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Consider the role of place and time in your story.

What is the terroire of your project? This is something that interactive writers need to consider carefully. The internet, like radio, has the ability to take us anywhere in a nanosecond. We may be deep in the psychological landscape of an insomniac, or at the heart of a tiny community somewhere in the Canadian North. The internet can bring local storytelling out to the masses, uncovering what is universal in the specific. An interactive project needs to consider the relationship of users to the specific ‘place’ of the story.


A strong sense of place:

This is Kevin-Lee Burton’s highly personal photo and text essay about the First Nations Reserve community where he grew up. The story and the interactive design challenge the user by drawing a direct connection between their own most likely urban location, and the location of the featured subjects, who live in remote God’s Lake, Manitoba. Doing so underlines how removed most people are from reserves, thereby questioning their right to judge these communities from afar.

Basically this 3D world is an open sandbox for users to play in, and the places themselves become the main characters of the experience. Actual people crop up as disembodied voices you stumble upon – but you are led primarily by your inquisitive desire to explore a setting.

Metis artist Tyler Hagan gets to know the residents of the Upper and Lower Similkameen Reserve communities in British Columbia. The project reflects the voices of key community members, who help lead the artist on his personal journey of self-discovery. The project is an exploration of a specific place, which makes a larger point about the relationship between place, faith, and identity.

Six writers tell six hyper-local stories about small changes in their communities: changes only a local would notice. The great point is about how incremental small changes at the local level are actually profound markers of the larger trends and shifts in our society. A partnership with CBC Canada Writes.


The internet allows you not only to consider what you are communicating to audience, but when you are communicating with them. You can think of time as a creative tool. You can consider things like – in the evening they may be more likely to be on PC. During the day maybe it’s best to reach them with aspects of the story by phone. Does the time at which they access the story have any relationship to the content of the story itself? Not necessarily – but sometimes. And this is an interesting angle to consider.


The NFB’s French Digital Studio in Montreal explored the pandemic of insomnia sweeping the world, and they did it over time, and fittingly, largely at night.

It was a 2 stage project: 1 – they gathered information from insomniacs. 2 – they made an interactive documentary based on this input. To watch the full experience, you must make an appointment & watch it at night, thus underlining the theme of insomnia once again.

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