Our cultural partner: the Hunterian Museum

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.)

Our cultural partner: Çatalhöyük

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)

Planning underway for Emotive workshop, Glasgow, Feb 2017


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!

1001 Stories at the Ancient Agora of Athens

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.

Stay tuned for the 999 more stories left to go!

Emotive Project kick-off!

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!