Walking in the woods

I love walking in the woods. I often go on my own, but I also very much enjoy the experience of walking with a small group with the opportunities to share observations and reflections as well as the chance to be still and silent with other people in a natural environment.

There’s so much exciting stuff happening at Hacklands over the weekend, but I’m going to give some time to pause from the doing, talking and actively thinking and to get away with a small group to breathe and reflect and just be for a short while.

We’ll be doing less, listening to whatever is there in the woods (including our inner voices) and see what miracles we can discover together. If it all sounds a bit mysterious, don’t worry, you’ve understood it completely, you’ll come back refreshed, at peace and renewed, ready to engage again with the hacka-festi-think-athon.

We’ll do sign ups for this at the beginning of Saturday. It’s best to do this sort of thing with a small group, so if there are more than seven people interested, I’ll do more than one trip during the day.

Gentlecise or bootcamp, we have you covered

Personal trainer, specialising in nutrition, fitness and general well being, Amanda Stollery, is joining us this weekend. She’ll run a gentlecise class with some stretching and movement on Saturday and Sunday morning to ease us in gently into the day before we enjoy our cooked breakfasts. No gym kit required. If you fancy something a bit more challenging than that, bring your gym kit and book a free personal training session with her. She’ll adjust what she covers with depending on your fitness levels. Drop her a line to book in advance, or book when you get to the farm. And once you’ve done your workout, you can relax in the hot tub!

About Amanda Stollery

amanda stollery
Amanda Stollery, Personal Trainer

Running and marathon obsessed, no goal is too small and my focus is on simple, no nonsense, fad-free exercises. It’s all about keeping your mind and body happy and creating the right balance between work and play.

After being in the digital (mobile) environment for four years, I realised that something had to change. Don’t get me wrong, I am still a huge mobile, digital, tech fan – it is our future – but the lifestyle me wasn’t sustainable for me.
The two worlds of fitness and technology are starting to collide and merge, but there is still a fine line where technology is useful in exercise. It is important to ensure it does not become disruptive and invasive. Don’t let it distract you from the pure, simple joy of a run or a workout, and that post-exercise glow. But, obviously I religiously check my step count on my Google fit app.

Is White Collar Automation just around the corner (again?)

Going upI shall be holding a discussion in the Open Space on Saturday about how the blockchain technology that brought us bitcoin promises to create even more of a stir in the next few years.

Smart contracts mean that where bitcoin gave us programmable money, platforms like ethereum herald programmable companies. When you can fulfill most of the functions of a bank or an insurance market in code on a peer-to-peer network with no central authority, what happens to all the people who used to work in a) the old central authorities and b) the supporting and participating organisations in financial centres like the City of London?

This is another wave in the long-term trend of automating away inefficient human-beings while trying to maintain high levels of employment but will people in Financial and Professional Services be saved from the disruption that has transformed manufacturing and media or will we soon see the stockbroker-belt version of Boys from the Blackstuff?

Introducing Warren Mailley-Smith, award-winning concert pianist & Chopin expert

Concert pianist Warren Mailley-Smith will be performing a selection of works by the great romantic composer, Frederyk Chopin (1810-1849) on Friday night.  His music ranks amongst the most important ever written for the piano and, unusually for many composers, his music has enjoyed enduring popularity ever since it was first written.
Tonight’s programme contrasts a number of Chopin’s well-known masterpieces with some of his lesser known and unjustly neglected music, written in his formative teenage years.
Chopin’s music is characterised by beautiful melodies, romantic harmonies with combining virtuosity and poetry in equal measure!
About Warren
warren mailley smith promo shot
Award-winning concert pianist Warren Mailley-Smith

The award-winning concert pianist Warren Mailley-Smith has made his solo debuts to critical acclaim at Wigmore Hall London and Carnegie Hall, New York.  In 2011 he made his much anticipated debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of Beethoven’s Emperor Piano Concerto.

Warren is in increasing demand as a solo concert artist, having been described recently by Classic FM as’Stunning…’, ‘Fantastic…’  ‘Sensational’, ‘Huge UK talent…’, ‘Gorgeous…!’  and by BBC Music Magazine as ‘Rising Star – Great Artist of Tomorrow” .  He was recently featured as CD of the Week and Video of the Week on Classic FM and Classic FM TV respectively.

He has received over thirty invitations to perform for the British Royal Family at Buckingham Palace, Highgrove House and Sandringham House.

Warren studied at the Royal College of Music where he won numerous postgraduate prizes including a Countess of Munster Award and the French Piano Music Prize.  He then took further private studies with Peter Feuchtwanger and the late Ronald Smith.

Warren’s solo career now sees him performing in festivals and concert venues across the UK, accepting invitations from further afield to perform in Europe and the US.  His concerto repertoire includes works by Rachmaninov, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Mozart and Tchaikovsky.

Warren will be performing the complete works of Chopin for solo piano at St John’s Smith Square in a series of concerts over the next year starting on September 4th. We’ll be getting a unique preview at Hacklands. Find out more about Warren’s upcoming concerts here.


Are the Androids Dreaming Yet? Amazing Brain. Communication. Creativity & Free Will.

That’s the title of James Tagg’s recent book and is the gist of James’ discussion at Hacklands.

book cover
Are the Androids Dreaming Yet? Amazing Brain. Human Communication. Creativity & Free Will. by James Tagg

Alan Turing invented the computer, helped win World War II and left us with one of the greatest puzzles of our time – the imitation game. Can computers do everything a human mind can do? Many scientists think we have a tenuous hold on the title, “most intelligent being on the planet”. They think it’s just a matter of time before computers become smarter than us (singularity, anyone?), and then what?

In this session, James will talks us through some of the key points of the book and provoke discussion on some of its themes. The book charts a journey through the science of information, from the origins of language and logic, to the frontiers of modern physics. From Lewis Carroll’s logic puzzles, through Alan Turing and his work on Enigma, to John Bell’s inequality, and finally the Conway-Kochen ‘Free Will’ Theorem. How do the laws of physics give us our creativity, our rich experience of communication and, especially, our free will? There’s a lot of material there for us to ponder and James will help us do just that. Can’t wait until the session? You can buy the book now at Amazon.

_DAR5890James Tagg is an inventor and entrepreneur. A pioneer of touchscreen technology, he has founded several companies, including Truphone, the world’s first global mobile network. He holds numerous patents, filed in over a hundred countries. He studied Physics and Computer Science at Manchester University, Design at Lancaster University and Engineering at Cambridge University. He lives with his family on a farm in Kent, England. He is also co-founder of Hacklands and we’re holding the festival on his farm.

Whittling and Wisdom in the Woods

whittling and wisdom in the woods
Would you like some one to one time with our Transformational Coaches?
Would you like to understand more about how you can access your own innate wisdom?
Do you enjoy whittling, or think you could?
These free 1-2-1, group, or couple sessions will help connect you with your innate wisdom, peeling off the layers that may prevent you experiencing the beauty that is always in and around you.
Using Principles based conversations, talks, discussion, sharing and practical exercises in the woods at Hacklands, we will develop your ability to effortlessly create a smooth and friction-free reality. Using fallen wood as the medium for some of our learning, we will build on our knowledge, and build structures for understanding that last way beyond the time we spend together. You will also learn some practical skills, and enjoy whittling and weaving from natural materials.
If you’d like to sign up for a free one to one or group session in our Whittling & Wisdom Tent, please complete this form and Gavin and Stefan will contact you via email to confirm your session.
I’ve signed up, will you?

Creating a virus free personal infrastructure; a space for creativity or chaos?

I think all of us Hacklanders probably suffer from junk email and the odd computer virus and we largely manage to prevent the latter and ignore the former. But how do we deal with the equivalent in the brain? Gavin and Stefan will spend an hour or so with us on this topic.
We all know how to spot junk mail and scams. Even though it has our name on it we don’t open the e-mails or click on the attachments, we hang up the telephone as soon we realize that it is a con, and block the number that has called us. Yet with our psychological experience we don’t always have such clarity around which messages are relevant to explore and which to ignore, sometimes unleashing untold viruses on our system……
In this interactive discussion we will explore how an understanding of the principles behind our state of mind can help us to become better virus checkers and see through the ‘scam’ of our beliefs about ourselves. This will enable us to operate our personal systems more productively, producing more effective decision making and increased creativity. The discussion will point us towards clearer state of mind, more ease in challenging situations, and increased effectivelness in relationships and teams. Bringing this understanding to our enjoyment of Hacklands will enable us to enjoy more, while worrying less.
Gavin Presman headshotThe talk will be led by  Gavin Presman , author and corporate trainer, who regularly trains many of the UK’s leading media businesses in Sales, Negotiation and Influence (www.inspire-ing.co.uk). Recently he has been inspired to begin teaching about the impact ‘State Of Mind’ has on performance in an outdoor setting through www.insightinthewoods.co.uk. He is also experimenting with talks and workshops at UK music (& tech!) festivals. Stefan headshot
He will be joined by Stefan Cybichowski, apprentice to Michael Neill, author The Inside Out Revolution.
I don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to this session.

LJ Rich will be joining us on Saturday night!

lj rich headshot
Join LJ Rich for a unique multi-sensory musical experience.


I’m delighted to announce that the lovely and talented LJ Rich will be joining us on Saturday night at the farm.  I first met her in the early days of Tuttle Club when we used to meet above the Coach and Horses in Soho. You may recognise her as one of the regular presenters on BBC Click.

What you may not know about LJ is that she is a very talented musician and music hacker. She will be joining us on Saturday night to create a unique multi-sensory symphony. LJ and I don’t want to reveal too much more about it in advance as we’d like it to be a surprise and it’s the sort of thing you need to be there in person to experience. So if you haven’t bought your ticket already, why not do that now?

About LJ Rich

From the age of three, LJ Rich sat at the piano, playing stuff she heard from the radio – with both hands, complete with chords. She couldn’t reach the pedals till around three years later. Aged eleven, she was awarded a scholarship to the Royal College of Music.

She then went on to complete a degree in Music at Christ Church College, Oxford, and has since sound engineered for Pete Waterman, toured the USA in a Rock Opera band, and played the piano in front of a wide range of audiences from concert halls and corporate balls to Brian May and Bruce Dickinson.

LJ regularly writes and presents for national television and radio, explaining trends and concepts in technology, social media and consumer electronics. LJ listens to pretty much every musical genre, and can talk for ages about the parallels between classical and contemporary music, the power of twitter, and the joy of good science fiction.

LJ has a weekly show on Periscope on Monday nights which you can find out more about here. You can also follow her on twitter @LJRich or read her blog.