Simon Popple from the University of Leeds and Imran Ali, Tom Morgan and Dean Vipond are working on a collaboration around storytelling tools for large media archives; the team has chosen to use archive media from the London Riots as content for storytellers.

We are now halfway through this project and it has been an extremely rewarding process for me. We have moved from a set of abstract ideas and aspirations to developing a set of principles and defined functions that will allow for the creation of tools that can facilitate interactive digital storytelling. We began the process by looking at basic principles and examining what tools were already out there and by defining what we wanted to create in relation to their limitations and shortcomings. This threw up a range of approaches and some interesting formats such as the Cowbird project (http://cowbird.com/) and new forms of digital storytelling software like Klynt (http://www.klynt.net/)

Once we were relatively certain of the nature of our concept we began to define core functions and to think about what users would want to do and how they could collect, interpret, repurpose and republish material and how the narratives of their own stories could be captured and shared.  We did this through Persona modelling which was a new concept to me – and which really opened my eyes to the ways in which these concepts could be built from the bottom up. I am now a convert! We decided to use the London riots as a case study and to pick examples of different participants/victims to work through how a particular story could be told and what range of materials and opinions could be used to represent it.  We are now at the stage of turning this into a series of profiles from which we are constructing the software interface and necessary functions from a user perspective. More later.

Simon Popple

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