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 longlisting process, including 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
- young people focus groups to discuss ideas, needs and motivations
A shortlist of three will be chosen from the final works by a selection panel of industry experts, who will work with the youth panel to select the final winner of the £15,000 prize.
Find out more about the grantees.
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.