Research



Making Wonder Tales

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 and materials, including digital 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 one 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 will continue to seed new works. Stories inhabiting it presently include a number of cut-up stories remade from scientific papers that explore air pollution from a lichen perspective, and a story that changes depending on the quality of the air.

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'm currently developing a set of storymaking dice for familes and a flood-proof library book.

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.