Call: Pro-Social Play! International conference on Storytelling and Well-being across Media Borders

Call for Papers

Pro-Social Play!
International conference on Storytelling and Well-being across Media Borders
17-19 October, 2019
University of Kent, U.K.

Abstract submission deadline: June 30, 2019

Plenary speakers:
Charles Forceville, Media Studies, University of Amsterdam
Tobias Greitemeyer, Social Psychology, University of Innsbruck, Austria
Anja Laukötter, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany
Harry Yi-Jui Wu, Medical Ethics and Humanities, Hong Kong University

Roundtable discussion with the award winning film director, Clio Barnard, following a screening of Dark River (2017)

Workshops by artists at the arts charity People United on prosocial performances

This truly interdisciplinary and international conference brings together scholars of empirical and theoretical research as well as practitioners working on narrative arts for promoting pro-social behaviours and mental well-being across different media. To date, the pro-social narratives have often been studied with a focus on testing people’s media exposure and pro-social effects. Nevertheless, as explicitly pointed out by most of these studies, we also need to investigate how the narrative factors are designed, structured and mobilised in a specific coherent way to effectively achieve the intended prosocial and mental health purposes. Hence, it is crucial to advance the theoretical link between the design choice of narrative, media technological features for engaging people in difficult topics and their pro-social response. Establishing the link is precisely the main objective of this conference. This includes, but is not limited to, the following topics:

  • Narrative factors for evoking people’s empathy, achieving educational purposes
  • Link between prosocial behaviour and mental health
  • Storytelling, practical application and mental health
  • Narrative medicine
  • Technology features of different media platforms that afford, strengthen or constrain the pro-social, persuasive functions of narratives
  • Impact of social cultural conventions on different narrative designs
  • Historical perspectives of pro-social storytelling
  • Transmedia comparison of pro-social messages, for instance, across film, TV, comics, video games, games, literature, etc.
  • Pro-social storytelling in social media
  • Pro-social storytelling through live performances and live interaction
  • Balance between emotional engagement and message credibilities
  • Empirical evidence of pro-social, persuasive functions in storytelling across media
  • Pro-social narrative designs for children and adolescents

Abstract submission deadline: 30.06.2019

We invite two kinds of submissions: 1. Research papers 2. Workshops by artists, designers, health professionals and other practitioners working on pro-sociality and storytelling.

Abstracts (max. 300 words) and bio notes (max. 100 words) must be submitted (as PDF or Word attachment) to

For more details, please visit our website:

Please share the call widely. We look forward to receiving your abstracts!

The organising committee,

Dieter Declercq, Chiao-I Tseng and Nicola Shaughnessy


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