Our Summer Workshop – phygital and story making

This Summer, the ‘Stories to Connect’ group gathered together for yet another creative workshop. The workshop was hosted at Lancaster University with both the story making and the phygital teams coming together. Both provided plenty of activities over two days to help inspire creativity and help progress the story and phygital making. Our UCLan intern, Amy Lee Tempest, blogs here about the events.

box3On day one we were greeted with an enthusiastic and energetic group all ready to get creative. We kicked off the day with a ‘guess the book character’ game to reacquaint ourselves with each other and to get our brains tuned into the wonderful world of stories.

Next, working in small groups we discussed some set questions which were designed to focus our thoughts on the projects aims and objectives, such as ‘who do we want to tell our stories to?’ and ‘what do we want our message to be?’.

box6Writing our answers on big pieces of paper as a spider diagram, we were able to stick these on the wall and read what our groups focus was – which is sometimes easy to forget amidst the fun and games!

A well-earned lunch break followed where it was nice to just chill and catch up with the group for a little while and welcome new members such as myself.

Once refuelled, we next thought about our favourite locations, and wrote or drew them onto paper. Making it into a paper airplane, we then aimed them into a box in the middle of the room. We took turns to read one out – we had locations ranging from ‘at home with my family’ to some very far away and exotic places. This not only gave us ideas for story settings, but also gave us ideas for future holidays!

This workshop was quite special in terms of being able to work on both the phygital side and the story making side. By splitting the group into two, we were able to swap between two activities and fit a huge amount of work in.

The phygital activity looked at ideas on how to get the stories out into the community, in particular using technology that allows you to embed a sound clip into a colourful bracelet or necklace!



The story making workshop presented each individual with their own folder containing snippets from past interviews, their story work so far, and any pictures they had created. box11They then worked in a ‘one to one’ setting with a staff member on plotting their story on a simple story arc. They used snippets of paper containing ideas and information about their lives, re arranging them to make a unique story. Each person made progress and everyone had story ideas by the end.

Re-joining as a group, we got to talk about what we want more of and what we want less of. Everyone pretty much wanted more of everything! This was a great boost at the end of a busy day knowing the activities planned had been enjoyed.

The next day we were greeted with an enthusiastic and a slightly less energetic group (getting creative can be draining) although the group were still in high spirits. The ‘guess the book character’ game had been so popular that it made a comeback – this time prepared and hosted by one of our young people!

The second day felt a little more ‘low key’ as we focused more on our story making. box7There was time for individuals to work ‘one on one’ again on their own story creations. There were also group story creations using our ‘homemade’ story cubes!

The story cubes were made using snippets of information taken from interviews our young researchers had done in the past. The themes were summed up using a symbol, and the symbol was drawn on the side of a cube. When a few cubes were rolled together, a combinations of the themes were then created into some very weird and wonderful stories. They included mini murderers and super hero’s! The stories were shared – and some acted – to the group at the end.




A very special moment came at the end when we were shown an animation of a story collaboration by a staff member and a young person.box21 The animation, produced by the phygital team, showed a very close to complete short story in an audio and visual format. This creative collaboration reminded us once again of the aim of our hard work, the possibilities of our work, and the project’s purpose. It was like watching all of our group member’s parts being sewn together all at once to create … one big gorgeous shirt!

We left the group part exhausted, part inspired and part enriched by the experience of getting creative together once again. Like many others in the group, I was left asking ‘when is the next one?!’