Sussex Humanities Lab

Narrative as Data < > Data as Narrative

'Storytelling Animals'
The SHL 2018 Summer Sandbox
12-13 June 2018

The Sussex Humanities Lab invites applications from doctoral students, early career researchers and faculty who would like to join us for our annual two-day summer gathering. The event is a free-roaming exploration of themes, theories and creative possibilities suggested by the theme of data and narrative, in the digital age. Participation is free and we have a small number of bursaries available. If you are interested in joining us or proposing a session, please register to attend and apply for bursaries here (deadline 14th May)


Narrative as Data < > Data as Narrative

Humankind has sometimes been described as the storytelling animal, but the ascendance of digitised data in recent decades has changed the ways in which narratives can be created, mediated and understood, offering rich opportunities and potent challenges for scholarship and creative endeavour.

The centrality of ‘narrative’ to our construction of meaning is apparent in the breadth and diversity of the term’s use across scholarly disciplines and creative practices. It is a concept that can encompass intentional acts of artistic creation or the unconscious recollection of events; that is used to define national identity or structure episodic entertainment; that shapes our sense of history and influences our social and political behavior.

Computational methods of analysis allow narrative patterning to be discovered in digital data at vast and intimate scales and to be made accessible through visualisation, while the ubiquity digital data allows new and responsive forms of computational narrative art to emerge – games, locative experiences, contextual storytelling - at the same time as enabling unprecedented forms of narrative manipulation and control.

How then should we tell the stories of our past, present and future in an age of digitised data?

  How the Sandbox works: 
  • Agenda-setting by participants, including pre-posted ideas, and lightning talks.
  • Bring visions and unresolved challenges that are rooted in your own practices of enquiry.
  • Find sympathisers, sounding boards and re-interpreters, to recast your interests in a new light.
  • Provocateurs and advisors/mentors will circulate between sandbox groups to seed ideas.
  • Conceive speculative projects or develop ideas for work rooted in familiar data, and reflect on the challenges and requirements for their realisation.

   Suggestions of possible themes.


Please complete the application form, including ideas for discussion and personal background information, as you wish. Applications are requested by 14th May, when a first assignment of places (and decisions on bursaries) will be made, but may still be considered until early June.