Research Topic

Interactive Digital Narratives Representing Complexity

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About this Research Topic

A comprehensive view of Interactive Digital Narratives (IDNs) as a field of study and a design discipline is developing, including work on a shared vocabulary, authoring tools, conceptual underpinnings, a shared body of design principles, and methods for evaluation. The INDCOR project (Interactive Narrative ...

A comprehensive view of Interactive Digital Narratives (IDNs) as a field of study and a design discipline is developing, including work on a shared vocabulary, authoring tools, conceptual underpinnings, a shared body of design principles, and methods for evaluation. The INDCOR project (Interactive Narrative Design for COmplexity Representations) addresses this challenge by means of a coordinated effort in establishing a shared conceptual framework, an understanding of societal impact, empirical evaluation methods and by analyzing and generalizing design and production methods of stand-out IDN works with a particular focus on the representation of complex issues.

The Research Topic invites contributions to the interdisciplinary study of IDNs as a means to address complexity as a societal challenge by representing, experiencing and comprehending complex phenomena. This Research Topic is focused on the application of IDNs in its various forms (XR experiences, Narrative-focused games, interactive documentaries, journalistic interactives, installation pieces, narrative interfaces to big data, etc) for the representation of complex issues. Such issues may include: the COVID 19 global pandemic, migration, war and conflict, global climate change as well as complex social and interpersonal issues around issues such as mental health, diversity and inclusion and gender representation. Due to its systemic, procedural and participatory nature IDNs have several advantages for representing such topics. IDNs allow audiences to experience the consequences of a series of choices (e.g. in terms of environmental impact) and then to reconsider these choices though replay. In addition, IDNs can contain multiple competing perspectives that enable audiences to experience them within a single comprehensive space. With a focus on participatory forms (e.g. integrated discussion fora, organized co-creative activities, or multiple authorship), IDNs can also coordinate and organize the discourse on a complex topic to accommodate mny voices and perspectives. So far, the potential of IDNs has been applied in diverse projects and with different conceptual frameworks. The challenge therefore is to change IDNs current status from ‘singular achievement’ of small groups of ‘initiated’ practitioners to ‘general practice’ of many media companies.

For this Research Topic, we invite contributions related to the representation of complex issues using IDN from a range of transdisciplinary engagements and methods, including theoretical and critical perspectives, design approaches, evaluation methods, and societal impact.

Some potential topics include, but are not limited to:
- Implementation of IDNs by XR technologies creating Immersive media experiences
- Theory and discussions on definition of IDNs
- Authoring tools for IDNs
- Evaluation methodology for IDNs
- Exploring the use of IDN for encouraging Involvement and engagement in complex social issues
- Application of IDNs addressing societal impact.
- Recent case studies and relevant experiments

We would like to highlight the contributions from PhD students Asim Hameed and Shafaq Irshad who were instrumental in organizing this Research Topic.


Keywords: Interactive Digital Narratives (IDNs), Representing Complexity, Models of Complexity


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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