Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

Our research

At StoryLab our interdisciplinary research activities explore how the development and democratisation of new creative technologies can enable stories to be told in innovative and immersive ways, and impact positively on society.

We are concerned with the what, how, who and why of storytelling operating at the intersection of narrative, form, and impact. We interrogate and experiment with new opportunities arising from creative, cultural and technological convergence.

Multi-modal narratives are a common theme. We use novel combinations of art and design, audio, digital media and film to support investigation, intervention, and knowledge exchange.

We adopt an experiential and interactive approach to storytelling that includes 360 film, 3D data visualisation, soundscapes, extended realities (XR) as well as traditional filmmaking. We encourage inquiry into individual immersion and participation and the generation of cognition, emotion and action.

We work with a variety of researchers and organisations to develop creative artefacts, new data, innovative and poly-vocal forms of inquiry and communication of knowledge, particularly around complex and challenging issues.

Our research focuses on three key areas of interest:

Storytelling is a tool for interpretation, understanding and change. We employ innovative narrative practices to surface new voices and perspectives around questions of identity, culture and heritage, including body image, memory, gender, and sense of place and belonging.

We use immersive technologies to reflect on how people perceive, experience and connect with the past, present and future - and see each differently as a result.

Our interdisciplinary research investigates how innovative approaches to storytelling can deepen empathy, encourage participation, establish common ground and generate positive action with regard to complex issues such as equality, migration, conflict, youth crime, human trafficking and social justice.

Current and past collaborators include NowHere Media; Chesterton Community College; University of Petra, Amman, Jordan; The Helicopter Girls; and Special Treats Productions.

We research the benefits of creative narrative practices for health and wellbeing. In particular we are interested in the power of immersive technologies to positively impact patients, practitioners and carers and promote meaningful behaviour change.

For those experiencing mental or physical pain or reduced mobility, experiential stories can offer a form of respite and therapy. For medical professionals and policy-makers, innovative forms of storytelling can help them to better understand and empathise with those they look after and lead to greater effectiveness in treatment plans.

Past project collaborators include Cambridge University Hospitals; The Mayo Clinic; LOROS Hospice; Rob Roy Rowing Club; and The Rosie Hospital, Addenbrookes.

The narrative form is an invaluable tool for exploring the way people interpret the world and their place within it. We use the power of multimodal storytelling to enable broader and more diverse audiences to understand and engage with remote and complex concepts related to the environment, climate change, and sustainable and resilient communities.

Immersive technologies allow us to connect with and reflect on diverse natural and socio-cultural environments at a local and global level. Interactive narratives and 3D visualisation bring the data and impacts of climate change, conflict and migration to life to educate, motivate and promote action by individuals, organisations and governments, in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

Current collaborators include the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust; British Antarctic Survey; University of Essex, Eastern ARC; and DFuse.