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Hacking the Past: An Archives Game Jam

The National Archives: for academic and research communities

Saturday, 23 February 2019 at 09:30 - Sunday, 24 February 2019 at 17:00 (GMT)

Hacking the Past: An Archives Game Jam

Ticket Information

Type End Quantity
General Admission Ended Free  

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Event Details

The National Archives in collaboration with the Bentham Project, University College London are coming together to create a game jam, focusing on games with a purpose (GWAPs).

These organisations have experience of crowdsourcing the transcription of historical documents with the assistance of interested volunteers.  They have also been experimenting with the use of Handwritten Text Recognition software to automate the transcription of documents. However, the transcription of historical material can still be a time-consuming and complex task.

The challenge for this Hackathon is to create imaginative and engaging games that encourage and help people to transcribe documents efficiently. These transcriptions will open up access to historical material  and make them discoverable for anyone interested in historical research.

As a team you will be invited to create exciting games based on digital images from a diverse range of historical collections at both The National Archives and University College London.




Saturday 23 February


09:30 - 10:00


10:00 - 10:15

Welcome and introduction

Francesca Mackenzie (The National Archives) and Louise Seaward (UCL Bentham Project)

10:15 - 10:30

UCL Centre for Digital Humanities

Simon Mahony (UCL Centre for Digital Humanities)

10:30 – 11:00

Historical documents at The National Archives

Chris Day and Ruth Selman (The National Archives)

11:00 - 11:15

The Bentham collection

Louise Seaward (UCL Bentham Project)

11:15 – 11:30


11:30 – 13:15            


12:00 – 13:00

Introduction to Twine (tool for telling interactive non-linear stories) workshop

Faith Lawrence (The National Archives)

13:15 – 14:00


14:00 – 18:00


14:00 - 14:30

Palaeography workshop (optional)

Chris Day, Francesca Mackenzie and Ruth Selman (The National Archives)

18:00 – 18:45


18:45 – 20:00



Day closes


Sunday 24 February

09:00 – 13:00


13:00 – 13:45



Submission deadline

15:00 – 16:00

Teams present to judges (5 mins + 5 mins Q & A)

16:00 – 16:30

Judges deliberate


Winners announced


Event closes




What are the specific timings for the event?

Saturday 23 February, 09:30 - 20:00

Sunday 24 February, 9:00 - 17:30


Why should I attend?

A hackathon is an opportunity to meet people with wide ranging skill sets, learn, collaborate and create projects. Throughout the hackathon there will be talks and workshops with opportunities to learn more about paleography and technology. Most importantly it’s fun!

Getting here

Base KX is about a 10 minute walk from Kings Cross Station and 15 minutes from Camden Town.

Who can attend?

Everyone! If you have lots of creative ideas, a flair for the artistic, skills in technology and development, are interested in games or just love heritage and archives this is the event for you!

Participants should be over 18 (but send us over an email beforehand if you’re under 18 and want to join anyway)

Do I need to bring anything?

It is strongly recommended that you bring a laptop. Other than that just yourself.

Will there be food and drink?

Food and drink will be provided throughout the day and evening, some of which will include pizza.

Can I stay the night?

Unfortunately we cannot host overnight stays at the venue.


Do you have questions about Hacking the Past: An Archives Game Jam? Contact The National Archives: for academic and research communities

When & Where

UCL Hatchery, Base KX
103c Camley Street
N1C 4PF London
United Kingdom

Saturday, 23 February 2019 at 09:30 - Sunday, 24 February 2019 at 17:00 (GMT)

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