50 Creatives to Help Build UK-Wide XR Storytelling Project

The UK has a strong history in the XR space, with several new projects appearing at SXSW this week. Today, StoryFutures Academy in collaboration with several other organisations has announced plans to deliver an immersive storytelling experience called StoryTrails. Created by 50 artists, it’ll appear across various UK cities later this year.

nexus AR Mobile

As part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK – an initiative celebrating the country’s creativity – StoryTrails will use augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in a bid to bring intriguing stories from the past to life. 15 public spaces will be reanimated thanks to the work of 50 creatives, the BFI (British Film Institute), the BBC, Niantic Labs, Nexus Studios, and ISO Design.

Those 50 roles will be split down into several projects, with 17 making story trails for city centres whilst another 15 will build immersive installations mapping the geography of a location. Nine will be selected to develop VR experiences whilst nine will take on professional placement at one of the StoryTrails partner organisations. The BFI, for example, will provide unprecedented access to archive material.

“StoryTrails will help to shape the future of the creative industries and pioneer creative storytelling in the 3D internet. This moment, when emerging technologies are finding their form is the same moment the UK’s next generation of creative practitioners are emerging. StoryTrails represents a direct engagement with changing the face of the industry to reflect the diversity of talent across the UK and to use that talent to make the UK a world leader in immersive storytelling,” said Professor David Olusoga, broadcaster and film-maker and Executive Producer of StoryTrails in a statement. “As the UK’s largest immersive storytelling project, StoryTrails will be mapping a course for this amazing set of new technologies that engrains diversity at its heart.”

Lewisham - StoryTrails

“StoryTrails is a wonderful project being developed for UNBOXED, which uses cutting edge immersive technologies to tell new stories about people and places across the UK,” adds Martin Green CBE, Chief Creative Officer UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK. “It’s brilliant that StoryFutures Academy are also recruiting and training 50 creatives from diverse backgrounds to help shape it and expand their skills in immersive technology. In doing so, they are playing a vital role in building a dynamic future workforce for the creative industries in the UK.”

The 15 locations offering free two-day StoryTrails residencies are:

  • Omagh
  • Dundee
  • Dumfries
  • Blackpool
  • Bradford
  • Sheffield
  • Lincoln
  • Wolverhampton
  • Swansea
  • Newport
  • Bristol
  • Swindon
  • Slough
  • London (Lambeth and Lewisham).

If you happen to be in the UK this summer StoryTrails runs from 1st July – 18th September 2022, culminating in a new film to be screened in cinemas as well as being made available via BBC iPlayer. For further updates, keep reading gmw3.