Stage 8
-
English
Talk
Everyone
Telling Urgent Stories with Interactive Maps

Short thesis

Maps are a powerful, but under-explored tool for storytelling and documentary. This session looks at a recent online documentary, Migration Trail, to look at the possibilities for telling stories in interactive maps and data, exploring of what works and what doesn't when telling stories with this format, how audiences interact with it, the opportunities and dangers of location data.

Description

This session looks at a recent online documentary, Migration Trail, to explore the possibilities for telling stories in interactive maps and data. We’ll share the sometimes surprising lessons we learned about what works and what doesn’t when telling stories with interactive maps, the ethical challenges of working with this format and how audiences interact with it.

Migration Trail is a mapped data visualisation which follows a series of fictional migrants travelling to Europe in real time, over ten days. It follows the journeys of two fictional migrants travelling to Europe in real time over ten days. Telling this story via maps offered a number of interesting opportunities – to link individual stories to larger scale statistics that could provide the context for the experiences of individual migrants; to use the journey structure to help people link together and make sense of stories they had already heard around migration, of Libyan people smugglers, Hungarian border closures and camp evictions in Calais and show how they were part of the same, wider story; finally, to personalise the story for viewers, helping them to understand their own place in it.

This short talk will share insights from the creation and production of this innovative experience that people can apply to their own storytelling projects. It will also look at the ethical issues raised by the use of maps for storytelling, not least the use of personal location data, which can give away huge amounts of sensitive information if great care is not taken and the strategies we developed to address these risks. Animated graphics and data visualisations drawn from the online experience will be shared to illustrate the talk.