Provocare: A New Digital Story Exploring Female Agency and Violence Against Women

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Recently launched, ‘Provocare’ is a multimedia verse thriller created by Meg Vann, writer; Mez Breeze, interaction designer; and Donna Hancox, research lead for Creative Industries at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). It is the first work to be commissioned and produced for ‘Queensland Writers on the International Stage’, an Arts Queensland funded programme created by QUT and The Writing Platform.

Provocare‘ is based on ‘Provocation‘, a short story by Meg Vann, that has been adapted and made into a multimedia verse thriller by the writer working in collaboration with Mez Breeze and Donna Hancox. The work explores themes of female agency and violence against women at a time in Australia when sixty-three women have been murdered by their intimate partners or ex-partners in 2015 alone.

Readers can explore both works online. ‘Provocare’ is available here, and ‘Provocation’ is available here. Writer, Meg Vann, has also shared her experience of collaborating to create digital work of fiction in this article on this site.

Provocare Screenshot

Said writer, Meg Vann:

“Like most women, I live with the effects of violence. Memories of abuse, and ongoing vigilance against harm creates core beliefs and behaviours that often cast women as having victim mentalities. But I believe it makes us survivors. Dedicated to a young woman who lost her life to a stalker, ‘Provocare’ explores this premise: the main character is a survivor of anorexia nervosa. She develops dysfunctional habits that, while self-harming in relation to her illness, are adapted to become tools in her battle for survival against the pernicious and unrecognised violence of a workplace stalker. Surveillance is also a theme in ‘Provocare’ as I am increasingly concerned about the misuse of surveillance technology – designed to improve public safety – in the abuse of women. Providing digital collaboration opportunities, and welcoming all-women teams, is vital in voicing women’s lived experiences, and challenging the predatory viewpoints so dominant in normative cultural narratives”

Interaction designer, Mez Breeze, commented:

“At a time when violence against women is at such catastrophic levels, working with this all-gal ‘Provocare’ team on the first commissioned production for ‘Queensland Writers on the International Stage’ has been a thoroughly rewarding experience. It’s been a privilege to have been invited to design and develop this collaborative digital fiction project with the potential to critically reflect upon such crucial social issues. With Donna at the Project Management helm, Meg the consummate wordsmith, and with the support of The Writing Platform, this has been one of the most successful international teams with which I’ve had the pleasure of working.”

About Queensland Writing on the International Stage

‘Queensland Digital Writing on the international stage: QUT and The Writing Platform’ is an Arts Queensland-funded programme which supports collaborations between writers and interactive designers to develop works for exhibition on The Writing Platform.

The second work created for ‘Queensland Writers on the International Stage’ will be an audio adaptation of the short story ‘Crawl Space’ by Krissy Kneen which will launch later this year.

Said Donna Hancox, research lead for Creative Industries at QUT:
“This project, which is focused on bringing together writers and designers to re-imagine how stories can be crafted and shared, is a really important way of increasing knowledge and skills around digital writing.  The future of writing is collaborative, and the creative works created through this project showcase the benefits of collaboration. The ongoing partnership between Queensland University of Technology, The Writing Platform and Arts Queensland is crucial in delivering information about new forms of writing to writers at all stages of their careers.”

Joanna Ellis, co-founder of The Writing Platform, commented:
“We are delighted to be working with our long-term partners, Queensland University of Technology, to create this opportunity for Queensland-based writers and interaction designers. As well as providing opportunities for the artists directly involved we are able to share their experience of creating digital stories, and of the collaborative process itself, with our wider community of writers and technologists.”  

If you would like to find out more about ‘Provocare’ – including speaking to the artists involved – or ‘Queensland Writers on the International Stage’, please contact:
Joanna Ellis: joanna[at]theliteraryplatform[dot]com


Meg Vann is an emerging crime and thriller writer with an interest in exploring lesser heard voices. Meg founded the Queensland chapter of Sisters in Crime and regularly presents workshops on writing, editing and publishing, with an emphasis on digital innovation. Meg is the former CEO of Queensland Writers Centre, and currently works with Brisbane Writers Festival and The University of Queensland. Her writing has attracted development awards, and is published in Australian literary journals.
Meg’s Blog | Twitter | Facebook 

Mez Breeze‘s award-winning digital writing and games have helped shape interactive genres, internet art and online literature. In August 2015, Mez – along with fellow collaborator Andy Campbell – was awarded both the Tumblr International Prize and The Space’s “Open Call” Commission for their in development transmedia project “Pluto”.  Mez was also shortlisted for both the 2015 Thiel Grant Award for Online Writing and the 2015 “Games Development” Category of the MCV Pacific Women In Games List, which profiles the:  “…most influential women across all facets of the Australian and New Zealand Games Industries.” Mez is a Senior Research Affiliate with The Humanities and Critical Code Studies Lab, was a Judge of Bournemouth University’s 2014 New Media Writing Prize, and is in the process of developing a comprehensive career archive with Duke University’s Curator Collection team. This archive (titled “The Mez Breeze Papers”) is to be housed at the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
Mez’s Website | Twitter | Facebook 

Donna Hancox is the research leader for the creative arts at Queensland University of Technology.  Her background is creative writing and media studies.  Her research and practice focus on the role of storytelling and digital technology in social change.  In 2013 she was a Leverhulme Visiting Fellow at Bath Spa University and is currently the chief investigator on two Arts Queensland projects exploring the digital futures for writing and writers.

About Queensland University of Technology:

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is a highly successful Australian university with an applied emphasis in courses and research. Based in Brisbane, the university has a global outlook, some 44,000 students, including 6000 from overseas, and an annual budget of more than AU$872 million.

Unique to QUT is the Bachelor of Creative Industries, which equips graduates with diverse knowledge, creativity and professional skills across a range of industries and practice.  Located in the Creative Industries Precinct, alongside research centres and creative enterprises, the QUT Creative Industries Faculty is not only training the creative workforce, but working with industry and government to grow the sector.

The Creative Industries Faculty’s offers specialist degrees across a range of creative study areas include the Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Entertainment Industries, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Journalism and Bachelor of Media and Communication degrees. Staff and students of the Faculty are noted for pushing disciplinary boundaries and many are producing bold experimental work in the digital and live domains.  Emphasising practice-led research has resulted in national and international recognition for the Faculty, and QUT is changing and evolving the modes of creative communication through its research.

About The Writing Platform:

The Writing Platform is a website and commissioning programme dedicated to providing inspiration and information for writers and creative technologists on new forms of storytelling. It was launched in 2012 by The Literary Platform and writer, Kate Pullinger, and operates in partnership with Bath Spa University and Queensland University of Technology.

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