Creating Digital Narrative Artworks: An Expanding Geographical Field

Jack Lowe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


As a persistent and pervasive domain of cultural meaning-making and communication, narrative media have remained a core topic of interest in cultural geography for several decades. This includes study of the spatial imagination behind fictional texts in the ‘literary geographies’ sub-field (e.g. Hones, 2008; Saunders, 2010) and preoccupation of the ‘new cultural geography’ with discourse and representation in a range of narrative media (e.g. Barnes and Duncan, 1992; Duncan and Ley, 1993). Nonetheless, the increased prevalence and computational power of digital technologies are enabling forms of storytelling that engage with space in distinctive ways. Media such as videogames, AR/VR/locative artworks, interactive TV/film and hypertexts represent navigable spaces in which users’ movement through, interpretation of, and agency within designed fictional worlds are central mechanisms for the enactment of stories (Murray, 1997). Given the primacy of space to these interactive storytelling forms, how might geographers apprehend digital narrative creation and experiences as a research topic? This paper addresses this question by discussing the (auto)ethnographic process of designing, testing and running digital narrative artworks for research. Identifying an absence of practice-based participation in their production, I will use the example of making my own mixed-reality game, The Timekeeper’s Return, to point towards ways geographers might fruitfully engage with the spatialities of these media through creative practice. I will go on to explain how my current PhD project attempts to expand the field further, by making a participatory mixed-reality game that elicits and communicates diverse individual stories at the places in which they unfolded.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInnovative Research Methods session at RGS-IBG PGF Mid-Term Conference 2019
Publication statusUnpublished - 25 Apr 2019
EventRGS-IBG Postgraduate Forum Mid-Term Conference - Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 24 Apr 201926 Apr 2019


ConferenceRGS-IBG Postgraduate Forum Mid-Term Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • videogames
  • narrative
  • digital geographies
  • practice-based research

Cite this