REACT’s ‘Books & Print’ Sandbox begins

Eight new collaborations between creative economy partners and academic researchers will take part in a nationwide program to explore Books and Print. The projects will engage with the history and concept of the book, with the goal of keeping reading exciting through the use of tech. Each collaboration is set to receive AHRC funding of £50,000 for the academic partner, including up to £10,000 to the Creative Economy partner and will be developed at the Pervasive Media Studio, Watershed, Bristol.

The selected commissions are:

Jekyll 2.0 by SlingShot and Anthony Mandal is a pervasive media adaptation of the novel for the age of the bio-hacker that will use readers’ bio-data to shape a live game experience.

Writer On The Train by Fabrizio Nevola, Agant and James Attlee will use the linear space of the Bristol to London mainline, utilising smart phones and GPS to deliver a new literary form that will respond to the reader’s journey in real time and with relevance to the train’s location.

‘these pages fall like ash’ by Tom Abba and Circumstance will work together with leading authors Nick Harkaway and Neil Gaiman to invite an audience to participate in a digital-first narrative experience where they can alter a story, challenging traditional publishing norms.

The Next Time(line) by Amblr and Bradley Stephens will work with three classic literary texts to create a dynamic and malleable timeline for the digital world using data visualization and offering much more than its paper counterpart.

Book Kernel by Hodcha and Alexis Nuselovici will explore event-based publishing. Experimenting with a live poetry reading in Swansea, Book Kernel will allow audiences to curate and print a personal memento of the event, incorporating selected content and social media.

The Secret Lives of Books by Guerilla Dance Company and Tom Mitchell
will transform a quiet workspace at the new Library of Birmingham into a beautiful interactive platform that visualizes the unexploited data sets of our public libraries showing how, where, by whom and how often books have been read.

Digitising The Dollar Princess by Nicola Thomas and Bow Software will break new digital ground in the genre of biography to create a compelling non-linear reading experience exploring the story of Lady Curzon of Kedleston, who recorded her time as a Vicereine of India between 1989 and 1906 in intimate detail through letters, diaries and photographs.

‘Little j’ Hyper Local News by Justin Lewis and Behaviour tackles the problem of how to create a digital model for collecting local news content using behavioral psychology to explore how to inspire local people to become citizen journalists in an age where local reporting is in decline.

The commissions come under the banner of Books and Print Sandbox, produced by iShed as part of the Sandbox Programme and funded by the REACT Knowledge Exchange Hub for the Creative Economy. REACT will provide three months funding to each of the eight projects to enable the development of a ground-breaking prototype.

As well as the funding, Sandbox will offer assistance on the projects’ development through a community of potential collaborators for current and future projects. There will be a structured innovation lab process featuring research blogs, showcase and feedback events and technical support as well as mentoring.

Books and Print Sandbox is part of REACT, led by UWE Bristol (the University of the West of England), one of four UK knowledge exchange hubs. REACT supports innovative products and transformational services by bringing together companies and academics through game-changing collaborations using the sandbox model.

Find out more about the programme and its 2013 commissions.

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