We ran an open call for bold, creative ideas that explore new ways to tell a story and push the boundary of how we consume literature. This was a chance for writers and creatives to consider the future of storytelling and make use of new technologies or formats.
We asked that proposals were submitted for work that could be experienced in a conclusive form within 10 minutes, consumable via a platform that is readily available, such as a smartphone, tablet or computer. Works did not have to be digital but we excluded linear written documents in Word or equivalent. We wanted to leave format/platform as open as possible to encourage lateral thinking about story development.
A long-listing process involving writers, publishers, editors and a youth panel in partnership with Franklin Scholars and Copthall School, has provided nine writers/creators with:
- a £1,500 R&D bursary towards the realisation and development of a new or existing idea into a final work
- ideation workshops in partnership with Bath Spa University including innovation of form, future methods of storytelling and co-curation of best practice
- 1:1 mentoring sessions with experienced digital writers
- bespoke support from a creative technologist
Give feedback to help find the winning idea
Now we need your help to pick a winner. In collaboration with BBC Taster, we’re looking for 13-16 year olds to test, rate and provide feedback on the live projects. Anyone can view them and have your say on who wins the £15,000 prize. We will view the public feedback with an expert panel to help select the final winner.
Our story-consuming patterns and habits have changed dramatically in the last few years. In more traditional literary and theatrical forms, we submit entirely to the storyteller, but now as games overtake music and video combined as an economic force, the emerging trend for experience consumption is leaning towards active rather than passive. Theatre has evolved significantly over the past 20 years, embracing more innovative, experiential and personalised forms to both critical acclaim and commercial success.
At the same time, research from organisations such as the National Literacy Trust has shown that reading for pleasure dramatically decreases in young people after they leave primary school and the gap between students’ reading ability and their age grows wider each year. The Centre for Longitudinal Studies found that reading for pleasure has a four times greater impact on academic success than one parent having a degree, and young people who enjoy reading are significantly less likely to have mental health problems, and are more likely to succeed after education.
Nesta is keen to explore this more. Alternarratives will combine Nesta’s proven dedication to stimulating innovation in the arts and our aim to equip all learners with the skills and knowledge to thrive in the future, to find the most exciting examples of short-form storytelling in the 21st century that can help change the way young people engage with reading.