Call: “Immersive Storytelling” issue of Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies

Call for Papers

“Immersive Storytelling”
A special issue of Convergence: The International Journal Of Research Into New Media Technologies
https://journals.sagepub.com/home/con

Deadline for Abstract Submissions: 15 February 2022
Deadline for Full Papers: 15 June 2022

We invite submissions for a special issue of Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies on the topic of Immersive Storytelling.

Storytelling is central to the immersive entertainment industry in all its astonishing variety: Alternative Reality Games (ARGs); escape rooms; experiential art; immersive audio; Live Action Role Play (LARP); live experiences incorporating Virtual Reality (VR) or Augmented Reality (AR); scare and other themed attractions; immersive interactive theatre; transmedia and virtual experiences. The industry underpins an international marketplace that encompasses everything from Dreamscape Immersive’s location-based VR attractions, to Museum of Ice Cream’s multi-sensory installations, to Punch Drunk’s immersive theatre shows; examples spread across the USA, Singapore, Dubai and China. The global pandemic has accelerated the pace of R&D as the power of creative minds has focused on connecting with dispersed audiences in their own homes and locales using technologies like streaming and mobile device applications. With this come the challenges of retaining qualities of liveness and collective experience when people can’t physically travel or congregate in large numbers.

At this time of experimentation, adaptation and recovery we can reflect on the current reality of the ‘experience economy’ conceived by Pine and Gilmore in 1998, given that immersion is a contested term and the diverse forms listed above all have complex histories. The goal is to bring together perspectives from the global research community across multiple disciplines which have a stake in developing, studying and critically interrogating immersive storytelling.

The Editors welcome contributions on any topic related to immersive storytelling, such as:

  • Definitional debates and histories. This could include taxonomies, historical background, disciplinary perspectives and comparative analyses of existing works.
  • Collaboration and partnership models. This could include examples of production practice, digitally enabled forms (including algorithmic/automated generation) and authoring processes (including co-creation).
  • Platforms, tools, techniques. This could include content creation tools, underpinning technologies/techniques, prototype systems, conceptual designs and strategies to scaffold user interaction.
  • Aesthetics and new modes of experience. This could include emergent/hybrid creative methodologies, economic value, business model innovation, the contexts of consumption, industries of research and criticism, investment priorities (e.g. the UK’s ?72 million Creative Industries Sector Deal); and the impact of these on cultural policy, professional skills and creative sector employment, especially in light of threats to arts funding
  • Critical approaches to immersive storytelling. This could include modes of participation (agency, liveness, presence and collective experience) and strategies of support (funding and pricing models).
  • Researching immersion and immersive experiences. This could include research histories, approaches to user testing and audience research, and intersectional methodologies for analysing creative practice.
  • Sites, contexts and cultures of immersive storytelling production. This could include issues of representation, social justice, public attitudes, the digital divide, global variations in technology access and usage, and the ethics of using personal data (including unintended consequences).

We are open to a range of approaches in exploring this topic, which is broadly conceptualised, and particularly welcome submissions that address immersive storytelling practice, audiences and research in the global south.

To submit: Please send a 500-word abstract and a 100-word bio per author to the guest editors at sarah.martindale@nottingham.ac.uk and jonathan.hook@york.ac.uk by 15 February 2022.

Authors of accepted abstracts will be contacted in mid-March and invited to submit full contributions by 15 June 2022.

Guest Editors: Sarah Martindale (University of Nottingham, UK) and Jonathan Hook (University of York, UK)

Deadline for Abstract Submissions: 15 February 2022
Deadline for Full Papers: 15 June 2022
Expected date of publication: May 2023

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