Future and Form in the Roundtable Discussion on ‘Interactive Writing: Games and VR’
Future and Form researchers Sasha Bergstrom-Katz and Wes Brown join an exciting and esteemed group of academics to discuss interactive writing in the digital age as part of the Futures for Creative Writing Online Conference, hosted by UEA and EACWP on Friday 21 May and Saturday 22 May.
The roundtable event is chaired by Project Lead, Henry Sutton and the conference is co-organised by Future and Form steering committee member, Tessa McWatt. Please find the programme below. More information on the conference can be found here.
Digital Technology and Creative Writing:Exploring the post-typographic literary landscape on UEA’s Literary Digital Project ‘Future and Form’.
Bergstrom-Katz and Brown discuss their findings as CHASE researchers on the Arts Council England funded project entitled Future and Form, which is based at the University of East Anglia. Future and Form has appointed six creative writers and paired them with digital technology partners in order to produce ‘new form literature.’ The co-authored paper offers an interactive-overview of the project and will report on our research into how authors working collaboratively with creative technologies changed the role of the author, how these new mediums facilitated changes in perceptions of the literary, and the extent to which digital forms foster greater inclusivity. The paper also summarises how multi-modal forms of writing extended the practices of authorship and readership, considers how far the works pushed the boundaries of literary form, and seeks to understand how audiences experienced new forms of literature.
Sasha Bergstrom-Katz (Birkbeck, University of London) is an artist and second-year PhD candidate at Birkbeck, University of London in Psychosocial Studies. She holds a three-year MFA in Art from the University of California, Irvine and exhibits internationally in arts and theatre spaces.
Wes Brown (University of Kent) is a writer and CHASE doctoral scholar at the University of Kent. He teaches Creative Writing at the University of East London and is currently writing an autofiction about pro wrestling.
Interactive Writing: Games & VR.
This roundtable will focus on interactive writing and Creative Writing for video games and virtual reality. We will share best practices and pedagogical tools instructors can use to leverage interactivity and games in Creative Writing classrooms. Software like Twine, Imagine 7, Bitsy, and RPG Maker, and Virtual Reality offerings like Oculus Quest and Tilt Brush, are relatively easy to use and adaptable for many different kinds of writing, from fiction to poetry, to multimodal storytelling. Our panel will show how to incorporate these tools in the classroom and workshop to write compelling digital narratives and poems that promote empathy through interactivity.
Margot Douaihy (Franklin Pierce University), PhD, is the author of Scranton Lace (Clemson University Press), the Lambda Literary Finalist Girls Like You (Clemson University Press) and I Would Ruby If I Could (Factory Hollow Press). Her true-crime poetry project, Bandit/Queen: The Runaway Story of Belle Starr, is forthcoming with Clemson University Press in 2021. A Lecturer at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire, Douaihy is a Poetry Board Member of Philadelphia Stories, Founding Member of the Creative Writing Studies Organization, and a Digital/Multimodal Section Editor of Journal of Creative Writing Studies. Her writing has been featured in PBS NewsHour, Colorado Review, The Florida Review, North American Review, Mystery Tribune, and elsewhere.
Julialicia Case (University of Wisconsin Green Bay) is an Assistant Professor of the Humanities and English at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, where she teaches courses in fiction, creative nonfiction, digital writing, and literature, with a particular emphasis in game studies, speculative fiction, and worldbuilding. She is a co- director of the UWGB Center for Games and Interactive Media and an editor for the Digital, Multimodal, and Multimedia section of the Journal of Creative Writing Studies. Her fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Crazyhorse, Willow Springs, Blackbird, and other journals. You can learn more about her writing and scholarship at www.julialiciacase.com.
Eric Freeze (Wabash College) is the author of four books, including French Dive (memoir), Invisible Men (stories), Hemingway on a Bike (essays) and Dominant Traits (stories). He has published in numerous periodicals including The Boston Review and The Southern Review. He is an Associate Professor of creative writing at Wabash College and he lives in Crawfordsville, Indiana, and Nice, France.
Games, immersive and interactive writing practice borrows from other forms but also has its own methods, particularly to represent the intersection of narrative and player agency. This paper will explore learnings that evolved from three years of teaching games writing as part of Creative Writing and Game Development BA programmes, as well as insights that have emerged from working practice in the industry. It will consider what writing forms it’s important to equip students with for future work—including story mechanics, player-character perspectives, non-linearity and environmental storytelling, as well as how to communicate experiential narratives in a written form as part of a production bible. This paper suggests this is an important step in opening up these industries to underrepresented voices and more diverse audiences.
Dr Hannah Wood runs Story Juice, an interactive storytelling and game development studio working on own IP and with clients across immersive experiences, video games, interactive theatre and performance art. The studio’s projects include a punk feminist augmented reality game, which received support from the UK Games Fund, and a commission as Lead Writer on an Audience of the Future project creating immersive mixed reality games in the Natural History and Science Museums. Hannah has a PhD in interactive narrative from University of Exeter and lectures in Creative Media at University of Plymouth. She previously lectured in Creative Writing and Game Development at Falmouth University.
Chair: Henry Sutton (University of East Anglia)
Henry Sutton, Professor of Creative Writing and Crime Fiction, is Director of Creative Writing at UEA. He has taught Creative Writing at all undergraduate and graduate levels at UEA, and supervises Creative/Critical PhDs. He’s currently leading the UEA research project Future and Form, www.futureandform.net, supported by Arts Council England.