The event, now in its seventh year, saw entries across a variety of different styles and narratives including non-fiction, novels and transmedia pieces. The event was also televised live by BU Television Production students under the supervision of Studio Production demonstrator, Alan Fox.
Judges assessed interactive stories that could be viewed over PC, tablet or phone, using words, images, film or animation. Five key areas formed the judging criteria: innovative use of new media, accessibility, effective use of interactive elements, examples of things that new media can do that traditional cannot, and the potential to reach a wider audience.
The first of five prizes, £1,000, donated by if:book UK Director, transmedia writer Chris Meade, saw JR Carpenter invited to the stage to collect the award for “The Gathering Cloud”, a hybrid print and web-based work converging on the work of 19th century manufacturing chemist, Luke Howard, who first penned the names for cloud formations in 1803.Canadian artist and writer, JR Carpenter, also gave a talk on the history of her work, “things rarely turn out the way I intend them to”, which looked at how the progression of the internet from her first work on Netscape 1.1 in 1995 had shaped her work and enabled her to realise new creative ideas.
An audience Q&A session saw questions asked by the audience on the transitions of her work between physical text and traditional media to digital stories, hybrid texts, and convergent media, as well as some advice for those looking to start or innovate their own new media texts.
Peter Phillips, CEO of Unicorn Training awarded the Student Prize, a three month paid internship to Jamie Paddock, whose work “The Dying Mind” explores themes of loneliness and mental illness within a first person exploratory narrative.Jamie, a final-year BA Communications & Media student at BU, said: “I was delighted to win the award as there were some really innovative pieces shortlisted this year. My piece tried to break the taboos of mental health issues and suicide so it’s great that it’s been given the platform of the New Media Writing Prize.
“Like any other student, the time after finishing university is an uncertain one so it’s a huge relief to be able to take up this fantastic opportunity with a three month paid internship at E-Learning company Unicorn Training in the summer.”
He added: “I almost didn’t apply as I don’t always have the confidence in my own ability in creative writing so it’s great to see my work be recognised with such a positive response. Bournemouth University, and the tutors on my course helped support me on my journey for the past three years and I am extremely grateful for them in their support.”
Other awards included the Dot Award, also sponsored by if:book, which was awarded to Theodoros Chiotis, for this idea for a multimedia autographical performance, and two awards sponsored by Gorkana, the Gorkana Award for UK Digital Journalism, won by Carla Pedret for “The Exodus Data Project”, and the Gorkana Award for International Digital Journalism, won by Berta Tilmantaite and her team for “Will to Win”, a mixed-media piece about the Lithuanian Paralympic Team.
In summing up this year’s awards, host and organiser, BU’s Dr Jim Pope said: “2016 has seen yet another brilliant set of shortlisted pieces and worthy winners. We have had entries from all around the world, and the winners come from Canada, Spain, the UK, Lithuania, and Greece - so truly an international event.
“With £5,500 in prize money this year, the event is clearly expanding in reach and status and we look forward to the 2017 round.”
Those interested in the awards and shortlist, should visit: http://newmediawritingprize.co.uk/