Projects & Research

I'm currently undertaking an EPSRC-funded PhD in Design and Computing at the Highwire Centre for Doctoral Training at Lancaster University. My practice-based research explores the use of different methods, materials and technologies in the making of environmental stories. I'm investigating the role of the author and extending my writing practice by using drawing, walking, oral composition, electronics and photography among other methods to make stories that can be shared in new ways. The work I've produced so far includes a story you can only uncover by climbing higher, another you explore by touch to hear in the dark, and a story that changes depending on the quality of the air.

Persephone's Footsteps is a reimagining of the Persephone myth, a response to escalating carbon emissions, and a map that can be used to explore any city. As Persephone climbs higher – first to escape the underworld and then to escape the polluted streets of the city – the listener must climb higher to hear more of her story.


For Hades is a collection of stories from the surface, gathered by Persephone to take back to the Underworld. Each artefact holds fragments of the literatures of other living beings, from the myths of trees to the stories of snails and seed tales carried by the wind. The stories are explored through touch and sound.

The Lichen Records
 The Lichen Records is a collection of lichen-inspired stories, an archive of found materials, and a letter to the future. This work is slow-growing like the organisms that inspire it and the intention is that it will continue to seed new works. Stories inhabiting it presently include a number of fantastical cut-up stories remade from scientific papers that explore air pollution from a lichen perspective, a story that changes depending on the quality of the air and a story that needs sunlight to grow. The image above is a solargraph made from an old fizzy pop can and exposed for three months. The lines show the path of the sun, but people come and go too quickly to be captured.

How to Catch a River I'm a writer-in-residence on Ensemble  a five year project investigating digital technologies and environmental change at Lancaster University. The theme for the project's first year is flooding and I've developed a River Library, which families can use to make stories about rivers, and I'm currently working on a series of flood-proof tales.

Photo: Liz Edwards

Stories for National Trust's Clumber Park Walled Kitchen Garden
This site-specific project was a collaboration with HighWire colleague Liz Edwards, who had made an incredible listening orchard in the walled kitchen garden at Clumber Park. I wrote two stories for the orchard inspired by the garden, its heritage, visitors and folklore and have worked with local schoolchildren on storymaking activities in the space. 'The Weeder Woman' and 'The Scarecrow and the Boy' can be heard by plucking a wooden listening apple from a tree.

 Photo: Liz Edwards

Data Stories
Prior to starting my PhD research I took part in the Environmental Internet of Things project at Lancaster University. I set out to explore how data could inspire storymaking and whether the stories developed could then play a part in communicating what was learned from the data in an engaging way. The research took me to fields, riverbanks and the bay in the Conwy valley. I spent time with scientists and technologists on the EIoT team and developed four stories inspired by the landscape, conversations with researchers, the data being collected and local folklore. The stories highlight the interconnectedness of the valley and the environmental risk posed by pathogens entering the river. 'The Sheep's Tale' and 'The Soil's Tale' relate to sensor data collected during the project and 'The Tide's Tale' and 'The Wind's Tale' relate to open data available online. A digital prototype (not currently available online) was developed with Ben Taylor and Graham Dean. The live environmental conditions in the valley determined which story was visible to the reader. The text of the stories can be read here.

Since 2010, I have run workshops and activities for events and organisations including the Manchester Children’s Book Festival, Liverpool’s On the Waterfront, Chester Performs, The Dukes, Spotlight, the Bluecoat, The Word Festival and The House of Fairy Tales. I've worked as a project manager and editor for Litfest, a family learning tutor for Lancashire Adult Learning and I've lectured and run workshops on fairy tales for UCLAN and fiction for MMU.

Previous work includes:

Wonderlore's Travelling Story Shopsite-specific activities and workshops encouraging people of all ages to make new stories inspired by interaction with elements from folklore, fairy tales and myth.

'One of our most popular workshops of the summer, Claire’s enchanting set up sparked the imagination of children and adults alike.' Chester Performs

Castle Park Storiesa Heritage Lottery-funded project for Litfest, working with people from the Lancaster area to uncover hidden histories and share them through creative non-fiction and photography in an exhibition of stories.

Malkin Child, by Livi Michael, is a powerful reimagining of the most famous witch trial in English history, suitable for ages 9+. As the Lancashire Reads Book 2012, Malkin Child has been well received by children and adults. I edited the book and managed its production for Litfest to mark the 400th anniversary of the Lancashire Witch Trials.

The Language of Footprints introduces three new prose pieces from emerging North West writers. Through the short story and creative non-fiction forms the writers explore three very different Lancashire landscapes, each visiting layers of memory tied to places and considering the ways the landscapes we inhabit shape who we become. I commissioned and edited the pieces, which were read as part of Litfest 2012.

Paraxis: co-edited with Andy Hedgecock and Carys Bray. Publishing unnerving, uncanny and fantastical stories, essays and artwork.

New Fairy Talesan illustrated magazine I founded to encourage the writing and enjoyment of new fairy tales. Launched in 2008, our final issue was published in November 2010. To find out more about the magazine, read back issues and enjoy free audio stories please visit the website.

The Fairy Tale Cupboard
A blog about fairy tales, which I kept between July 2009 and January 2011.

Ways to make a word dress
An online scrapbook created whilst working on The Word Dress commission for Litfest.

Field guide to digital fiction
A resource I compiled in 2010 as part of a research project on digital fiction for my MA.