The StoryPlaces Project
Location-based narratives have huge cultural potential, but are only just beginning to be properly explored. This is because of the chaotic nature of app development, and a lack of theoretical understanding of what it means for digital narratives to be situated and contextual. This project aims to create a foundation for location-based narratives, and to co-design and prototype authoring tools that embody those poetics and enable practical creative works to be developed and evaluations and analyses of those works to occur. By bringing together computer scientists, hypertext theorists, and narrative and literary experts we can explore interdisciplinary ways of working together and building systems that lead to real innovation in both technology and the creative arts.
Our objective is to explore how an understanding of poetics can inform software engineering, specifically the design of innovative software. The research questions are:
- What are the poetics of location-based storytelling? Through a number of separate story projects based around three complimentary places we intend to explore the poetics of location-based stories. Our assumption being that the character of place and affordances of the location-based technology will shape narrative, and in turn that the narrative will shape the experience of place.
- How can these poetics be reinforced/encouraged through software? Exploratory work in the story projects will transition into a more focused analysis of how narrative structures relate to the location-based technology, and which authoring processes are common or especially useful to authors. The staggered nature of the story projects means that the analysis of each story project can inform the technology development for the next project. In this way we hope to achieve the iterative evolution that we have previously identified as critical, developing tools that support the emerging poetics, encourage additional exploration, and in turn informing the next stage of co-design.
- What are the processes/practices that enable critical theory to inform software design and engineering? Existing co-design methods will form a good basis to begin the project, but by reflecting on the interactions between authors and developers, and on the way in which critical observations transform into new technology requirements, we will refine these methods for critical theory in the first story project, and in the second two story projects, develop and evaluate new co-design interaction methods.