The New Media Writing Prize (NWMP), now in its ninth year, has taken place at Bournemouth University’s (BU’s) Talbot Campus.
The international awards, which celebrate and showcase exciting and inventive stories across a range of formats, platforms and media, serve to embrace ideas from content creators based across the world who are building on the future of storytelling.
This year, guest speakers Stella Wisdom and Jerry Jenkins were present at the awards, speaking about how digital storytelling impacts on their work at the British Library, as well as how budding authors could use selected content that the library has made publically available. Last year, gaming veteran Adrian Smith joined the event to speak about his experiences in creating Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider video game series.
The event judges entries for four categories: The if:book UK New Media Writing Award, the Unicorn Student Award, the Dot Award, and the What’s New in Journalism Award. Dr Jim Pope, who co-ordinates the awards and sits on the judging panel, said: “We’ve had entries from across the planet, everywhere in the world, which is amazing. I think it’s really important to mention that we really are global and welcome work from everywhere. I want to thank all of the sponsors, without them, we can’t hold the event, and the judges that looked at over 150 entries.”
He added: “This year’s awards have had the strongest shortlist I’ve seen since I became involved in 2010, with some amazingly good work – judges went through three rounds of discussion before separating the entries.
Brad Gyori and Mary Hogarth, judges and BU academics from the Faculty of Media and Communication, took to the stage to award the 2018 What’s New In Publishing? Award to Berta Tilmantaite and her team for TRACES: Traversing the Past, an online interactive documentary piece which examines the routes taken by Lithuanian deportees to Siberia.
Team member Karolis Vyšniauskas, said: “The biggest challenge in creating this piece was the need for more time, it’s very hard to edit down these interviews and interesting material, including when people don’t say a lot, but are ‘saying’ everything by this. It was a self-funded project, as it usually is with us, but somehow we pulled through.”
“In Lithuania, there is a problem where journalists tend to see new media projects not as a tool for storytelling, but a tool for new technology, and it should be the opposite. A journalists’ work continues – journalism is really, really necessary these days, and it’s good to see bright faces because sometimes you can feel alone in journalism, but you are not alone.”
Chris Meade, Director of if:book UK awarded the 2018 prize to VESSEL: virtual experience and superimposed story world in Elliot Lake project, by Kate Lackey.
Kate said: “The VESSEL project is a trans-media narrative and integrated alternate reality game set in the town of Elliot Lake in remote northern Ontario. This is a community arts initiative driven by a group of professional and amateur artists, writers, musicians, crafts people and visual media artists, who are collectively called the VESSEL trans-media storytelling lab. This is not-for-profit and its mandate is to investigate how media representation can progress community renewal.”
Previous if:book UK Dot Award winner, Lou Sarabadzic, also gave a brief talk on her project which looked at pop culture film names, like Into The Wild, and how these could influence content generators who shared their understanding through images.
Jackie Kennedy, Unicorn Chief Operating Officer of Unicorn Training, awarded the 2018 Unicorn Training Student Prize to BU student Corrie Smith for Captain Geriatric, an interactive story which asks viewers to explore the fictional town of Dumpleton - home to ageing superhero, Captain Geriatric. The prize, open to anyone who is a student at the time of content creation, offers winners the chance to take part in a three-month paid internship at the publisher’s HQ in Bournemouth.
Corrie said: “Captain Geriatric is basically something I wanted as a kid, but didn’t have – interactive stories. I’m a kid at heart, so when I was back at school, I created a superhero, and people created all of these young and fit ones. But why can’t we have an old war veteran who’s come back to save the day?”
Closing the awards ceremony, The New Media Writing Prize 2018 was awarded to A Dictionary of the Revolution by Amira Hanafi, whose creation looked at people’s recollections to words and definitions in the wake of the Arab Spring in Egypt. Amira said: “Thank you very much for recognising A Dictionary of the Revolution with the New Media Writing Prize. Thanks to Dr James Pope, Chris Meade and the jury for selecting the work and recognising practitioners of digital literature, e literature, new media writing and strengthening the field in general.
“The work is a series of 125 texts, over 200 people, talking about the language of the Egyptian revolution. My team and I recorded 200 hours of conversation; the material I worked with for a few years. I intended it to be a printed book, but as I worked to build an audio clip library, I started to realise that print was not the medium for this project because the narrative I put together was a complex and chaotic memory and non-linear narrative.”
To read more, and to see the shortlisted and winning films, visit: http://www.newmediawritingprize.co.uk/.