BBC World Service brings personal stories to life in partnership with UWE Bristol

Issue date: 01 July 2016

BBC animation collage

BBC World Service has joined forces with the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) to create animations which bring to life choice audio nuggets from the service's output.

Presented with ten one-minute stories from BBC World Service content, students at the Bristol School of Animation, UWE, have visualised the spoken words and produced ten unique animations to complement them.

They will be available on, BBC World News and across social media on 5th July.

From a corrosive Soviet town to a wine loving bear to the harrowing tale of a child soldier in Sudan, the tales mainly reflect personal experiences told in the protagonists' own words. The series, which uses audio from programmes such as Outlook, Witness and The Conversation, also includes an incredible Chinese tongue twister poem in which every syllable has the sound shi. Visualisation helps bring a new dimension to rich and complex stories as characters become alive on the screen.

The series of videos showcases the richness of the station's offering and aims to use animating audio as an effective way to engage people across the world who might not already be consuming BBC World Service content.

Emily Kasriel, Head of Editorial Partnerships and Special Projects, BBC World Service Group, who led the project, says: “These animations are a wonderful example of a partnership which draws upon the editorial excellence of the BBC World Service and UWE, a centre of creative visual imagination. I'm thrilled to share these jewels of innovative content with our worldwide audience online, on social media and on BBC World News. I hope that people around the world will appreciate the thought and inventiveness that has gone into these richly layered treats and feel tempted to find out more about the stories.”

Chris Webster, Programme leader for BA and MA Animation at Bristol School of Animation, says: “Working with the BBC World Service on this exciting project has been a real highlight for the postgraduate animation students. The opportunity to work on such a wide variety of topics was a chance to explore and expand their practice and, given the deadline, a genuine creative challenge. The stories drawn from around the world, not dissimilar to the students that created the films, were charming, funny and at times even harrowing. They resulted in a range of highly original and creative responses - exciting, funny, very dynamic and never quite what one would expect. I hope that this will lead to many more such collaborations.”

BBC News continues to explore the many ways it can bring unique stories to audiences around the world using video online via social media outlets with clickable and shareable content. Previous examples of visualisation include Omar's Journey, which depicts the journey of a teenage refugee in the Jungle in Calais based upon his own drawings, and a visualisation based upon an Outlook interview about Antarctica, also created by UWE Bristol students.

UWE Bristol is renowned for its creative flair and enjoys links to some of the most successful animation companies in the world such as the local Aardman studios, home of world famous British animated characters Wallace and Gromit.


Toxic Town – Tatyana Movshevich's words were designed and animated by Hannah Stevens and Ben Sullivan

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Beatboxing Birds – Ben Mirin's words were designed and animated by Michail Gkialas Fikaris

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Child Soldier – Deng Adut's words were designed and animated by Laura-Beth Cowley and Carwyn David

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Humanlike Robots – Angelica Lim's words were designed and animated by Linh K. Nguyen

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Interracial Marriage – Suzanne Leclerc –Madlala's words were designed and animated by Sasha Lawrence

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Iran's Revolution– Mehdi Khorasani's words were designed and animated by Nagore Rementeria Muriel

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Living with a Grizzly – Maggie Robin's words were designed and animated by Tomi Stevenson

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Magical Bird – Vernon Head's words were designed and animated by Thonas Porras

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Shi Poem –The Lion Eating Poet in the Stone Den' is read by Quan Hu from BBC Chinese. Designed and animated by Jack Bennett

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Spacewalk – Luca Parmitano's words were designed and animated by Fiona Viani-Pericchi

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