Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Transmedia storytelling for critical engagement

Leiden University and VU Amsterdam are developing a joint research project for a digital platform on which you can compose and share storylines with the use of images. Such interactivity will make a boring high school history lesson much more exciting and personalized. Furthermore, it will stimulate engagement into for example cultural diversity and gender differences.

2016 - 2018
Michael Lew
NWO KIEM grant

Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science

Faculty of Humanities Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Studio diip


Leiden computer vision scientist Michael Lew is investigating the algorithms for this system. The project, called Transmedia storytelling for critical engagement, includes not only scientific partners, but also two creative media companies. It received a KIEM grant from research fund NWO to stimulate cross-over research between humanity and IT-research, both on a fundamental and an applied level. The collaborative partners hope to turn the current grant into a larger follow-up project.

Improve education

In our digital age, people may learn effectively in a digital environment which allows personal stories to be researched and told. It is important to make topics visible and allow students to make their own associations. Especially in cultural studies such as visual art, design, architecture and heritage, user engagement could improve education in a range of environments and for different educational purposes.

Image association

In such a digital learning environment, being enabled to work with digital images ‘on the spot’, will be crucial. A digital platform with real time image recognition is expected to make high quality applications possible and thus improve visual quality of the education. Marjan Groot of VU Amsterdam: ‘People can share images, which will be recognized by our computer system, and associated with the input of other users within the same theme.’

‘People can then write stories to add the facts and context of the theme. In our study it will be the material culture of peace and war, from the angles of cross-culture and gender. We expect that our platform will help our users to become engaged while learning from narratives on peace and war.’

Challenge in the algorithms

Of course, a condition for the success of the platform is its quick response. Michael Lew of the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science is responsible for this part of the study. ‘For me, the great scientific challenge is to design algorithms that can meet the requirements of real time image detection.’

Research partners

Dr. Michael Lew studies computer vision at the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS) of Leiden University. Dr. Marjan Groot is a humanities scholar specialized in material culture and design at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Creative industry partners are Studio diip and 7scenes.

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