‘Stories are the secret reservoir of values: change the stories
individuals and nations live by and you change the individuals and nations’.
(Ben Okri)

StoryLab Research Network Symposium UCLan


One hundred years of hegemonic dominance from Western, predominantly Hollywood, values and aesthetics may have created a long term effect on how filmmakers in the developing world, and independent filmmakers in the developed world, tell stories cinematically. Digital technology is, however, making the filmmaking form accessible, opening up opportunities for diverse individuals and cultures to express their own identities through film. The explosion of filmmaking in black sub-Saharan Africa, the emergence of a strong Latin American cinema and the empowerment of independent filmmaking evident in South East Asia are but a few examples of the consequence of the democratisation not only of production technologies, but means of distribution and exhibition. As filmmakers in the developing world become more confident about their filmmaking and their own identities, how is this growing confidence going to challenge notions of quality, visual aesthetic, narrative structure and story themes for so long set by aspirations towards Western cinema?

Utilising interdisciplinary approaches inspired from music and anthropology, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded StoryLab Research Network will develop a methodology entitled Ethnomediaology. An interdisciplinary approach inspired by practices in Ethnomusicology and Autoethnography, Ethnomediaology involves the active and immersive participation of researchers in the research culture and process, using this active personal engagement as a basis for knowledge generation, data gathering and evaluation. The StoryLab Research Network seeks to explore the following questions: What are the consequences for the democratisation of the means of filmmaking and film dissemination on how filmmakers in the developing world tell cinematic stories and in what ways are these stories, and their mode of expression, reflecting a different perspective on living in an increasingly globalised world? In what ways may these emerging narrative developments impact cinematic storytelling in the UK and beyond?


A team of practice led researchers from leading film education institutions in each of the countries of Australia, Dr Nico MeissnerGriffith Film School, (who will be working through Malaysia on this project), Ghana, Sarah Kuntoh, National Film and Television Institute in Accra, Colombia, Dr Sandra Carolina Patiño Ospina, from the University of Ibague in collaboration with Susana Ortiz Obregón, from the National University of Colombia, and the UK, led by Professor Erik Knudsen from the University of Central Lancashire. This research network is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).


Find out more about the workshops, the projects being developed in the workshops and the filmmakers involved.

StoryLab Malaysia: CMPC FINAS – Content Malaysia Pitching Center, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 14th to 16th June 2017.
StoryLab Ghana: National Film and Television Institute, Accra, Ghana, 25th to 27th July 2017.
StoryLab Colombia: University of Ibague, Ibague, Colombia, 12th to 14th September 2017.
StoryLab California (Wind Wolves Preserve): Bakersfield, California, USA, 9th June to 8th July 2018.

If you are a potential participant, have a look at the Participant Information page and the Participant Consent form.