REACT scheme to explore future of books

Authors Nick Harkaway and Neil Gaiman are to take part in a new nationwide scheme being launched to explore books and print as a “historical, contemporary and future phenomena”.

The initiative will comprise eight collaborations taking place between creative economy partners and academic researchers. Harkaway and Gaiman will collaborate on "these pages fall like ash" by academic Tom Abba and artists collective Circumstance, which will invite an audience to participate in a digital-first narrative experience “challenging traditional publishing norms”.

Executive producer Clare Reddington said: “In a time when the publishing industry continues to be put under pressure to change because of new creation and distribution channels, the strength of the collaborations and the focus on narrative and writing within the group is particularly rewarding.

"Over the next three months, these projects will explore the many opportunities for the written word in a digital age and I can’t wait to see what they will produce.”

Each collaboration will receive funding from the REACT Knowledge Exchange Hub for the Creative Economy, which is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Each academic partner will receive funding of £50,000, with up to £10,000 to the creative economy partner. Each collaboration will be developed at the Pervasive Media Studio, Watershed, in Bristol.

The list of projects also includes: Writer On The Train by Fabrizio Nevola, Agant and James Attlee which will use the linear space of the Bristol to London mainline, utilising smart phones and GPS to “deliver a new literary form” and The Secret Lives of Books by Guerilla Dance Company and academic Tom Mitchell.

The scheme falls under the banner of Books and Print Sandbox, which is part of REACT, led by UWE Bristol.

REACT supports innovative products and transformational services by bringing together companies and academics through game-changing collaborations using the sandbox model.