Crystal Palace Writer’s Workshop

As part of the StoryPlaces project we recently ran a workshop for writers in Crystal Palace Park, exploring the creation of locative stories. The workshop was based in the Upper Norwood Library Hub, and we invited local writers, and also digital writers from Southampton who were keen to experiment with locative media in the park.

Crystal Palace Park is a fantastic location for locative stories. The Crystal Palace was originally constructed in 1851 in Hyde Park for the Great Exhibition, but was moved to the current site on Sydenham Hill in 1854, reimagined as a grand pleasure palace until it was destroyed by fire in 1936. Despite regeneration as a popular local park, the sense of absence on the landscape is tangible, with empty terraces, sweeping staircases to nowhere, and the cracked remnants of world statues. Only the sphinxes remain relatively unscathed.

The focus of the workshop was to introduce writers to the first version of the StoryPlaces Toolkit and Writers tool, which were constructed from our findings from Southampton and Bournemouth, and embeds some of the sculptural patterns we presented at ACM Hypertext 2016.

StoryPlaces Authoring Tool (showing example story)

Fifteen writers attended, and following some presentations on locative media, and a tour of the park itself, they were let loose into the park to draft a story using the tools. We tried not to be prescriptive and described how the tool could be used on both mobile and desktop devices, and could be incorporated into their workflow in a number of ways (for example, authoring in-sutu, vs. using the tool for note taking – e.g. creating location stubs, and pinning photos to locations).  Over the next week weeks we hope that some of the writers will develop their stories into finished pieces that we could launch at the Overground festival in June.

You can download the toolkit below:

ToolKit v1public