• Introduction

    This interdisciplinary course addresses how principles of textual, visual, oral, and place-based storytelling challenge and enhance the conceptualisation, construction, and experience of digitally- created worlds connecting to real-world places, locations, and landscapes. Applying principles of storytelling to digital worlds across multiple situations, platforms, and environments (built and natural) will help define and innovate the shape of these worlds. Focused on the underlying belief that technology and narrative create a feedback loop, with one mediating  the other, this unit will be based on iterations of ideation, conceptualisation, and prototyping to integrate critical insights that will push on the boundaries of established beliefs and the regulated time-space we live by, in the connectedness of datafied space and localised place.

    Unit I: Telling Stories: From the Analogue to the Digital

    This unit was developed by Susan Schreibman and Marianne Ping Huang with the assistance of Esther Kamara and Stephanie Ochiel.

    This unit introduces digital storytelling, beginning from its analogue roots, and quickly moving into digital modalities for storytelling and meaning-making. Concepts such as Aristotle's theory of narrative from Poetics, McLuhan's 'The Medium is the Message', and Deleuze and Guattari's Rhizomatic Narrative, It does this through case studies of maps as narrative and performance as narrative.

    Unit II: Snowfall and Other Multimodal Narratives

    This unit was developed by Susan Schreibman with the assistance of Stephanie Ochiel.

    This unit explores new forms of digital narrative in general, and longform journalism in particular, through the case study of an article entitled Snowfall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek published in The New York Times in December 2012. This unit focuses on a variety of narrative types and concepts, including multimodality, remediation, interaction, and how these features have changed and developed with advances in internet and mobile technologies. Snowfall provides the occasion to explore multimodality through such features as parallax scrolling and the idea of creating a cognitive container to keep the reader present in the story and the reading space.

    Unit III: Museums and Digital Storytelling

    This unit was developed by Emilie Sitzia with the assistance of Yannis Prosalentis and Stephanie Ochiel.

    What is different with storytelling in museums? What opportunities does digital storytelling afford for museums? This is what we will explore in the unit Museums and storytelling. We start by exploring changing notions of museum narrative, audiences, and storytelling. We will ask ourselves ‘what is a museum for?’ and we will identify storytelling as one of the museum’s core functions. How have museums shifted terms of authority over time? How has the notion of museum audience evolved through the centuries? How has the shift in audiences lead to a shift in museum narrative? The second part of the unit is about spaces of engagement. We will ask ourselves  ‘Where is the storytelling?’ in a traditional exhibition space?  We will investigate various spaces of engagement and the place of digital storytelling in this context. The final part focuses on analysing how storytelling works in museum space (real and digital). Various analysis tools are presented to analyse storytelling in museums. Two hands-on exercises will help you apply these tools in different contexts. In the final assignment of this unit, you will put all your newly acquired knowledge and skills to create a storyboard or wireframing of a digital/audio narrative for an existing (online) exhibition.

    Unit IV: Phygital Heritage: Design, Interaction, and Evaluation

    This unit was developed by Eslam Nofal.

    This unit presents how heritage information can be communicated to visitors in more engaging, educational and meaningful ways. The approach of “Phygital Heritage” is introduced, which entails how heritage information can be disclosed via simultaneous and integrated physical and digital means. The unit consists of three lessons; the first lesson introduces the approach of phygital with a detailed argumentation about why this approach is promising in the field of heritage communication, ended with a proposed model of phygital heritage. The second lesson presents four scenarios (i.e. in-the-wild studies), in which interactive phygital prototypes were designed and deployed in real-world heritage and museum environments to explore how the seamless integration of digital technology into physical reality facilitates the communication of built heritage. The third lesson focuses on the evaluation of phygital heritage, deploying a mixed-methods evaluation methodology in order to assess the communication of heritage information and user engagement, concluded by an evaluation framework of phygital heritage.

    Unit V: Audio Narratives

    This unit was developed by Joeri Bruyninckx with the assistance of Stephanie Ochiel and Esther Kamara.

    How can we use sound to tell stories for digital media? Audio nowadays is carried in a large variety of narrative formats, from radio dramas and podcasts, to audio guides, sound installations, sound walks and game soundtracks. This unit aims to acquaint you with the conceptual and practical tools to analyze and listen critically to these narratives, by attending specifically to the various affordances of location-based audio. In several hands-on exercises, you will help apply these tools to concrete examples. In the first of three lessons, we explore the notion of ‘audio narrative’, to consider how audio reinforces but also challenges some of the narrative strategies you have become acquainted with so far. The second lesson situates locative audio as part of a genre of locative media, and considers how sound is used to blend physical and digital spaces, integrating environment, location, mobility and the listeners’ own agency. In the final lesson, we explore the scholarly tradition of sound studies for a lineage of concepts that can aid us to critically examine how place-based audio narratives may reframe our awareness and understanding of our sonic environments

    Course Developers

    Dr. Joeri Bruyninckx is assistant professor in Science and Technology Studies at the department of Society Studies at the University of Maastricht. He specializes in sound/sensory studies and science and technology studies, using both historical and ethnographic methods. Previously, he was a research scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. He is the author of Listening in the Field, a history of field recording in biology (MIT Press 2018). He teaches in qualitative methods, audio recording and production, media studies, history/sociology of science and technology and sound/sensory/body studies.

    Marianne Ping Huang, Associate Professor at School for Communication and Culture, Aarhus University, Denmark. Marianne serves as an academic officer for cultural creative collaborations, creative industry partnerships and digital cultures. Marianne has worked on the 20th Century Avantgardes as artistic, social, and political movements, her research interests are creative ecosystems, open innovation, multiple helix collaboration and how artistic interventions and humanistic competences create openings for community-based innovation and engagement in democratic, digital transitions.

    Eslam Nofal is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Digital Heritage at Maastricht University (Netherlands). He is also affiliated to the Department of Architecture at Assiut University (Egypt). His research interests fit in the intersection of Human-Computer interaction and digital heritage, by designing, implementing and evaluating interactive systems, aiming for better communication and engagement of heritage in museums and beyond. He received his PhD degree from KU Leuven (Belgium), where he introduced the approach of “Phygital Heritage”, which entails how heritage information can be disclosed via simultaneous and integrated physical and digital means, as a potential medium for engaging and meaningful communication of heritage to the broader public.

    Stephanie Ochiel is a recent MA Media Studies: Digital Culture graduate from Maastricht University and is currently working as a Research Assistant for IGNITE. Her background is politics and international relations after obtaining her BA in European studies at the same university. She has a strong affinity for digital media and its affect on society and is also working towards becoming a digital marketeer. Thus, her position as an editor and interactive content creator for this platform has become a vital stepping stone and transition for her into a new field.

    Esther Aminata Kamara is a Dutch-Sierra Leonean writer and researcher and alumnus of the MA Media Studies: Digital Cultures at Maastricht University. Esther likes to explore the bridges and boundaries between West-African and western culture. Her dual nationality allows her to delve deeper into cross-cultural issues, including the impact and development of technology and access to cultural texts, digital tools, and creative skills. She aims to use her writing and critical thinking skills to enrich the IGNITE curriculum even further.

    Yannis Prosalentis is a postgraduate student studying Arts & Heritage: Management, Policy and Education (Class of 2019-2020) at Maastricht University and his academic focus is on virtual museum space and digital storytelling. He holds a bachelor’s degree on Audio and Visual Arts at the Ionian University in Greece. His professional career is orientated towards Photography and Videography. Since March 2019 he has taken over the role of Coordinator of the Student VideoTeam of Maastricht University.

    Susan Schreibman is Professor of Digital Arts and Culture at Maastricht University. Professor Schreibman works at the intersections of computationally-based teaching and research in the interplay of the digital archive, cultural innovation, and participatory engagement design, processes and projects. A focus of her research is in the design, critical, and interpretative analysis of systems that remediate publication modalities and manuscript culture from the analogue world, while developing new born-digital paradigms. She has published and lectured widely in digital humanities and Irish poetic modernism. Her research includes Letter 1916-1923, Contested Memories: The Battle of Mount Street Bridge, The Thomas MacGreevy Archive. She is the Founding Editor of the Journal of the Text Encoding Initiative and #dariahTeach.

    Emilie Sitzia
     holds a special chair at the University of Amsterdam and is an associate professor Cultural Education in the department of Art and Literature at the University of Maastricht. Professor Sitzia specialises in the impact of art on audiences and word/image interdisciplinary studies. In 2020 she was a resident at the IMéRA research centre in Marseille to work with MuCEM on matters of identity, narrative and multimodal exhibition strategies. In 2019 she was a co-editor for the Stedelijk Studies issue 'Towards a Museum of Mutuality'. Recent relevant publications include: ‘Knowledge production in art museums’ in Muséologies (2018); ‘The ignorant art museum: beyond meaning-making’ in International Journal of Lifelong Education (2017); ‘Narrative theories and learning in contemporary art museums: a theoretical exploration’ in Stedelijk Studies (2016) and the co-authored chapter ‘Defining participation: practices in the Dutch artworld’ in J Kavanagh and K McSweeney (eds), Museum participation: new directions for audience collaboration (2016).