The Narrative and Emerging Technology Lab (NET) explores experiential storytelling through new forms of narrative delivery and audience interaction
The Narrative and Emerging Technology Lab (NET) at CCCI engages with the shifts afforded by new forms of narrative delivery and audience interaction within the UK and internationally, from digital fiction, audio, and live performance, film and tv, through to virtual and augmented reality as well as projects that use artificial intelligence, machine learning, algorithmic writing practices and locative-aware narratives.
Experiential storytelling encompasses works that foreground the experience of the audience or reader; works that offer this type of personalised experience are becoming increasingly prevalent.
Other research themes include immersion, automation, data and publishing; we define these themes broadly and are interested in how new forms of storytelling can respond to and learn from works from other fields that explore the potential of technologies.
The ethics of technology and storytelling are also key to our work, including accessibility and appropriation, but also issues around gender and embodiment in VR, algorithmic bias in cultural works that use AI, and others.
CCCI leads for Bath Spa University on both the South West Creative Technology Network and the Bristol + Bath Creative R&D Partnership; a great deal of the practice-based and scholarly research emerging from these two large creative industries research projects focuses on or utilises new forms of digitally-mediated narrative.
Building on the work done through the field-defining Ambient Literature research project (2016-2018), NET is also a key collaborator on the Paper Nations project Beyond the Book, and draws together work done on narrative across other Bath Spa University research centres and groups, including the Creative Writing Research Centre, Making Books, the Centre for Media Research, and Elastic Spaces.
NET has a cohort of six PhD students working on digital writing projects, including narrative, embodiment and gender in virtual reality, and smartphone fiction.
Trace (working title) is a locative audio work set and delivered in Bath. The output takes the form of a dérive through the city centre, punctuated with song and binaural audio recordings for the purpose of generating affect.
Three narrative routes are proposed:
Each route is tied to a particular region of the city and time of experience – curated by the lead artist to enhance the evocation of the tone under consideration. Conversation AI is in addition used to drive text-based elements that organise the sound components into coherent short stories that trace the movements of fictionalised city inhabitants. These narratives are designed to engage the user in a two-way interaction to heighten the intimate, individual nature of the work.
Associated projects include The Writing Platform, a website unique in its focus on providing digital knowledge for writers across both industry and academia; MIX, the biennial international conference on creative writing and technology; and the International Journal of Creative Media Research, a journal devoted to pushing forward the approaches to publishing practice-based research. In addition, NET has on-going relationships with trade publishers including Audible, Hachette, Pan MacMillan and Pottermore.