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What's the story behind STORYBOX?

We're a new kid on the block, and admittedly that does feel pretty weird.

And, yes, we know there are many kinds of Storyboxes in the world, some of them consulting, some of them about libraries and reading, some of them about film. Who doesn't like a storybox?

But we're a bit different. That's because we are an actual STORYBOX. An actual, physical, transportable, heavy, touchable, BOX. The STORYBOX we've designed, in partnership with the good folk at Iron Matrix, takes advantage of the capacity we have now to build structures - houses, buildings, and the like - out of solar panels. That means its LED screens, which appear on two sides of the STORYBOX, can be powered up to 50 per cent by solar power. That means a lot to us.

(If you'd like to know more about our physical (trade-marked) STORYBOX, check out some more specs here or just get in touch.)

Of course, the whole idea of LED screens in public spaces is not exactly new. Nor, frankly, is it very interesting. We're surrounded by screens, and increasingly so in our public spaces. A lot of those screens are there to sell things. This is the bit where we try to be a little bit interesting.

STORYBOX is about a big BOX, yes, but we're also about a particular way of existing in public spaces.

Just as we think a public space should be inclusive, we've created STORYBOX as a way to surface unique and diverse insights and perspectives about a place. With the amount of innovation in mobile platforms and digital screens, we're hoping to also accelerate innovation in the way we program content for public spaces.

Working collaboratively with communities, cultural institutions and creatives, we surface stories and insights that reflect the diversity and uniqueness of a place. We call these 'portals into place'.

This reflects our view that places are, by their natures, full of diverse perspectives, and these perspectives should be celebrated. In a world of social media platforms, STORYBOX aims to be an inclusive space for insights and perspective that create meaningful connection, not just connection for the sake of it.

All our partnerships are not-for-profit, which means we invest partnership fees into new curatorial and creative work by local creatives and storytellers. We also offer honorary fees for anything that we feature on the STORYBOX outdoors.

The other point about STORYBOX? We're led by a team of passionate creatives, storytellers, producers video makers and technical designers. ESEM Projects have been working on digital storytelling and digital placemaking projects for the better part of the last decade. Founder, Dr. Sarah Barns, is someone who loves and loathes what digital innovation means for our cities, and creates public interest projects and platforms in service of better places.

STORYBOX has been a labour of love for many years-in-the-making, inspired by many ideas, projects and conversations about working differently in public spaces. We can't thank our supporters, partners and advisers enough for joining us on this journey.

If you'd like to stay in touch and hear more about STORYBOX news, please do follow us on Instagram. Yes, we'll have a newsletter soon. In the meantime, stay well!


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