StoryWeb: creating stories around climate change

Digital Sustainability

Collaborators Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and The Centre for Climate Change and Social Transitions, Great North Museum: Hancock

Abstract

Story:Web explores how museum collections, and images and sounds shared online could be connected to make sense of and discuss environmental issues like climate change.

Method

An interactive demo of Story:Web was built and exhibited at the Glasgow Science Centre up to and during COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference. Co-design workshops are developing this idea into a real digital system.

Takeaways

During 2022 we are co-designing a new online in-museum interactive Story:Web for the Great North Museum: Hancock, for and with 16-19 year olds.

Museum collections and images and sounds shared online are untapped resources for making sense of environmental issues like climate change. Story:Web is an investigation of how digital technology can bring these elements together to enable people to better understand and discuss environmental issues online, and in museums.

Story:Web began as a winning entry to the Reimagining Museums for Climate Action design challenge. And, in 2021, an interactive demo of Story:Web was on show at the Glasgow Science Centre up to and during COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference.

Roots and Wings created a video of Story:Web ahead of COP26

In 2022, we are working with young people aged 16-19 to develop the idea of Story:Web into a real digital system that can be used on social media and in museums to have better conversations about environmental issues. By co-designing with this age group, Story:Web will reach those who typically no longer visit museums and represent a step towards ‘museums of the future’ that go beyond physical buildings. This work will produce and evaluate a new online and in-museum interactive for the Great North Museum: Hancock.

People using the StoryWeb interactive demo at the Glasgow Science Centre ahead of COP26.
People using the StoryWeb interactive demo at the Glasgow Science Centre ahead of COP26.

Story:Web explores what happens if we consider museum collections as big data, linked with other organisations’ collections and with publicly shared media on websites such as Flickr and Bandcamp. In this way every collection object or media item becomes a Story:Snippet, which can be linked by different authors to tell larger stories.

This Story:Web of big data can then be mined, shared and contributed to both by humans and non-humans (artificial intelligences). Story:Web supports new ways of storytelling, with museums and the public as co-authors and co-curators, which encourage discovery, reflection, and action.

Story:Web used Twitter and Instagram alongside the hashtag #GrowStoryWeb asking for contributions ahead of the interactive demo at COP26. People contributed their own stories via social media, which were then added to the Story:Web.

Story:Web used Instagram to gather comments and stories for the interactive demo.
Story:Web used Instagram to gather comments and stories for the interactive demo.

Story:Web is a project from Simon Bowen at Open Lab, Sarah Mander at Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and The Centre for Climate Change and Social Transitions, the Great North Museum: Hancock, and contemporary musician, field recordist and sound artist David de la Haye.