Interactive Novel In Line For Education Award

For immediate use: 27 February 2008

An interactive novel created by a writer and artist who work at De Montfort University has been nominated for a national education award, and is being showcased by the EU as well used by teachers in classrooms around the world.

'Inanimate Alice' (see www.inanimatealice.com ) tells the adventures of a girl who becomes a games artist and it has been nominated in the Interactive Productions category of the 2008 Learning On Screen awards given by BUFVC, the British Universities Film and Video Council.

Winners will be announced in York on 18 March. For more information on The Learning on Screen Awards which celebrate excellence in the use of moving image and related media in learning, teaching and research, go to: http://www.bufvc.ac.uk/learningonscreen .

Inanimate Alice is writtenand directed by writer Kate Pullinger, who teaches on the online Masters degree in Creative Writing and New Media at De Montfort University, and digital artist Chris Joseph, Digital Writer in Residence at the Institute of Creative Technologies at the University.

It is a series of multimedia, interactive episodes which use a combination of text, sound, images, and games as Alice takes readers/players on a journey through her life from the age of eight through to her twenties. Alice becomes a games animator; a creator of characters for the most successful games company in the world.

The episodes become increasingly interactive and game-like, reflecting Alice's own developing skills as a game designer and animator. 'Inanimate Alice' is a study of human/computer relations in a world where having friends means never having to meet them.

One of only four nominations for the annual BUFVC Interactive Production Award, which also include BBC and CBBC initiatives, Inanimate Alice is also being used in classrooms around the world and has been showcased on a new EU website to promote intercultural dialogue.

The website is http://www.interculturaldialogue2008.eu and as part of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, Inanimate Alice is now available in French, German, Italian and Spanish translations.

An Education Pack has also been created by De Montfort University's New Media Researcher, Jess Laccetti, to accompany the series. Educators can download this free resource at www.inanimatealice.com/education .

Author Kate Pullinger said: "Inanimate Alice has proven to be popular across a broad range of ages as well as with a broad range of viewers, including both book-lovers and gamers. Because the level of interactivity starts out low in episode one, increasing with each subsequent episode in order to reflect Alice's own growing abilities, we've found that we can take an audience unfamiliar with multimedia fiction with us. Educators like Inanimate Alice because of this; students from primary to post-graduate level find the work engaging."

Chris Joseph said: "It's fantastic that the BUFVC have recognised Inanimate Alice for its use within educational environments, and the nomination is confirmation of De Montfort University's growing status as a centre for cutting edge digital arts and education within the UK. It is particularly satisfying to be sharing the platform with the high budget productions from the BBC and CBBC."

Jess Laccetti said: "Students from primary to post-graduate level find Inanimate Alice engaging and it can help teachers successfully integrate new media literacies into the classroom. Because of its multimodality (images, sounds, text, interaction) students see

storytelling in a new light and this can them develop and refine the multiple literacies (literary, cinematic, artistic, participatory etc.) required today for successful navigation of the online environment."

ENDS

Note for Editors:

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact De Montfort University Press Office on 0116 2577021.

Kate Pullinger's books include the novels 'Weird Sister' and 'The Last Time I Saw Jane' as well as the novel of the film 'The Piano'. Kate's most recent novel is 'A Little Stranger', and her new digital project is 'Flight Paths', ( www.flightpaths.net), another collaboration with Chris Joseph, funded by Arts Council England.

Chris Joseph is an award-winning digital writer and artist whose past projects include The Breathing Wall (with Kate Pullinger and Stefan Schemat), a groundbreaking digital novel that responds to the reader's breathing rate; Animalamina, a collection of interactive poetry for children; and 391.org, a post-dada magazine and network. He is currently Digital Writer in Residence at the Institute of Creative Technologies in De Montfort University.

The British Universities Film&Video Council (BUFVC) promotes the production, study and use of moving image, sound and related media in higher education and research. The Council is a related body of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (see www.hefce.ac.uk/aboutus/related) and receives part funding as grant via the Joint Information Systems Committee ( www.jisc.ac.uk).


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