Locative storytelling and interactive library projects win REACT funding

Issue date: 09 January 2013

Books and Print Sandbox

Two lecturers from UWE Bristol will each work with media industry partners on projects that will create exciting new ways of authoring and consuming literature through location based storytelling and transforming a library space into a beautiful interactive experience.

The projects have won funding from the innovative REACT Sandbox project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

The Sandbox process is a tried and tested innovation programme for guiding and enabling companies to research emerging possibilities in interactive, digital media, create new ideas and deliver innovation to the market. Each project will engage with industry experts in areas of business development, intellectual property, PR and production.

Project 1 These pages fall like ash

Tom Abba , a senior lecturer in Creative Media at UWE Bristol is working with the artists collective 'Circumstance' and two leading authors, Nick Harkaway and Neil Gaiman on a project entitled 'these pages fall like ash' to explore what the book, the editor and the author could be on a digital-first platform. They will invite an audience to participate in a narrative experience; accessing, altering and writing a locative story that will showcase the possibilities of the form and challenge traditional publishing norms.

Tom Abba comments, “I'm delighted to be working within the REACT Books and Print sandbox. My practice and research have been moving toward 'the future of the book' over the last few years, and this project represents a valuable opportunity to realise ideas and principles.

“The convergence of books and digital technology has so far only scratched the surface of what's possible. What we're addressing through this project - can a book change while it's being read, what do we think of as a book, how does the relationship between reader, text and author change in digital 'space' - are all questions that demand we redefine what we think books can be. I'm working with Circumstance to transpose those questions into experiences for up to 300 participants that will transform the city into a haunted, storied space.”

Duncan Speakman, a founding member of international artist collective Circumstance says

"Circumstance make fairly ephemeral work and over the last few years we've been exploring many methods of storytelling, often putting audiences through physical experiences. This project is an amazing opportunity to really investigate and further these ideas in both an academic, commercial and public context. Many of the fundamental principles of our practice were originally developed in Bristol so it's a joy to be able to return to the city for this project, and having worked with both Tom and UWE before we know we have brilliant partners to take this journey with."

Project 2 The Secret Lives of Books

When was this book last read? How popular is it across the world? How many copies of this book exist? Guerilla Dance Project and Tom Mitchell ofUniversity of the West of England are joining forces with the new Library of Birmingham to celebrate the physical book as the centerpiece of information exchange. Transforming a quiet workspace into a beautiful interactive platform, their experience will visualise the unexploited data sets of our public libraries, rewarding bookish curiosity with unexpected connections.

Tom Mitchell, Senior Lecturer in Music Systems at UWE Bristol says, “It is great to have been offered a place on the Books and Print sandbox, I'm looking forward to an exciting and intense three month period of research and development, together with the other participants.

“By combining motion capture technology we will develop a mixed reality experience that will invite members of the public to uncover the hidden lives of books at the new Library of Birmingham. In collaboration with Guerilla Dance, we will transform a quiet workspace within the library, into a beautiful interactive platform that exposes the unexploited data and connections that lie within the library management system.”

Laura Kriefman, Founder and Choreographer of innovative dance company Guerilla Dance Project said, “To be able to spend three months collaborating with inspiring academics such as Tom Mitchell at UWE is a real gift. The opportunity to combine rigorous academic knowledge, practical application and artistic investigation together in the REACT sandbox is exceptionally rare and I am thankful for AHRC forethought for creating this opportunity. I am so excited to see how the passions and inspirations of this research materialise. It feels like there is potential for a really powerful outcome."

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