, in collaboration with the Lionheart Educational Trust, Leicester.
- 19 November 2022, 'Decoding Dickens'. An online workshop, suitable for adults.
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
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
Dr Wood presented a research paper examining recent project findings, focusing on 'The Two Brothers' mystery.
27 May 2022
#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
#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
#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
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
#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
#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
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
- Check out the ESSE 2021 Book of Abstracts
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.
- Download the programme (PDF, 282KB)
- Download the optional pre-symposium 'decoding' task (PDF, 300KB)
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
'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.