Thursday 24 January 2019

Call for Papers: Geographies of Interactive Digital Narratives

Call for Papers: Geographies of interactive digital narratives

RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, Royal Geographical Society, London, 28th – 30th August 2019

Organisers: Jack Lowe (Royal Holloway, University of London) and Scott Palmer (University of Leeds)

In Hamlet on the Holodeck (1997), digital narrative scholar Janet Murray described how digital media’s dramatic power derives from its ability to represent navigable space. In the diverse and growing body of interactive digital narratives (IDNs) including videogames, hypertexts, AR/VR/locative media and interactive TV/film, the user’s movement through, interpretation of, and agency within designed fictional worlds have become primary mechanisms for the enactment of stories. While engagement with literary works has a long history within geography (Pocock, 1988; Brosseau, 1994; Sharp, 2000), contemporary IDNs have received minimal scholarly attention amidst the discipline’s ‘digital turn’, despite their ever-increasing societal recognition (demonstrated by the response to widely-discussed Black Mirror episode ‘Bandersnatch’) and implementation for educational, artistic and entertainment purposes. By concentrating on the storytelling potential of digital environments, this session engages digital geographers with a persistent and pervasive domain of cultural meaning-making; bringing together theoretical and empirical responses to a broad range of IDN forms and grappling with their implications for how we understand space and place in the digital age. Exploring the conceptual and methodological opportunities and challenges IDNs present to geographers, it aims to provoke new and fruitful directions of scholarship with narrative scholars/practitioners across the arts and humanities.

Instructions for authors

This is an explicitly interdisciplinary session and we welcome contributions on this topic from a wide range of fields. We also welcome ideas for creative approaches that integrate the medium of interactive digital narratives into the session, alongside conventional paper presentations (15 minutes plus 5 minutes for questions). Please get in touch with the session organisers if you’d like to discuss your ideas informally. 

Possible topics for discussion could include:

- Relevance of geographical concepts for IDNs
- Social/cultural landscapes of IDN consumption
- Labour geographies of IDN production
- Agency and power relationships in IDN environments
- Affect, embodiment and immersion through IDN environments
- Methodological approaches for studying IDNs
- Uses of IDNs for cultural/heritage/educational purposes
- Relationship between the physical and virtual in IDNs 

Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words to Jack Lowe ( and Scott Palmer ( by Friday 8th February.

Please also let us know if there are any special audio-visual or mobility requirements (a laptop, data projector, screen and audio speakers are provided).

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