The Story 2017

The Story 2017 was, as usual, held at The Conway Hall, London, on Friday, February 17th. The speakers at The Story 2017 were:

Nikesh Shukla is a writer. His debut novel, Coconut Unlimited, was published by Quartet Books and shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2010 and longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2011. In 2011 he co-wrote an essay about the London riots for Random House with Kieran Yates, Generation Vexed: What the Riots Don’t Tell Us About Our Nation’s Youth. His second novel, Meatspace, was published by The Friday Project. ‘Like Douglas Coupland’s Generation X,’ according to the Guardian, ‘this novel captures a cultural moment.’ Nikesh is the editor of the essay collection, The Good Immigrantwhere 21 British writers of colour discuss race and immigration in the UK.

Kate Clanchy is a writer and teacher. She has won the Forward Prize and the BBC National Short Story Award for her own writing, but is just as excited by the work of her students in a multicultural school. Her essay The Very Quiet Foreign Girls Poetry Group was one of the most beautiful and inspirational things we’ve read in the last year, so we’re really glad she can join us at The Story in February.

Ingrid Burrington writes, makes maps, and tells jokes about places, politics, and the weird feelings people have about both. She’s the author of Networks of New York: An Illustrated Field Guide to Urban Internet Infrastructure and an artist in residence at Data and Society Research Institute. 

Born in Nigeria, Inua Ellams is a cross art form practitioner, a poet, playwright & performer, graphic artist & designer and founder of the Midnight Run — an international, arts-filled, night-time, playful, urban, walking experience. Across his work, Identity, Displacement & Destiny are reoccurring themes in which he also tries to mix the old with the new: traditional african storytelling with contemporary poetry, pencil with pixel, texture with vector images. His three books of poetry are published by Flipped Eye and Akashic Books, and several plays by Oberon.

Lynsey Hanley was born in Birmingham and lives in Liverpool. She is the author of Estates: An Intimate History, and Respectable: The Experience of Class. She is a regular contributor to the Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement.

David Conn is a multi-award-winning journalist for the Guardian newspaper, widely respected as one of the foremost investigative writers on HillsboroughOrgreave, the business of football, Fifa, and other social and financial issues. He has been awarded the UK’s sports news reporter of the year a record three times, in 2004, 2009 and 2013, and sports journalist of the year in the British Journalism Awards in 2013. Last month he was awarded North West football journalist of the year 2016 for his “stand out investigative work” on the Hillsborough disaster and inquests. He has three times been named football writer of the year by the Football Supporters Federation.

He is the author of three acclaimed books critically investigating and chronicling English football’s commercial transformation since the formation of the Premier League, and including chapters on Hillsborough: The Football Business (1997), The Beautiful Game?: Searching For The Soul Of Football (2004), and Richer Than God: Manchester City, Modern Football And Growing Up (2012)David’s latest book is an in-depth account of the corruption scandals at Fifa, football’s world governing body, which is due to be published by Penguin / Random House in June 2017. 

His 2009 article for the Guardian detailing the bereaved Hillsborough families’ continuing campaign for justice prompted the then Labour ministers Andy Burnham and Maria Eagle to press for all official documents relating to the disaster to be released. That led to the report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel in 2012, the quashing of the first inquest the same year, and holding of new inquests which reached a verdict in April 2016 of unlawful killing and exonerated Liverpool supporters of any misbehaviour causing the disaster, as persistently claimed by South Yorkshire police. David covered the two-year long new inquests extensively for the Guardian and was widely acclaimed for his in-depth coverage and analysis following the conclusion of the proceedings and verdicts of unlawful killing.

In 2012 he first made the link with Hillsborough and South Yorkshire police brutality, alleged fabrication of evidence and perjury at Orgreave during the 1984-85 miners strike, leading to the campaign for an inquiry which the Conservative government finally turned down last month.

Clara Gaggero Westaway is the Co-founder & Creative Director of Special ProjectsClara is an intrepid designer, inventor and creative director committed to enriching the lives of people through hopeful product innovation. Whether this means helping the elderly to engage with technology, reimagining the playground, or devising systems that help us focus on the present, Clara’s concepts bring empathy, optimism and clarity to where society needs it.

The daughter of a mechanical engineer and a fashion boutique owner, she studied industrial design in Italy before setting up her own fashion label in Berlin, only to get back into design engineering a few years later, this time in London. Her design method is defined by integrating seemingly disparate realms and elements: art and engineering, purpose and aestheticism, the physical and the digital.

When she’s not working at Special Projects, Clara is a design-thinking speaker and visiting senior lecturer at the Royal College of Art, at Queen Mary University of London and a faculty member of Oxford University Said Business School OSLP.

Helen Andrews is the Deputy MD and Iain Tait is the ECD at W+K London. Weiden + Kennedy are 35 years old in 2017, and are still independent. We’ve long been fans of their work and culture, and in particular the experiment started by Andrews & Tait earlier this year to change the culture of the workplace at W+K. Advertising is notorious for expecting teams to work late nights and weekends, so in March this year Andrews & Tait started an experiment to change the culture at W+K London. They now have no meetings before 10 or after 4pm, and have a ban on sending or reading work emails after 7pm.

Almost a year after the experiment started, we’ve asked Helen and Iain to come and talk about the impact it’s had on their work and culture, and what W+K have learnt from 35 years of independence.

Ewen Spencer began shooting for visually driven style magazines, such as Sleazenation and The Face, with an emphasis on youth culture. His project Teenagers was shortlisted for the 2014 Discovery Award at Rencontres D’Arles and his four-part documentary film series Street, Sound and Style written directed and narrated by Ewen, was broadcast on Channel4 in 2015, posing questions later explored in a 2016 series, Oh My Mosch, considering British menswear’s obsession with flamboyant Italian menswear designers.

Cover artwork created by Ewen for bands such as The Streets and The White Stripes has led to significant advertising commissions and campaigns. Ewen’s new imprint, See W, created in partnership with Olivia Gideon Thomson, publishes photobooks, focusing on youth and subculture research, photography and writing.

Clare Patey is the Director of the Empathy Museum. Clare is an award winning artist and curator who creates participatory installations, performances and exhibitions. She was the director of the Museum Of, The Ministry of Trying to Do Something About It and curated Feast on the Bridge for the Thames Festival. Launched in 2015, the Empathy Museum is the first experiential arts space dedicated to helping us all look at the world through other people’s eyes. By touring internationally, it explores how empathy can not only transform our personal relationships but also help tackle global challenges such as prejudice, conflict and inequality.

Patrick Tresset is a London based artist who develops and presents  theatrical installations with robotic agents as actors which are evocations of humanness. Tresset’s installations use computational systems that introduce artistic, expressive and obsessive aspects to robots’ behaviour. These systems are influenced by research into human behaviour, more specifically how artists make marks that depict, how humans perceive artworks and how humans relate to robots. Tresset  develops robots and autonomous computational systems to produce series of drawings, paintings and animations.

Tresset’s work has been exhibited in association with major museums and institutions such as The Pompidou Center, Museum of Israel, Victoria & Albert Museum (London), Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Seoul), BOZAR (Brussels), Prada Foundation (Milan) and at events such as Ars Electronica, Update_5, WRO2015, Merge festival.

Lara Pawson was born in London, a city she left at sixteen for a hamlet in Somerset. Between 1996 and 2007, Lara worked as a journalist, mainly for the BBC World Service. She lived and travelled widely in Angola, Ivory Coast, Mali and Ghana, and also reported from Namibia, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Niger and São Tomé & Príncipe.

She is the author of This Is The Place To Be, a fragmentary memoir which was published in September 2016 with CB editions. It is based on the long looping monologue, Non Correspondence, which was directed by Forced Entertainment’s Tim Etchells and performed by Cathy Naden at the Battersea Arts Centre for the London International Festival of Theatre 2014, After A War.

In the Name of the People: Angola’s Forgotten Massacre (IB Tauris, 2014) was her first book. It was nominated for several awards and longlisted for The Orwell Prize 2015. It was translated as Em Nome Do Povo: O massacre que Angola silenciou (Ediçôes Tinta da China, 2014).

Victoria Mapplebeck is an award winning Artist, Writer and Film Director. In 1999, she wrote and directed Channel 4’s first interactive documentary series, Smart Hearts, in which web cams streamed from the subjects homes for over 18 months. The series explored the ways in which interactive technologies would change the ways the  subjects interacted with each other and the ways in which the  audience interacted with them . Smart Hearts was described as ‘hypnotic and compulsive’ by The Guardian and nominated for the 2001 New Media Indie Award.   

Victoria’s recent short film, 160 Characters is an adaptation of her illustrated memoir which lifts the lid on the stories and secrets buried in a vintage Nokia. Shot on an iPhone 6, this hybrid documentary makes a unique contribution to an evolving and innovative mode of smartphone filmmaking and interactive storytelling.

160 Characters was officially selected for the 2015 BFI London Film Festival and was selected for the Innovation category of the 2016 AHRC Research in Film Awards160 Characters will launch on Short of the Week in winter 2016 and was showcased in a six week exhibition of Victoria’s work at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead which opened in November 2016.

The host for The Story this year was the awesome Sharna Jackson. We’ve known Sharna for ages at Storythings, as she has weaved her storymaking magic at places like Tate, Hopster and Lost My Name. She recently wrote this brilliant 5 Things I Learned for us about her work with kids and digital storytelling.

Previous speakers at The Story include Nelly Ben Hayoun, Simon Munnery, Laura Dockrill, Alan Rusbridger, James Bridle, Gruff Rhys, Cornelia Parker, Matthew Plummer-Fernandez, Kati London and many many more. You can see lists of speakers at previous here – 2010201120122013201420152016.