OUR WORK: Diginext’s experience of the Emotive project to date
The edutainment team of Diginext is very enthusiastic to be part of this fantastic consortium and work on the EMOTIVE project. Some members of the team already had the occasion to work in the cultural heritage domain by participating to the CHESS project and their enthusiasm stimulated everyone. We are all eager to offer our authoring tool and see it used to create great storytelling experiences!
Since the EMOTIVE kick-off, we have closely followed the work of the end users, especially at the 1st workshop, and the innovative use cases they imagined to realise with our tool. Then, Rémi and Alexandre have dedicated their efforts to analyse how to adapt the outcomes of the MAGELLAN project to support these new scenarios. Indeed, this project features powerful building blocks oriented towards general game creation, which we can reuse in the cultural heritage world, on the condition that we customize them to the needs and liking of our users.
Moreover, under the technical coordination of ATHENA, we synchronised with the other technical partners to create a complete architecture combining all our tools in a coherent solution. This has of course been the occasion to rekindle relationships with previous partners and to get to know new ones as well as discovering our respective works.
Our team is really looking forward to work directly with end users to create original experiences for the EMOTIVE project and put them directly in the hands of visitors for them to deeply engage with our end user’s stories.
Storytelling applies to nearly everything we do. Everybody uses stories, from educators to marketers and from politicians to journalists, to inform, persuade, entertain, motivate or inspire. Storytelling becomes an even more powerful tool when it taps into our emotions.
We are all storytellers to some extent. Do you remember the last time you have told a story to your friend, family member, colleague or a stranger? What it was about?
On the Emotive Twitter and Facebook accounts we often share interesting resources, articles and topics related to storytelling. Here we would like to share with you a number of interesting factsheets, offered as ‘a free resource for storytellers and those wishing to promote storytelling events’ by the Society for Storytelling.
Our multidisciplinary team has been actively working on many aspects of the project in tandem. As a first taste, early on in December 2016, our archeologist-storytellers Francesco and Katerina used our authoring tool to quickly whip up some prototype stories for the Ancient Agora of Athens, which explored the power of love and war.
The 1st EMOTIVE user workshop that followed engulfed us all in a creative frenzy. In this context of user requirements elicitation and user experience design, Akrivi and Maria, our modern-day renaissance women, worked closely with the heritage partners at the University of York (YORK) and the University of Glasgow (UGLA), to start forming and consolidating the first version of the project’s conceptual framework for emotive storytelling experiences for cultural heritage, available also in card format.
Meanwhile, Manos, Emotive’s technical manager par excellence, and software engineer wizards Vassilis and Ektor, are working with the project’s techies to define the architecture that can support the experiences-to-be with advanced graphics and interactivity, virtual, mixed and augmented reality, 3D printed artefacts, even artificial conversational entities. Stavros, our AI expert, along with the University of York are currently designing a chatbot that will allow visitors to converse with cultural heritage site experts. And Yannis, who is also President and General Director of the Athena Research Center at large, has been waving his wand over our team’s research efforts.
The ATHENA research team has been working on interactive, personalised, mobile storytelling since the CHESS project. EMOTIVE has brought to the team the exciting chance to continue previous fruitful collaborations but also form new ones with talented researchers and companies in the project’s consortium. For us, this project is opening up a range of possibilities in learning how to craft engaging experiences for on-site and virtual visitors of cultural heritage sites.
Did you know that the Emotive project collaborates with several major European Research and Technological Development initiatives?
Throughout the project we’ll be drawing on the experiences of the CHESS, MAGELLAN and PLUGGY projects as we research and develop the prototype Emotive software platform.
MAGELLAN (http://www.magellanproject.eu/) is coordinated by Emotive partner EXUS and DIGINEXT SARL (DXT) also participated in the project. Its vision is to establish a web platform for cost-effectively authoring, publishing, executing, and experiencing location-based games featuring Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. The project is based on the CHESS platform, but extended to author mixed reality games that take place in the real world and involve multiple participants. Emotive aims to extend Magellan by bridging the gap between both forms of experiences: single- and multi-participant as well as supporting adaptation of experiences involving groups of visitors.
The CHESS project (http://www.chessexperience.eu) was coordinated by Emotive partner DIGINEXT SARL (DXT) and the University of Athens also participated in the project. CHESS implemented a system for the authoring and experiencing of non-linear, location-based story-like experiences for museum visits. Emotive aims to draw on the research and findings from this work to author experiences involving groups of visitors through capturing real-time interactions within these groups.
Image: CHESS Augmented Reality at the Acropolis Museum (http://www.chessexperience.eu)
PLUGGY (https://www.pluggy-project.eu/) provides a social platform and a series of pluggable applications that aim at facilitating a continuing process of creating, modifying and safeguarding heritage where European citizens will be consumers, creators and maintainers of cultural activities. It enables users to access content ranging from localized specific content to comprehensive personalized stories and to experience Virtual Exhibitions through applications, covering a variety of technologies from Augmented and Virtual Reality to collaborative games for mobile devices.
The Pluggy team is organising the 1st International Workshop as part of the INTETAIN 2017 conference, June 20–22, 2017 in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal. The Paper Submission deadline is 14 April 2017. Find out more here.
On February 22-23rd, amid the august surroundings of the University of Glasgow, Emotive held its first User Workshop.
The event brought together a small group of cultural and creative experts for two days of intensive, hands-on prototyping and preliminary evaluation work.
Leading international specialists in user design, gaming, curation, digital engagement and interpretation listened, discussed, evaluated and brainstormed with the aim of developing concepts for user experiences for Emotive’s two cultural partner sites (Hunterian Museum, Scotland and Çatalhöyük, Turkey). In the process, they also evaluated experience design tools for heritage professionals that are currently in development by Emotive.
Day 1: Çatalhöyük
Day 1 of the workshop focused on Çatalhöyük. It began with presentations on the history of the Turkish site and its current visitor offerings, plus an overview of the Emotive project itself.
After these sessions, the group of approx. 30 split into smaller teams of 5-6 for a hands-on activity, the purpose of which was to a design a new visitor experience for the site. A prototype set of Emotive story design cards was also distributed, to help structure and guide this creative process.
By the end of the afternoon, there were impressive results. The teams produced highly varied experiences, ranging from an all-knowing ‘wizard’ who could be engaged to answer questions about the site, to a role-playing adventure with archaeologists and a ghost from Neolithic times, to a treasure hunt and a tour guide-based voting game.
Along the way, the Emotive team gained valuable insight into the requirements and mechanics of card play among expert groups and the specific impact that the story design cards had on the experience.
Day 1 ended with a short evaluation-oriented debriefing session, followed by a live-streamed Skype lecture and Q&A with the world-renowned game designer Professor Jesse Schell.
Day 2: The Antonine Wall exhibition
On Day 2, the group focused on developing experiences for the Antonine Wall exhibition at The Hunterian Museum. As with Day 1, presentations preceded participatory group work, with valuable, insightful lectures by both design and content experts.
In the afternoon these gave way to a semi-open-ended group activity at the Antonine Wall exhibition itself, located just a short walk away at The Hunterian Museum. The activity included “bodystorming” in the museum display area, designing a suitable experience for assigned personas, and a summative “dramatisation” of the experience to the plenary.
As with Day 1, there was an impressive richness and variety of experiences designed by the five groups, ranging from dressing up profiles and soap opera scenarios to interactive dating apps. Further feedback on the design tools – design cards, visitor personas and suggested objects – also proved illuminating.
The findings from both days will feed into ongoing work developing narratives for the two sites in the coming months.
Overall, the first Emotive workshop was an extremely successful event. It brought together 30 cultural heritage experts, of which 20 were experts external to the consortium. All contributed in meaningful ways to the project’s goals. The data gathered will now be analysed in depth as the project continues to develop content and tools to enhance emotional storytelling at museums and heritage sites.
To everyone who participated, for their time, expertise and good humour, we would like to say a heartfelt thank you! 🙂
– The Emotive Team (with special thanks to Dr Sara Perry for her contribution to this post)
Over the next three years, the Emotive project team will be working closely with two cultural partners, Çatalhöyük in Turkey and the Hunterian Museum at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, to develop and test new storytelling tools.
‘The Antonine Wall: Rome’s Final Frontier‘ is an exhibition located in the permanent gallery of the Hunterian Museum at the University of Glasgow. It showcases hundreds of objects recovered from the Wall including altars, gravestones, leather sandals, other personal artefacts and even board games.
Why was The Hunterian chosen for a project on emotional storytelling?
Built around AD 142, in the reign of the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius, the Antonine Wall ran coast-to-coast across Scotland from the Clyde to the Firth of Forth. At one time, there were 6,000-7,000 men stationed in forts along the Wall, many with their wives, children and slaves.
Today, the exhibition at The Hunterian explores the biography of this important Roman monument which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and investigates four key themes:
• the building of the Wall, its architecture and impact on the landscape
• the role of the Roman army on the frontier, the life and lifestyle of its soldiers
• the cultural interaction between Roman and indigenous peoples, and evidence for local resistance
• the abandonment of the Wall and the story of its rediscovery over the last 350 years.
Emotive will explore these themes, delving into the rich potential of the Wall to inspire evocative, emotionally-driven stories that can appeal to visitors of all ages.
The project offers enormous potential for testing how digital storytelling tools affect the experience of diverse visitors. This will help inform the interpretation and public engagement strategies of not only The Hunterian, but also other cultural organisations and heritage sites.
(Image: ‘The Antonine Wall: Rome’s Final Frontier’ at the Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow.)
One of the most important archaeological sites in the world, Çatalhöyük (pronounced cha-tal-hoy-yuk) is a densely packed Neolithic (New Stone Age) settlement in central Turkey which dates back 9000 years.
The site is a cultural partner of the Emotive project and, over the next three years, we’ll be working closely with the team there to develop and test new storytelling tools.
Why was Çatalhöyük chosen for a project on emotional storytelling?
Rising 21 metres in height, Çatalhöyük’s East Mound – the site’s oldest occupied area – was created through more than 1000 years of continuous inhabitation by people who repeatedly built and rebuilt their homes on the same spot.
Remarkably, at its peak, between 3500 to 8000 people resided here, living in apparent equality – with little evidence of social hierarchy – throughout Çatalhöyük’s history.
Residents buried their dead beneath the floors of their homes, constructed incredible sculptural art and wall paintings, and lived in street-less neighborhoods, moving around on roofs and accessing buildings via openings in their ceilings. Inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012, Çatalhöyük now sees more than 20,000 visitors annually, and has been the subject of scientific investigation for nearly 60 years.
Today, researchers from around the globe study its vast landscape of buildings, remarkable ways of life, and its many exquisite works of art and craft. Together, visitors and researchers are working to pioneer new archaeological, conservation and curatorial methods in order to advance our understandings of human beings in the past.
Çatalhöyük boasts many inspiring and unusual stories of birth, life, death and afterlife. The site was chosen as a cultural partner for Emotive because it offers such a rich canvas for the creation of personal, engaging, emotionally resonant stories.
As we begin our working relationship together, the teams at Emotive and Çatalhöyük look forward to collaborating in order to share these with an even broader audience.
(Image: In a replica house at Çatalhöyük used for experiments about past human behaviour, researchers test the effects of smoke from a burning oven fire. (c) Jason Quinlan)
We’re delighted to share the news that Emotive’s first project workshop has been confirmed for 22-23 February 2017 at the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow, Scotland .
A range of leading international specialists in the fields of user design, gaming, curation, digital engagement and interpretation will participate in the two-day session, which will include hands-on engagement with the famous Antonine Wall , a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Coordinated by Dr Sara Perry (University of York), Dr Maria Economou (University of Glasgow) and Dr Maria Roussou (University of Athens), the goal of the workshop is to test out preliminary tools that the project has been developing to generate emotional engagement, group play and group collaboration between heritage site visitors.
The workshop will also include several short presentations from speakers and members of the project team.
Planning is underway and we look forward to rolling up our sleeves in Scotland next month!
The first iteration of the first EMOTIVE stories was released and tested in December at the archeological site of the Ancient Agora in Athens, Greece. The stories, composed by archeologist- storytellers Ms. Katerina Servi and Mr. Francesco Ripanti, aim at involving the visitors of the Ancient Agora in an emotional travel to the past. Well known archaeological sites like the Ancient Agora have a high dramatic potential that can help to humanize what is difficult to understand.
The focus of this first formative evaluation was to test the usability of the prototype; the understanding of the stories; and the potential of the stories in striking an emotional chord. Seven users of different ages experienced two sample stories, and the main overarching story, using mobile phones. Overall, the participants enjoyed the experience, especially walking in the Agora and listening to the stories in situ.
After months of planning, we are very excited to kick off the EMOTIVE project in Athens!
On November 26th, members from all eight partner institutions and companies gathered at the offices of the Athena Research Institute to meet, greet and plan the work ahead.
Over the next three years, the team will research, design, develop and evaluate various ’emotive storytelling’ methods and tools. Our goal is to produce a prototype software platform and user application capable of generating immersive, personalised digital narrative experiences for museum and heritage site visitors.
The team includes archaeologists, researchers, designers, writers and developers – a strong interdisciplinary group for the task ahead. Additionally, the project will reach out to a range of specialists in user design, gaming, curation, digital engagement and interpretation, to inform our work and build a network around the project.
Regular updates will be posted here and on social media, so watch this space!
A 3-year EC Funded project
Start date: 1st November 2016
Funding: This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 727188.