AKO Storytelling Institute unveils its class of 2023/24 Fellows, pioneering social impact through storytelling.
We've selected 12 Storytelling Fellows and 1 Associate Fellow to explore how storytelling can help counter misinformation and disinformation.
The inaugural cohort comes from varied industries including journalism, documentary, interactive, visual and sound arts, curation, campaigning, activism and academia.
The topics to be explored by the fellows are wide-ranging from investigating the aesthetics of 'truthiness' to dissecting and utilising the mechanics of conspiracy theories; from probing the blurred lines of advertorial and journalism to using the gallery space to explore the potential for truth consensus. Over the course of the year the group will identify pathways for change, target audiences, tactics and creative approaches to counter disinformation through storytelling.
Al is an award-winning artist. He has exhibited internationally and collaborated extensively with scientists, academics and performers in his interdisciplinary projects. He was the first visual artist to receive a Wellcome Engagement Fellowship and in 2019, he co-curated Smoke and Mirrors: The Psychology of Magic at Wellcome Collection.
Al will develop an exhibition proposal in response to a new book written by the cognitive psychologists Christopher Chabris and Dan Simons, querying: can exhibitions improve public understanding about the psychology of deception?
Caroline is a critical designer, researcher, and artist. She’s the founder of human rights and design lab, Convocation Research and Design. For the past few years, she has been examining the intersections of artificial intelligence, intersectional justice, systems design, harm and politics in digital conversational spaces and technology platforms.
Caroline will investigate the concept of truthiness, the visual aesthetics of what constitutes credibility and truth and how technology creates the blurriness between fact and fiction.
Cecilie Steenbuch Traberg
Cecilie is a Psychology PhD Candidate at Cambridge University where she conducts research on the social context of (mis)information. Her work explores the potential and limitations of psychological misinformation “vaccines” outside the psychology lab. She is also a mum of 2 and a violinist in a Symphony orchestra.Cecilie will harness the power of social influence to reduce misinformation susceptibility, examining how real social interaction impacts our judgements and beliefs in relation to falsehoods using novel social-psychological experiments.
Deborah is a Nigerian artist and writer, raised in South London and Southern Ontario. Her work is based heavily in sound and story. Exploring the intersections between materiality, intimacy and diaspora, the narratives Deborah sculpts are often defined by a fiction that feels both surreal and true.
Deborah will be investigating the relational dynamics around disinformation and how these can potentially impact the nature of this global challenge.
Hina is a content specialist experienced in editorial, marketing, creative and content strategy. She has worked for companies including The BBC, CNN, The Economist and The Guardian. Hina's projects have included animation, audio, articles, digital and social storytelling
Hina will observe the growth of brand studios at news organisations, exploring their identities and commercial value, as well as how journalistic institutions distinguish editorial content and advertiser funded ‘native content’.
Jake Charles Rees
Jake is a curator and programme manager at the Centre for Investigative Journalism in London, UK and co-founder of the Center for Artistic Inquiry and Reporting. He has worked with artists, journalists, filmmakers and technologists to produce artworks, events and publications about journalism and the emerging field of artistic investigative reporting.
Jake will explore how artists and journalists can work together to utilise social media and boost media literacy to combat mis/disinformation in young people across the UK.
Luke is Acting Co-Head of Barbican Immersive and Curator at the Barbican, London. Luke’s most recent productions include leading on the co-curation and development of Our Time on Earth (2022) and AI: More than Human (2019). Luke’s focus is the increasingly entwined relationship of Humans with technology and creating content and experiences that enable audiences to process our rapidly changing world.
Luke will examine the idea of consensus truth through the lens of Psychedelics, Artificial Intelligence and Queer Identities.
Professor Patricia Kingori
Patricia is a sociologist and research fellow at Oxford University where she leads a team of researchers exploring concerns around Fakes, Fabrications and Falsehoods in Global Health. Her research interests intersect the sociology of science and medicine, Science, Technology & Society (STS) and bioethics. She has extensive experience of undertaking critical examinations of ethics in practice in different countries in Africa and South East Asia.
Patricia will explore fake news and misinformation in yoga and wellness communities.
Rachel is a writer, dramaturg and narrative designer. She is lead artist-CEO of award-winning interdisciplinary collective Fast Familiar, who make experiences and tools which are playful, participatory and political. She is fascinated by art as a space for rehearsing collective responses to complex problems.
Rachel will explore social observation and perception and how the demise of local news is creating a space for disinformation to proliferate and create conspiracy theory.
Sophie is Director of Impact, Measurement and Learning at Purpose. She previously worked in monitoring and evaluation in the development sector, before joining Purpose where, for the past three years, she has focused on evidence-based campaigning practices and applying evaluation approaches to narrative-based work. Sophie will use audience profiles as narrative devices to help audiences understand their own ability to differentiate truth from lies and consider their vulnerability to mis/disinformation.
Yasmin is an independent curator and cultural advisor. She founded Covalent Creatives, a cultural strategy consultancy, engaging diverse audiences with interdisciplinary programmes connecting art, science and heritage. Her portfolio includes exhibitions at the British Library, Science Museum and Francis Crick Institute.
Yasmin will challenge the truth and lies within museums, explore if half-truths occur - whether by omission or obfuscation - and co-produce a toolkit to gauge the trustworthiness of gallery narratives.
We are also delighted to welcome Penny Woolcock, an award-winning writer and director who works across genres, documentaries and drama for film and television, opera and art installations. “It’s all about the best way to tell a story because the stories we tell about each other absolutely shape the world we live in. Stories matter.”
Penny, who is currently in residence at LCC, will collaborate with fellow Patricia Kingori.
The fellows will be awarded a £7500 bursary along with comprehensive support in the form of bespoke mentorship and participation in a workshop-based programme of applied learning, expertly co-designed with Crossover Labs. The selection process for the fellows entailed an open call held from March to May, attracting an overwhelming response of over 250 applicants.
The topic of Truth and Lies has never been so relevent with disinformation affecting every area of public life: from state sponsored disinformation to grassroots conspiracy theories; in mainstream media and online in the margins. The year will explore how storytelling can contribute to countering disinformation – from information and educational to structural and institutional.
The institute will be sharing its learnings along the way and holding public events. Sign-up to our newsletter to receive updates.
Read the original UAL Storytelling Fellowship call-out 2023/2024.
About AKO Storytelling Institute
The AKO Storytelling Institute works at the intersection of storytelling and social change. As a part of University of the Arts London’s new Social Purpose Group, our mission is to enable storytellers and campaigners to make a greater social impact through their work. Through interdisciplinary experimentation and collaboration, we develop evidence-based approaches to the theory and practice of storytelling-for-change.