Making Day for Writers at MIX 2013

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A day of experimentation, collaboration and play for writers looking to learn new skills and develop their creative practice.

The Making Day consists of showcases and hands on experimentation for writers, artists and academics interested in learning new skills to help them extend their creative practice. The key themes of the day are: tackling the creative process, collaborating with other creators and writing for new platforms and audiences.

Workshops are designed and led by writers, technologists and other practitioners whose work blends storytelling, creativity and digital technologies. By the end of the day participants will have created something new and be inspired to explore new creative opportunities.

Making Day is brought to you by Bath Spa University and The Writing Platform as part of the MIX Conference 15-17 July, 2013.

Book now or find our details about the venue.


10:00am Welcome from Kate Pullinger, Writer and Professor of Creative Writing and Digital Media, Bath Spa University.

10:15am Keynote and group exercise with Naomi Alderman, Writer and Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. Naomi will lead a group exercise to create a massively multi-authored story with all the Making Day participants.

11:00am An introduction to The Writing Platform and TWP bursary project showcases, hosted by Joanna Ellis, Associate Director, The Literary Platform.

The Fabler App: Bursary recipients, James Wheale and Ben Gwalchmai, showcase a prototype of their app which reveals story through movement.

Creating with strangers: Bursary recipients, Caden Lovelace and Laura Grace, discuss their approach to working together.

11:45am Break

12:00pm Workshop

13:00pm Lunch

14:00pm Workshop continued

16:30pm Quick fire feedback from workshop groups


Making Day attendees are invited to take part in one of the seven workshops on offer. There is a maximum of 15 places on each workshop and places will be allocated on the day on a first come first serve basis. Please come along early to avoid disappointment.

Workshop 1: Improv Writing with David Varela, writer

David Varela

Writing an interactive story means anticipating what your audience is going to do next – and being able to quickly ad lib when they do the unexpected. This workshop will help you exercise those improvisational muscles, making sure your interactive work is truly responsive.

David Varela is a writer and producer with experience in a huge range of media. He has written for film, theatre, radio and games, working on some of the world’s most exciting transmedia projects along the way. These include Perplex City (for Mind Candy), Lewis Hamilton: Secret Life (for Reebok) and Xi (for Sony PlayStation). He was also script consultant on the apocalyptic fitness game Zombies, Run!

His most recent production was The Seed, a transmedia adventure combining four plays, a treasure hunt and an online story, as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. With Naomi Alderman, he teaches Arvon’s residential ‘Writing for Games’ course.

Workshop 2: The Object of the Story with Lucy and Barney Heywood, Stand and Stare Collective. 

Stand and Stare logo

Objects often spark stories or memories, from the jewelry we wear to the ornaments in our homes. If you are a writer and would like to explore how digital technology is offering new platforms for telling stories, join us for this fascinating workshop. Led by artists, Lucy and Barney Heywood from Stand + Stare Collective, you will write, record and edit a short story. Using RFID technology (found in libraries and Oyster cards), you will attach your story to an object to create a unique audio experience by the end of the day.

Lucy and Barney will draw on their broad experience of writing and producing audio and video experiences. As Co-artistic Directors of Stand + Stare, their current clients and collaborators include the Royal Shakespeare Company, MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry) in Manchester, and Birmingham REP to name a few.

Workshop 3: Making Things Fast: How to Stay Motivated and Creative with Leila Johnston

Leila JohnstonThis workshop will cover how to practice *making* regularly, deliberately doing things out of strong personal interests and enthusiasms rather than a commercial brief, as a sort of creative rehersal. Using limited resources the group will create mini-projects that correspond to things they don’t feel they know how to do, but to which they can bring their personal skills and passions to.

Leila Johnston is Managing Editor of The Literary Platform’s magazine site. She is a writer, maker and broadcaster based in Sheffield. She is the co-creator of popular geek comedy podcast Shift Run Stop, was a columnist for the BBC Comedy website, and regularly writes for WIRED UK and other publications. She is the creator of the newspaper ‘Hackers!’ for ‘makers, players and explorers’ and the author of two humour books including an interactive gamebook. Leila now speaks and writes regularly on everything from the culture of technology to creativity and science fiction.

Her choose-your-own-adventure book and iPhone app Enemy of Chaos was featured in WIRED UK in 2009, and her humour book How to Worry Friends and Inconvenience People was adapted for interactive animations by BBC Comedy in 2010.

Work shop 4: Transmedia Activism with Donna Hancox, Leverhulme Visiting Fellow, Bath Spa University

The conventions of transmedia storytelling are predominantly deployed in the area of film and television; and particularly big budget and mainstream projects. However, there is increasing interest by community and activist organisations in how they can exploit the apparent strengths of stories told across multiple media platforms to raise awareness or challenge dominant perspectives about social issues. This workshop will introduce participants to the features of this dynamic and emerging field of storytelling, and provide some innovative examples of transmedia storytelling projects. During the workshop we will guide participants as they create a plan for a project of their own and share those ideas with the group for feedback. This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in exploring new ways of telling stories and engaging audiences.

Dr Donna Hancox is a lecturer in Creative Writing and Literary Studies from Queensland University of Technology, and is currently at Bath Spa University as a Leverhulme Visiting Fellow. She has been involved in researching community storytelling practices and leading storytelling projects since 2009, and has more recently been researching transmedia activism. She has presented workshops on this subject in India and Australia.

Workshop 5: Exploring branching narrative using inklewriter with Jon Ingold

Inkle LogoAs we move to consuming fiction on devices, readers have new opportunities to invest in the narratives they encounter. In this workshop, learn how to use inklewriter to make stories that readers explore and shape, but that still surprise and delight.

inkle are the creative software company behind Dave Morris’ Frankenstein app that recreated Mary Shelley’s classic as a dialogue with the reader, and the interactive fantasy adventure story, Sorcery!

Workshop 6: Telling Stories to Our Computers

Paul Rissen

However much we like to think of computers as being fiendishly clever, the truth is that they’re actually pretty thick. Life as a computer can be quite dull – all you can see is an endless stream of bits, bytes and text go past, which the humans seem delighted by. No wonder, therefore, that we get frustrated with our machines from time to time – something which appears basic to us, they just don’t understand. In this workshop, we’ll explore a method for bringing the joys of storytelling to computers – helping the machines to understand the delights and drama of the narratives we construct.

This workshop will explore how the structures and narrative devices we’re familiar with might translate into the world of the Web, and how this can support new ways of crafting and experiencing stories for ourselves. As well as a closer look at some of the theory, participants will have a chance to try their hand at translating stories for machines using RDF and SPARQL.

Paul Rissen is a Senior Information Architect in BBC Future Media, having served his apprenticeship working on BBC iPlayer in the year up to launch. Since then, he’s worked on the BBC’s /programmes platform, across BBC Knowledge & Learning, and News, and, from 2008 onwards, has been investigating the interplay between Linked Data, the Semantic Web, and storytelling. Paul is a keen advocate of Domain Driven Design, having taught the process to design trainees and MSc students at City University and has written about it for several publications. He was a co-producer on the R&D Mythology Engine and Storybox prototypes.

Workshop 7: Ekphrastic E-Poetry Exercises with Sarah Tremlett and guest

Bath Spa University has an exciting art collection on display at Corsham Court. Following a quick tour you will select one artwork to provide a brief and instinctive written response (which can also include photographing or using drawings to capture the subject). These will be used to create experimental e-poetry sketches, interpreting the original artworks in new ways, and using edited sound and visuals to produce short, response-based, playful e-poetry exercises. The aim is to facilitate a liberated approach which attendees can then bring to their own practice.

Sarah Tremlett is a screen-based poet, arts theorist and doctoral researcher at Chelsea College of Art and Design. In conjunction with performance poet Lucy English she cofounded MIX 2012 and is currently organising Liberated Words film poetry event at Bristol Poetry Festival as part of National Poetry Day, October 3.

Book now!

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