Sci-fi and robotics event Bristol Festival of Literature, 29 October 2016

Researchers Michael Reinsborough and Christine Aicardi from the Foresight laboratory of the Human Brain Project and SciFi authors Sarah LeFanu, Stephen Oram, Allen Ashley and Jule Owen have worked with Professor Alan Winfield and the Bristol Robotics Laboratory to bring you three fictional versions of the future. Come along to hear their short stories and then use them as a springboard for what is bound to be a lively discussion between the authors, the scientists – and you.

Please register at:

Sarah LeFanu is the author of two books on science fiction and fantasy, one of which, ‘In the Chinks of the World Machine: Feminism and Science Fiction’, won the prestigious MLA award. She was Senior Editor at The Women’s Press, responsible for their innovative and highly-regarded science fiction list.

Stephen Oram writes near-future fiction intended to provoke debate. As a teenager he was heavily influenced by the ethos of punk. He is the Author in Residence at Virtual Futures and has published two novels and several shorter pieces of work.

Allen Ashley is a British Fantasy Award winning editor, writer, poet, creative writing tutor and critical reader. He is sole judge for the British Fantasy Society Short Story Competition. As a tutor, he currently has five groups running across north London , including the advanced science fiction and fantasy group Clockhouse London Writers.

Jule Owen is the author of three published science fiction novels for young adults, ‘The Boy Who Fell from the Sky’, ‘Silverwood’ and ‘The Moon at Noon’. Jule is a member of SCBWI and the British Science Fiction and Fantasy Association. Her illustrations have appeared in popular children’s books, and her art has been exhibited at the Village West Gallery in New York. Jule is currently working on a new science fiction series, which will be published in the new year.


Alan Winfield is Professor of Robot Ethics at the University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol, UK. He is also visiting Professor at the University of York. Alan co-founded the Bristol Robotics Laboratory in 1993, where he conducts research on cognitive robotics and robot ethics. Alan is a vocal advocate for responsible research and innovation, and is involved in several national and international initiatives developing ethical standards for robotics and AI. Alan blogs on robotics and related subjects at

Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) is the most comprehensive academic centre for multi-disciplinary robotics research in the UK. It is a collaborative partnership between the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) and the University of Bristol, and home to a vibrant community of over 150 academics, researchers and industry practitioners. Together, they are world leaders in current thinking on service robotics, intelligent autonomous systems and bio-engineering. An internationally recognised Centre of Excellence in Robotics, BRL’s state-of-the-art facilities cover an area of over 4,600 sq. metres (50,000 sq. feet).

The Human Brain Project (HBP) is one of the Future and Emerging Technology Flagship initiatives funded by the European Commission. It is a ten-year project which aims to build a cutting-edge research infrastructure allowing scientific and industrial researchers to advance our knowledge in the fields of neuroscience, computing, and brain-related medicine. It brings together scientists and institutions from 20 nations across Europe. The Foresight Lab at King’s College London is part of the integrated Ethics and Society programme of the HBP. Its mission is to conduct systematic foresight exercises to identify and evaluate the potential social and ethical impacts of the knowledge and technology produced by the HBP.


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