!F L!Flab logoB2018

Interactive factual lab

!F LAB 2015-2018 !F Lab - the Interfactual Lab - helps creatives to produce and develop their digital interactive factual stories. We enable talented creatives to tell impactful stories using digital technology. Since the very first edition of !F Lab in 2015, we have been focused on offering a stimulating space to experiment, to work transdisciplinary and trans-sectoral, to generate know-how and to let a professional network expand in the field of interactive storytelling.  

Build your interactive story from idea to prototype.

Incubated by !DROPS

METHO-

DOLOGY

WHAT IS !F LAB?

!F Lab stands for Interactive Factual Lab - a guided development process for the next generation of storytellers. It is a space for new ideas, experimentation and coproduction across digital and creative forms. The output could be an app, a game, a VR project, a web-docs or something still to be invented. We bring you step by step from ideation to prototyping your projects. !F Lab is where code meets storytelling, walking the unmapped territory between documentary, journalism, social communication and web design. !F Lab is an iDrops initiative led by Sandra Gaudenzi and delivered with support from Creative Europe. It consists of a 5-day Story booster, during which you develop your project idea, and a 5-day Prototype booster, during which you build your actual prototype. During, in between and after the boosters you will be guided by our team of expert coaches. What is interactive factual storytelling? ‘Interactive factual storytelling’ is any project that starts with an intention to document ‘the real’, and aims to do so using digital interactive technology. You may also hear us referring to them as IF narratives or interfactuals. We have chosen to use this terminology in !F Lab - rather than the other common names: i-docs, or webdocs – to be inclusive and acknowledge that this genre is broader than documentary only. Our aim is to create a neutral space, where all platforms and formats are equal, to explore one question: how can we communicate our factual stories, today, using interactive media? If you need some examples, take a look at this playlist curated by Sandra Gaudenzi for MIT’s Docubase or browse !F Lab’s Resources for inspiration.

WHY !F LAB?

WHY NOW?

We have been developing our own methodology and work processes, and this makes us unique. We go beyond inspirational talks, we “make” with you. !F Lab begins from the understanding that the genre has not yet developed a production language of its own. The emphasis is on learning through practical experimentation and the freedom to explore ideas unhindered by prior bias or assumption. Rather than borrowing ill-adapted methodologies from documentary formats, !F Lab seeks to merge complementary elements of idea development in design and storytelling into an original process, placing the user firmly at the control panel.

WHO IS IT FOR?

If you have an idea for an interactive factual story, for an app for change, or are working in tech and have a desire to create around meaningful subject matter, we’d love to hear from you.   We welcome individuals and professional teams from a broad spectrum of backgrounds and industries: coding, web design, games design, journalism, documentary filmmaking, photography, video production, television, radio, education, social activism, the arts and creative industries.   You do not need to have your own project, and no previous experience in webdocs or interactive factual storytelling is necessary.   We are particularly interested to hear from coders and designers who could join teams of storytellers and help them to develop their ideas into an interactive format.   A discount is applicable for teams of more than one. Ideally each team would send one creative and one technical representative to participate in !F Lab.  
The focus of !F Lab is on factual stories, however we recognise that sometimes the line between fact and fiction can be a little blurred...   If you are not sure whether !F Lab is for you, please get in touch.  
fees               get in touch

BOOSTERS!

1

STORY BOOSTER

8 May - 12 May 2018

Riga - Latvia

2

PROTOTYPE BOOSTER

1 July - 5 July 2018

Ghent - Belgium

What is your story, why is it interactive and who is it for? Start drafting your first project treatment with us!

Story Booster is the first of our two workshops. During five days we will work together to consolidate your story and test its strength. Does your idea have legs? Is there a clear value proposition for the user? What should its platform and shape be? Is it feasible technically and financially? You will be coached by our dedicated !F Lab trainers and benefit from the input of guest speakers and international experts in the field.

At Story Booster you will:

– Learn about user-centred storytelling – put your user at the controls!
– Apply this to your project – make user personas, user flows and wireframes
– Develop your idea – paper prototype from an early stage
– Learn the theory – tutorials in interactive design and story dynamics
– Hone your idea – practice your elevator pitch
– Collaborate – brainstorm with other teams, work and re-work your idea with your own team
– Test your ideas – present them to others
– Think about finances! – do your business canvas and assets maps from day one.

Prototype Booster is set over five days and aims at giving a first digital skin to your project. Here is where you will mix with extra developers and designers to work on your first digital prototype, or to elaborate on the work you have already done. It is about going one step up on the production scale and pitch your idea to a professional panel of experts.

Guiding you through all the essential areas of idea development, Story Booster and Prototype Booster enable you to gain skills in story ideation, prototyping, user testing, user experience, budgeting, interface design, agile development, coding, digital strategy, pitching, funding and marketing.

Take a look at our Liveblog for a taste of !F Lab 2017!

To get the most from !F Lab you need to participate to both the Boosters, as this guides you through the entire process and entitles you to professional mentoring between events. However, if you want to join us without a project, you can attend one Booster only. Contact us to discuss your specific case.

HOW

MUCH

DOES IT

COST?

The !F Lab training programme consists of two 5-day events, the Story Booster and the Prototype Booster, over a total of 5 months. They are led by internationally renowned coaches with the added contribution of ad-hoc specialists. To get the full !F Lab experience you need to participate in both Boosters, as this guides you through the entire process and entitles you to professional mentoring between events. However, if you want to join us without a project, you can attend one Booster only. The 2018 participation fee for the complete training is 1.100 Euro. If you are already working in a team for your project, a discounted rate of 750 euro is applicable for every added team member. Ideally each team sends one creative practitioner and one technical practitioner to !F Lab.

COACHES

Our coaches from the 2018 edition: Sandra Gaudenzi, Mike Robbins and Jiannis Sotiropoulos Many thanks for their participation and unbelievable dedication to !F Lab and foremost to the participating projects. They were there to guide them through each development phase, advice and motivate where possible. Boosters also feature inspirational sessions with digital makers and special guests with expertise in finance, budgeting, distribution and pitching.
Sandra Gaudenzi
Sandra is the Head of Studies of !F LAB. As such she curates and designs the workshops and has initiated the !F LAB methodology (see the WHAT IF IT Process). She is an international expert in interactive narratives and does research in all new forms of digital storytelling. She is Senior Lecturer at the University of Westminster where she has launched the disLAB MA (digital and interactive storytelling LAB), UK’s first practice based interactive non-fiction MA. She also co-organises i-Docs Conference and research group, University of the West of England. There, she published the book “i-docs: the Evolving Practices of Interactive Documentary” (2017).
Mike Robbins
Mike is Creative Technologist and a partner at Helios Design Labs, where he has been for the last 15 years. He oversees the interactive part of Helios' creative output. Recent storytelling projects that he has worked on include The Disaster Resilience Journal with the European Red Cross, Highrise with Kat Cizek and the NFB, Offshore with Brenda Longfellow, or 17,000 Islands with Thomas Østbye and Edwin. His work has collectively won a number of major awards and nominations, including a Peabody for Short History of Highrise, an Emmy and has been featured in such venues as IDFA, Sheffield DocFest, smartFip@, Bristol iDocs, MIT Docubase and other.
Jiannis Sotiropoulos
Jiannis is a Berlin-based creative technologist exploring the borders between game, interaction and participation in cross-platform storytelling. He established Honig Studios to produce story-driven experiences that are playful and memorable across multiple platforms. He has led the creative development of interactive experiences, games and apps for ARTE, the Red Cross, Universal Music, Sony, HABA, Schmidt Spiele and others.
EXPERTS FROM PREVIOUS EDITIONS: Clint Beharry (US), Creative Technologist at Within Liz Rosenthal (UK), founder of Power to the Pixel, digital film and media expert Wim Forceville (BE), founder of FisheyeVR and independent VR Producer Jill Vanparys (BE), !F Lab alumni and expert in game design Jens Franssen (BE), is a Belgian journalist (VRT NWS) and has extended experience in using VR and 360 in journalism Voyelle Acker (FR), finances and business development expert Elie Levasseur (FR), is a French matchmaker and event organizer with a focus on AV Digital content. Thomas Meynen (BE), is a game designer and interactive developer
RESULTS & PROJECTS  
Projects that came to !F Lab and have been launched   !F Lab 2017 Zuzana Ticha and Zdenek Chaloupka: Forgotten War An interactive web documentary about East Ukraine   Michaela Pnacekova en Jan Joost Verhoef: Pre-Crime Immerse yourself in the world of Predictive Policing, where predictions are made based on data and algorithms, and where everyone is a potential suspect   Tomas Tamosaitis: Killer, Penguin, Tom, Doll Face A story of socially excluded and alienated teenagers, who live in the Universe - the HOUSE for troubled - where the usual laws of space and time do not apply.   June Owens: Föhrenwald Children “Föhrenwald Children” are Jewish children who experienced their childhood in refugee camps after World War II and the Holocaust.   !F Lab 2016
Jill Vanparys: Ava-Trix iPad educational project that storifies curiosity and encourages school girls to be interested in science and technology   Hanna Partanen: Narrativors of History An interactive documentary project about historical narratives and how our perception of the past can intensify conflicts, but also be the key to peace.  
Paula Onet: 4GenWomen Stories about families with 4 generations of women under one roof in different countries and cultures.   Brad Gyori en Matthew Charles: Bactrim An immersive and interactive documentary game that exposes the atrocities of Colombia’s paramilitary forces in one of its most violent regions.  
!F Lab 2015 Edorta Arana: Tirabirak An original look at the Basque conflict through newspaper cartoons from 1977 to 2016.   Shirin Anlen: Tzina Symphony of Longing A VR project about capturing the Tzina square (Tel Aviv) before its demolition.   Britt Wray: Aurator A public engagement platform for “frank speech” about the culture of synthetic biology.   Laure Cops en Wouter Vanmol: The Golden Forest An interactive documentary intended for those who stay behind after suicide. Through innovative personal storytelling, taboos get broken and an alternative is offered: the power of human resilience.  

TESTIMONIALS

We are there for the makers of interactive stories. We try to give them room and freedom to experiment with their ideas and explore the available technology. We try to push them and challenge them, so that both the projects get better as well as the potential of the technology is stretched to (and beyond) its limits.   We keep in touch with our alumni and we do our best to help them with the further development of their skills and projects, where we can. We are continuously building our network of makers, producers and investors, trying to make the field as a whole profit from each other as much as possible.  
 
“Learning, playing, meeting creative people, interesting teachers and beautiful projects.” - Laura
“Learning, playing, meeting creative people, interesting teachers and beautiful projects.” - Laura
“Learning, playing, meeting creative people, interesting teachers and beautiful projects.” - Scot
“Learning, playing, meeting creative people, interesting teachers and beautiful projects.” - Scot

FEES &

SCHOLARSHIPS

PARTICIPATION FEE   The !F Lab training programme consists of two 5-day events, the Story Booster and the Prototype Booster, over a total of 5 months. They are led by internationally renowned coaches with the added contribution of ad-hoc specialists. The Lab is set up to guide you through the entire design process, from concept consolidation to digital prototype, so it is required to attend both boosters. Some exceptions are possible, especially if you want to join us without a project. In that case do get in touch. The 2018 participation fee for the complete training is 1.100 Euro. If you are already working in a team for your project, a discounted rate of 750 euro is applicable for every added team member. Ideally each team sends one creative practitioner and one technical practitioner to !F Lab. If you do not have a project and want to learn about our methodology or be an observer helping the other participants, you can attend one booster. Contact us to discuss your specific case.  

REGISTRATION

Tell us about yourself and your interactive factual project idea! Registration is now closed. We had another amazing edition of !F Lab, April - August 2018, with VR, AR (Hololens), an interactive exhibition, webplatforms, apps, an archive web-doc, and much more, addressing topics such as autism, children's emotional world, Polish artists, Luxembourgian work migration to Brazil, WWII refugees to Sweden, personal data and future technology or alarm clock stories. Stay tuned for more news on !F Lab and the next edition.
REGISTRATION CLOSED

CONTACT

The !F Lab team is always interested to explore co-operation possibilities with funders, broadcasters, (interactive) technology hubs, creative media networks, and others. Or if you are a maker, are exploring interactive digital technology, and think we should know about you, do get in touch: iflab@idrops.be
 
To stay up to date with all our newest developments you can follow us through: Facebook & Twitter.  
!F Lab has been set up by !DROPS, in close co-operation with Sandra Gaudenzi, who is our Head of Studies. !DROPS is a social innovation agency. We co-create answers to social issues, both close to home as well as across borders. We believe in the power of people. We work in an interdisciplinary way and we see arts and technology as the tools per se to address these issues. We try to stimulate people in a positive way and bring out their talents in a complex society. We aim for a liveable 21st century for everyone. Our expertise is currently focused on six global topics: superdiversity, care, global development, sustainability, community building and new learning. We reach results with guts and confidence.

PARTNERS