The New Media Writing Prize awards evening took place at Bournemouth University on January 17th 2018. Vanita Patel, BA English Student at Bournemouth University, captured the event for us.
On January 17th, Bournemouth University hosted the 8th annual awards ceremony for the New Media Writing Prize. This year’s attendees were lucky to have the opportunity to listen to Adrian Smith, Amuzo Director and one of the creators of the original Tomb Raider games. The evening also consisted of a presentation with the competition’s shortlisted entries and winners as well as giving an insight on some of the judges own personal opinions on what new media narratives meant to them. The event was organised by Jim Pope and was graciously sponsored by if:book boss, Chris Meade, Unicorn Training CEO Peter Phillips and Gorkana’s Philip Smith and Cheryl Douglas.
Adrian Smith talked about his experience with interactive narratives whilst creating Tomb Raider in 1996. Using the New Media Writing Prize’s key elements: Innovation, Interactive and Immersive as a starting point for his presentation, Smith gave an interesting talk about the creation of the iconic gaming franchise. It was clear that during the creation of Tomb Raider, the most important element of it was what the heart of the game should be. Whether it was being able to let the player explore the world, making the game accessible to all, or to produce achievable goals and challenges, Tomb Raider provides many options for whatever type of gamer you are.
The winner of the if:book award, presented by Chris Meade was The Cartographer’s Confession. Written by James Attlee, it is an immersive story based in London, where you interact with the app on location. Containing 3D soundscapes to further immerse the audience as well as having an original musical soundtrack this mixed reality experience is even more exciting. Attlee confessed that this blending of sound and story is something he had wanted to do previously alongside his published works, but wasn’t able to make that happen until now. He also stated that his ‘unposessive-ness of the text’ was an important factor in being able to twist and change the story in order to be able to make it viable with this new, locative media format, as originally the entire narrative would’ve taken 8 hours to complete!
The winner of The Unicorn Student Prize was Natasha Nunn. Her piece was entitled ‘Mary Rose’ and was a thrilling ghost story about her children’s great grandmother. Coming from Alberta, Canada, Nunn was unable to attend the evening in person or Skype in due to the time differences. She did however send in a video expressing her thank you and talked about how experimenting with genre can help new beauty emerge in storytelling.
The Dot Award, is an award for an idea of a new media story for those who may not possess the technical skills or resources to be able to create it. This year’s winner was Lou Sarabadzic whose piece called ‘NERDS’ is about reader response criticism and how readers are the ones who make a piece of writing truly exist.
Winning the Gorkana International Journalism Award, presented by Brad Gyori who spoke about how quality journalism and innovation in terms of new media can be used to tap into common and shared humanity, was a piece called Lunik IX, created by Magdalena Chodownik. It shows the destruction and poverty in Romania and is a media rich collation of videos and photos taken and edited on a mobile phone, on a website that has been purposely structured like the building blocks the residents live in: giving a horizontal and vertical design. Chodownik was able to Skype in to accept the award, stating that bringing people into the space of New Media changes the perspective of the audience: ‘let them feel like they’re in this place.’