Reimaging reading: Digital literature research project looks to the future

A two-year collaborative research project, exploring the developing relationship between digital technology and literature was formally launched against the iconic backdrop of The Thames.

The Ambient Literature project will see a team from the universities of Bath Spa, Birmingham and the West of England (UWE) investigate the design and delivery of location-based reading experiences using pervasive technology, which responds to the reader and uses digital media as a bridge between story and place.

Funded by a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the academics will combine expertise on the traditional format of the book with research into the future of literature delivery with the aim of continuing the exploration of the relationship between technology and story-telling.

The project will develop this new knowledge by commissioning three writers to create original stories that will further explore new experiential forms with help from software partner Calvium.

Speaking about the project, Dr Tom Abba, project leader from UWE, commented: “Kate Pullinger, James Attlee and Duncan Speakman have each been asked to create something especially for this form. Each of these works will respond to the presence of a reader, and aim to show how we can redefine the rules of the reading experience through the use of technology.

“Our intention is to develop a whole new writing technique, specifically for this space, which is essentially a new literary genre. It’s a new arena with lots of potential, and a very exciting project to be embarking on.”

Guests at the launch event – hosted by publishers Hachette – were also offered a preview of the forms of storytelling the project is addressing. Experiment i, a contained, ambient story, drew guests into a fictional history of Carmelite House, the location for the event.

For more information about the project go to


(from a press release)