Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality. It also means changing lives for the better. This is what keeps us awake at night and gets us out of bed in the morning. We want to see the arts and cultural sector make the most of technology to create new artforms, reach new audiences and engage existing audiences in new ways. Find out more about Nesta and our creative economy or education work.
You will be asked to submit two examples of existing work, and a short story which will form the basis of your project alongside a proposal to explain the idea behind the work you would like to create through Alternarratives and how you will do this.
There will be 10 projects in the initial longlist who will each receive a £1,000 R&D bursary to develop their ideas into final works over a development phase. There will then be a shortlisting process from these final works to select three final projects. From that shortlist, one winner will be chosen and awarded £15,000. All prizes or bursaries will be awarded to the lead of the project/submission and will be subject to signing an agreement with Nesta.
We know that every applicant will have differing levels of knowledge and ability to create and deliver a short-form storytelling work in a new format. We want the workshops to be useful to everyone. They will include exploration of innovation of form, future methods of storytelling and co-creation best practice. Once the 10 projects or ideas have been shortlisted, we may alter the workshops to best suit the participants. We also plan to host a young people focus group to discuss your ideas in conjunction with their expression of their needs, motivations and preferences to help you develop your work.
Location is currently TBC but is likely to be a mix of London and regional. We will have travel bursaries available for the workshops.
No, there won’t be any division of ages in entrants but you must be 18 or over to enter.
No - you must be 18 or over to enter. But there will be other ways for young people to get involved and explore or feedback on the works created later in the process. If you are aged between 8-18 and are interested in writing, you might like to find out more about Nesta alumnus Ministry of Stories.
Yes - anyone 18 or over can enter but please be mindful of the timeline and time commitment that the longlisted ideas will need for development and completion.
Yes, as long as the person you are submitting on behalf of fits the eligibility criteria, has consented to be entered and can be contacted via email and telephone.
The winner will be announced in June 2020.
The bursary must be used by the shortlisted project lead during the R&D phase to develop the new work or to continue work on an existing innovation, as per their proposal from the submission process.
The prize should be used to support innovation in short-form storytelling.
This is a brand new initiative from Nesta in its pilot year, so we don’t yet have previous winners.
Yes - those receiving funding are responsible for the payment of taxes where applicable when using the prize money. It will be the responsibility of the prize winner to pay any tax due.
In this first year of Alternarratives, we are exploring whether innovations in short-form writing could help re-engage young people with reading. We are keeping the brief open to encourage a huge range of creative solutions to come through. We’re looking for bold and creative ideas that use all the tools available to writers and creators today to tell stories in new ways. We want to know what is out there already, how we can support more of these ideas and how we might help them gain traction with the reading audience.
Either! Please bear in mind if you are referencing real people, you will need their permission.
No - we want to hear all your ideas, but we won’t be supporting traditional short-form writing and linear written documents in Word or equivalent.
Both - we want to get an understanding of what is out there and where these ideas are coming from.
No. There is no brief beyond the target audience of young people aged 11-16 and exploring how this may help re-engage them with reading.
Yes - Alternarratives is all about stimulating new work, encouraging new forms of storytelling and exposing writers to new ways of using technology to tell their story. We strongly encourage those that do not identify with this genre to enter.
Yes. We recommended that you think about what low tech options you can use yourself and be inventive with, or finding someone that could partner on the project with you.
Yes - but you don’t need one. We want to discover what ideas are already out there and how we can support these to become a reality, as well as working to develop new new voices and writers who don’t already have access to the industry.
Yes - we are happy to receive applications from all writers and creators.
Yes, we do accept collaborative work. One of the collaborators will need to make the application on behalf of everyone involved.
Yes - there is no limit to creativity!
Entry is online only, via the entry system. Only entries submitted via the system will be accepted. Part or unfinished entries will be discounted.
We can only accept entries via the online link.
At Nesta we focus on providing support and fund through our programmes. To find out more information on current and future opportunities follow us on twitter or #Alternarratives and sign up to our newsletter.
No, the prize is free to enter.
The deadline for entries is at 9am 13 January 2020.
You can start and submit a new entry - any part entries will be discounted. We would recommend drafting your proposal in a Word document or similar before submitting through the online form, so you can save a copy of this.
The prize will be awarded to a bold and creative use of storytelling in an inventive form. We want to leave the format/platform as open as possible to encourage lateral thinking about story development. The story will also be judged by the panel on quality of writing, how it engages the audience, innovation in form, interface and interactivity, as well as in overall quality of content. In the early stages, the panels will be more interested in the concept of the idea. Later, the panels will be looking at how the project has changed and developed during the R&D phase and the final content.
Yes, providing you have enough material to complete the application form proposal - we are open to brand new or existing ideas that need development. We will expect longlisted entries to be complete at the end of the R&D phase in order to be eligible for the prize.
Entries will be assessed in a multi-stage process, working with a youth panel and a selection panel of professionals with expertise in storytelling, technology and innovating ideas.
In its pilot year, Alternarratives will be testing how these types of ideas could help re-engage young people with reading again. As the end audience of the new content will be young people, we want to get them involved in the creation and selection processes to make sure we’re finding the right ideas.
The youth panel will help us create a longlist which will then go to the selection panel after full projects are submitted. A team of Nesta staff members will be reading and reviewing every entry.
The selection panel of professionals will be announced soon - keep a look out for updates.
We aren’t able to give individual feedback to every applicant due to the volume of applications we expect to receive. If you are successfully longlisted, you will receive personalised feedback on your work to help guide you during the R&D phase. As this is a pilot, we hope to share with the public as much information as possible during our learning process, from what we discover is already out there to how new projects have been developed.
The deadline for entries is 13 January 2020 - we will then complete the first stage longlisting process with the youth panel and inform all entrants of the decision by 28 February 2020. The R&D stage will then begin.
Yes! We hope this initiative will help to stimulate as many ideas as possible.
The work, all intellectual property and rights will still belong to you. We are looking into different ways that we can showcase the work of the 10 longlisted writers/creators and will be exploring how this could work once we know more about the longlisted works. Watch this space!
We are hoping this will not only showcase the brilliant ideas already out there, but also stimulate new ideas for writers or creators, either to push their current work or collaborate more. We will take learnings from this pilot to share with the public to encourage this type of intervention and also to plan the next Alternarratives prize…
Yes, definitely! If your query wasn’t answered above send us an email at [email protected] and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.