Leeds Beckett University launch interactive story experience for families in isolation

Lisa StephensonLisa Stephenson
Lisa Stephenson | other
Leeds Beckett University have launched an interactive story experience for families in isolation.

Academics and artists from Story Makers Company, based within the Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett University (LBU), have created an online interactive story experience which they are asking children and families in isolation across the world to participate in.

The Reimagining Home Together project is about the joy of creating stories and exploring social change in a way that can help children to imagine possible futures, the University said.

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Children and parents will be asked to upload their ideas online and respond to each other as the narrative unfolds over three weeks.

The project – which launches on 11 May - will see children between the ages of 7 and 11 being called upon to become Story Rebels who reimagine histories and create new worlds through time travel.

The story will be set in a fictional green Earth called Anksi.

Children will need to explore settings from a past time to find out what happened there historically.

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They will start by mapping the setting and then move into developing character and place through drama, creative writing, art, and science.

The story will further be brought to life using elements of 360 technology developed by Tom Jordan from Interplay Theatre.

It is the first story of its kind, bringing together Ipswich and Colchester Museums, artists such as Nadine Kaadan, Storyteller Alastair Daniels, Chol Theatre and Interplay Theatre, Leeds Beckett University, the British Library, children and families.

The imaginative story experience is led and created by LBU drama specialist Lisa Stephenson and developed with travelling teacher Hywel Roberts.

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Lisa, who is also MA Drama & Creative Writing in Education Course Leader at LBU, said: “It seems to me that this kind of knowledge creation has never been so relevant, not just for children but for adults too.

“As we ponder on the uncertainties of our global situation, we have the present potential to become more interconnected, if we choose to act.

“The story gives children a way to practice these social actions in a safe context. This starts with noticing the world and the people around us.

“The story also explores eco-literacy or the understanding of the ways in which we can look after our planet, and global citizenship or the ways that we can live together in ethical and meaningful ways.

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“If there is one thing, we are sure about, it is that the imagination of children will offer us new insights into the way that we understand the world and ourselves.”

Children will take on the role of Story Rebels, giving them responsibility for finding out about the mistakes from old Earth and returning to Anksi with that knowledge to create a future museum about the past.

Lisa added: “Reimagining helps us to think of other ways of doing things or taking action in real life.

“The story will draw from children’s ideas as it develops over three settings as we produce a shared story about home, past and present.

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“The story will change as children share ideas. It will be shaped by them and the more stories the wider perspective which is what we want to encourage.

“Children need to have the freedom and creativity from story to have a sense of playfulness, wellbeing and imaginative freedom.”

The project will be launched on 11 May, running for three weeks and them may be repeated. It is a collaborative story but within that children will create their own individual stories.

At the end of the project, children will have the chance to share their stories to be in with a chance of winning a creative writing and art competition.

To register to take part, email [email protected] and for further information, visit www.storymakersco.com/reimagining-home-project