It was Terry Pratchett who coined the term ‘narrativium’ as the element upon which we humans run.
It was New Optimist Jack Cohen who describes us humans as pan narrans, the storytelling ape rather than homo sapiens. (And Jack and mathematician Ian Stewart joined forces with Terry Pratchett to write the Science of Discworld series, and thereby became Honorary Wizards of the Unseen University with due ceremony at the University of Warwick.)
The facts and stats of science have little easy appeal for many people. Yet, as Terry so memorably illustrates, all humans like a good story.
That’s why Kate Cooper set up the Narrativium Projects in early 2014 to ‘translate’ the scientist and expert input within the Birmingham 2050 Scenarios Project (which was about possible food futures for the city).
We’re adding to these projects with, to date:
- The Hand That Feeds: A musical about food crime; see this recently edited 46-second YouTube video including interviews with Professor Chris Elliott and Sorting the beef from the bull author Nicola Temple:
We are currently designing a performance pack so that other communities and social organisations can put this show on too.
- A Youth Programme: A series of visual arts projects we’ve just started, curated by Ian Sergeant whose photo below is byMarcin Szas part of the Reimaging Donald Rodney exhibition:
We’ll shortly be announcing a fine art commission, news about a graffit project (legal, sure) and the development of photography platform.
And the list continues:
- Archetypal households: A data research and writing project led by Suriya Roberts-Grey
- Action Research: Birmingham as a laboratory, a programme of projects to find out how the city can contribute to global food resilience and security, as well as our local needs. (Some of these projects are ‘sapiens’ evidence based stuff, some ‘narrativium’ to amplify the programme impact.)
- City of 1000 meals: An NCASS partnership.
We’re designing the means by which we can record info about 1000 meals prepared and eaten in good company across the city.
- The Game: The Game (working title: Nine Meals) is designed to enable decision-makers better understand the threats facing our food supplies, and how to respond to them.
note: Kate transferred the IP from the CIC that produced the food crime musical to the Birmingham Food Council CIC in 2018.This IP also included:
- The Elliott Review Birmingham; our ‘best case scenario’ is copied word-for-word in the Elliott Review into the integrity and assurance of food supply networks published by HM Government in 2014. (Yup, we get the last word.)
- The Birmingham 2050 Scenarios project exploring possible food futures for the city along with the Narrativium Projects associated with it:
— One family, Four stories
— Food Futures designed and developed by four young artists under the direction of Graeme Rose, with original musical score by David Allen Grey and performed at mac birmingham.
The artists were Jenny Lee, Carl Sealeaf, Katherine Hannaford and Sipho Eric Dube (image right, as a Worcestershire farmer beset by floods)