Photo by Astra Brinkmann for swissnex SF

Storytelling Lab

The more sophisticated science becomes, the harder it is to communicate results. The aim of the Storytelling Lab is to create a discourse between participants in developing innovative approaches and discover playful ways for mediating research. New technologies are opening up a diverse world of storytelling and a big potential of reaching a new audience. How can you design data to create a powerful way of communicating your work? How can you start a (virtual) conversation with your audience? What technology would fit best to visualize your results?

What is it?

The Storytelling Lab will bring together a group of participants from varied disciplines to explore the future of storytelling. The Lab will deliver a framework for adapting current skill sets into emerging formats, allowing participants to bring back new ideas and techniques to their work in Switzerland and beyond. By combining theoretical topics and hands-on experience, this program aims to get participants thinking about the future of how to shape and interact with content memorably and accurately.

The Lab is an two-week interactive program for Pier 17 Science Studio fellows,  SNSF fellows, mentors, and other participants. Inspired by the model of our startup camps, the idea of the Storytelling Lab is to design a program to learn and exchange on innovative formats that push the boundaries of storytelling. The program will include workshops and lectures from experts based in the San Francisco Bay Area, and cover topics such as social media, VR, AR, podcasting, chatbots, AI-augmented stories, and art-science collaborations.

Participants are expected to come to the Storytelling Lab with a story to shape. While in San Francisco, they will have the opportunity to run it through the gauntlet of all forms of storytelling.

Potential topics covered in the Storytelling Lab

  • Fundamental storytelling techniques
  • Prototyping in journalism
  • Chatbots and AI augmentation
  • Approaching storytelling in AR and VR
  • Podcasting techniques and conversational stories for Smart Speakers

Participants of the Storytelling Lab will become aware of current and upcoming trends in how to craft meaningful messages that help frame our perception of the world, from the perspective of scientific research, interaction design, communication, and the arts. Through exchanges with experts and fellow Lab participants, we aim to build a community of people ready to change the way we make meaning of the world around us.

The 2018 Storytelling Lab took place from November 5-16, 2018 at swissnex San Francisco.

If you would like more information, please email