What could a digital literature showcase look like?

WCNI’m currently working with Ceri Gorton on a project for Writers’ Centre Norwich (WCN). We’re exploring literature, digital / technology, and collaboration.

I’ve wanted to work with Ceri for a while, so it’s great having the opportunity to work with her on such a fascinating project.

Writers’ Centre Norwich is developing a National Centre for Writing due to open in early 2018 in Norwich, England’s first UNESCO City of Literature.

Last spring, WCN hosted an International Literature Showcase in Norwich, three years after a first showcase event run in 2012. The International Literature Showcase presented the best of the UK’s new writing and literature development to the world, and promoted creative collaboration and sharing with international writers and partners.

WCN is now exploring a digital version of the showcase, as a complement to the physical festival events. The team asked us to help think about, research and discover what a digital showcase could look like.

Earlier this month, Ceri and I visited Norwich to meet the brilliant WCN team. The Writers’ Centre is based in Dragon Hall, a beautiful Grade 1 listed medieval trading hall. The restored building space is bright and open, lending itself to shared, collaborative work. It’s a physical hub to bring people together.

We had a day of great conversations with Chris Gribble, Chief Executive; Jonathan Morley, Programme Director; Alice Kent, Communications Director; Sam Ruddock, Programme Manager, and members of the WCN team. We talked about literature, digital, sharing and collaboration, new projects and events. We discussed how technology is changing literary organisations. We learned about plans for the Centre.

It was a helpful day that sparked ideas and thoughts for our work.
This month, we’ve been mapping and identifying different stakeholders interested in WCN. These groups include writers, literature agencies and funders. We’ve carried out nine interviews so far, listening and capturing people’s thoughts and ideas.

We’ve been exploring the online and offline networks that writers and literary development agencies use, and the tools that can help people share and learn from one another. How can we open up the processes behind creative decision-making, for people and organisations to learn from?

We’ve had access to data: web analytics and survey information, which is helping to inform our work too. Learning and networking are emerging at this early stage as important themes for people.

We have more to discover. Over the next two weeks we will be drawing together our research. We’ll be identifying more themes from the interviews and conversations. These, along with other investigative work and data analysis, will help address the questions we started out with. I hope to share more of the work we’ve been doing soon.