The Youthful Cities Digital Storytelling Lab is a one-of-a-kind creative development program that has brought together a group of young creatives from Nairobi and Coventry – filmmakers, digital artists, writers, musicians, and changemakers – in a cultural and creative skills exchange to create two new digital stories that will inspire change in their respective cities.
Kenyans involved in the project include Millan Tarus, Tracy Mwaura, Mike W. Khakame, Analo Kanga, Naserian Koikai and Precious Narotso. James Grubb, Lanaire Aderemi, Demy Jozeph and Michael Mihoc are from Coventry.Both teams worked collaboratively and remotely, through various stages of lockdown, across Nairobi and Coventry to create an interactive short-film ‘Our Daily Bread’ and a spatial audio experience titled ‘Now That I Know Things’.
“By sharing our stories with the world our goal is to inspire policymakers, activists, and governments to be intentional and deliberate in combating issues that affect young people across the globe. We’ve all acquired skill sets that we can’t wait to put into practice for future projects and made new alliances with a network of revolutionary creatives to connect with and learn from. It’s been a season of learning and growth both professionally and personally,” explained Team Our Daily Bread.
The works will premiere on BBC Taster on 28 April, after which they will be available to experience on the website that showcases the organization’s immersive and interactive experiences, encouraging users to share what they’ve just tried with their friends.
‘Our Daily Bread’ was created with BBC R&D. StoryFormer explores several city themes and how they affect a young person’s mental health as they navigate the challenges of job hunting. Audiences can choose how the tale evolves and travel between scenes set in Nairobi and those set in Coventry in this experience.
‘Now That I Know Things,’ created with BBC R&D’s Audio Orchestrator, follows the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of Aisha in Nairobi and Sara in Coventry as they approach their graduation days. The project makes use of linked smart devices such as computers, tablets, and phones to provide users with an immersive audio experience.
The creatives from Nairobi and Coventry joined the Digital Storytelling lab in July 2021 and have since taken part in a specially devised learning program designed to introduce them to a range of cutting-edge immersive storytelling techniques, tools, and platforms. A series of masterclasses, creative labs, and workshops led by a variety of digital trailblazers were held to mentor and encourage young people in creating their own short-form immersive and interactive digital experiences.
The Youthful Cities Digital Storytelling program celebrates cities where the citizens are activists, shaping their own futures through art, creativity, and technology.
“Curiosity and a commitment to continuous learning are the foundation of this and all mural collaborations supported by the British Council. We are proud of the work the creatives have produced and are hopeful that these pieces will inspire broader conversations on the themes touched on in this project and encourage further exploration of immersive media tools as instruments for digital storytelling,” Head of Arts, British Council Kenya, Sandra Chege added.