Fantasy technology & everyday magic

From 2013-2017, I ran a creative collective called Hack Circus as a way of bringing together like-minded artists, scientists, designers, writers and performers.

Between us, we produced a beautiful quarterly magazine, immersive events to tie into each issue, a podcast, and an array of funny and original art work. Our ventures included time machines, trips into space, 3D printed thoughts, and a musical exploration of London’s only secret subterranean volcano. Superficially fun and silly, Hack Circus was intended as an important reaction to the prevailing digital culture, where commercial forces rule, and women in particular are repeatedly failed.

I was interviewed for The Times, The Guardian, The Independent and BBC Click about the project, among others. You can read press about Hack Circus here, and find some podcast reviews, below. I would select a range, but at the time of writing the show only has 34, 5* reviews! Like the rest of the project, the podcast focussed on art, tech, and the creative thinking that binds them together.


“Some people just make naturally good presenters, and Leila manages to keep you entertained while covering some reasonably complex subjects.” 5*

“Leila Johnston manages to make creating interesting and engaging conversations sound easy – a testament to her research and listening skills.” 5*

“Captivating talk with an archivist by a resident genius in Sheffield. Leila Johnston has the knack for getting people to open up on a wide range of subjects”. 5*

“This is a rare podcast in that it’s so very earnest in its approach. It’s not trying to sell you anything or act bigger than it is. It’s often just two people talking about the creative process. It’s clear that the host, Leila Johnston, loves chatting with her guests and learning how they think.” 5*