Evoke Creative Framework and Network Development (ASUF 30006176)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Evoke Creative Framework and Network Development (ASUF 30006176) Evoke Creative Framework and Network Development The Center for Science and the Imagination (CSI) utilizes a variety of imaginative methods to encourage scholars, researchers, writers, artists, students, and members of the public to think more critically and creatively about science, technology, society and the future. For this project, science fiction narratives will be used to create a fictional world that encourages young people to think critically about local challenges, and to consider how they can take action in various ways to generate culturally, socially, and geographically-specific solutions. CSIs approach sits at the nexus of two methodologies that connect narrative, innovation, and social forces. The first, design fiction (or critical design) uses storytelling, low-fidelity modeling, and tangible making in a collaborative context to create, explore, and open up lines of critique about visions of the future through artifacts, narrative worlds, and sensory experiences. The second, science fiction prototyping, views science fiction narrative as a particularly inclusive, inspiring, low-cost way to explore the social, cultural, and psychological effects of scientific and technological change. The method is also used to discover flaws or gaps in planning and conception for engineering and design processes. Intel, for example, uses science fiction prototyping exercises with its engineering teams to consider possible use cases for new products, to expose design flaws, and to anticipate consumer needs. Both design fiction and science fiction prototyping view narrative not only as a cultural form, but a useful tool for all genres of innovation, from technological to social. Both processes also emphasize diegesis the coherent internal world of the narrative as a fundamental element. In design fiction, the prototyped objects imply and begin to generate a possible future reality around them. In science fiction prototyping, the creation of a coherent world with believable, fleshed-out settings, characters, and social context allows the narrative to test the usefulness, impact, and possible unintended consequences of a particular innovation. At CSI, we use science fiction storytelling as a way to build agency, to encourage people to think of themselves as actors rather than subjects in processes of social and technological change. Our method aims to shift peoples thinking about the future, seeing it as a spectrum of possibilities that we are collectively deciding among and moving towards, rather than as a fixed point or inevitable endgame. The EVOKE project uses alternate reality games with a strong narrative architecture to build agency among young people in the developing world, encouraging them to become social innovators actively addressing problems in their communities and worldwide. EVOKE shares CSIs goal of building agency, and its use of narrative as a tool to motivate people to reconceptualize themselves as actors and innovators instead of spectators to change. Our goal for this project is to build an engaging portfolio of narratives that take place in one coherent fictional world. We will begin by commissioning two writers to work collaboratively on a narrative backstory that constructs a history, geopolitical system, and socio-economic and socio-technical structures for future EVOKE deployments, as well as a core set of characters, settings, themes, and an overall aesthetic tone for the project. The narrative backstory will also provide avenues for future narrative directions and open-ended questions that could be elaborated by new creative narratives in the EVOKE universe. This will serve as the core document for a group of writers, artists, futurists, and stakeholders (from industry, government, and the nonprofit sector) to collaborate virtually and face-to-face to create narrative content for the EVOKE project. Face-to-face engagement will occur primarily at a three-day Narrative Hackathon workshop, where a group of 10-20 writers, artists, futurists, and subject area experts will collaborate on particular stories, situations, and story arcs that will provide a narrative engine for upcoming EVOKE alternate reality games. The Hackathon event will take place at Arizona State University in fall 2014, and will organize participants into small interdisciplinary teams that will work through a series of creative exercises. The Hackathon compresses the collaborative process, creating an environment of structured serendipity and intense cross-pollination among participants. Outputs will include short stories and story fragments, summaries and outlines, character sketches, visual art, graphic novel illustrations and fragments, short films, and prototype game mechanics. A key deliverable for the project will be the design of the Narrative Hackathon workshop, which will produce foundational content for at least four mission-driven EVOKE narratives around grand global challenges such as climate change, water, energy and education. The creation of the narrative backstory several months before the Hackathon event will enable Hackathon participants to read the backstory in advance and begin virtual interaction and engagement, brainstorming their own ideas and contributions. This will streamline the Hackathon event, as all participants can proceed from a common set of fictional world rules, themes, and scenarios, as well as a consistent overall aesthetic. In CSIs Future of the Book project, using highly structured book sprints with pre-prepared themes, chapter titles, and other guiding materials to generate collaborative creativity has been quite effective. In these rapid prototyping environments, the structure provided by a common set of guidelines and a carefully-orchestrated event schedule that incorporates community-building elements such as cross-group feedback, whole-group debriefs, and small-group report-outs to the entire workshop frees creative people up to be highly productive, even in a highly compressed timeframe. During May and June, CSI will also develop a dedicated section of the Project Hieroglyph platform (http://hieroglyph.asu.edu) as a digital hub for the growing network of writers, artists, futurists and others collaborating on the EVOKE project. Users will have the ability to create social profiles on the platform and have conversations, share resources, and seek feedback on works in progress. This platform will serve as a network hub for the project going forward, as we recruit more creative collaborators to contribute to the EVOKE universe. It will also be a clearinghouse for EVOKE narratives, the narrative backstory, and other artifacts that will inspire network participants and provide context for their future contributions. In the run-up to the Hackathon event in fall 2014, the digital hub will give participants the opportunity to begin familiarizing themselves both with the EVOKE universe and with other participants. These pre-existing digital bonds will lead to robust collaboration and productivity during the Hackathon.
Effective start/end date5/21/146/30/14


  • World Bank: $25,000.00


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