The Storysmash Toolkit

Since 2017 the Storysmash project has been working primarily with young people from across Nottingham aged between 11 and 25. The project has been delivering sessions on developing computer games (Twine) and using more traditional role-playing and board games as a catalyst for creativity.

During the young people’s journey they’ve discovered a little bit about coding for their Twine games, creating characters and settings along with plots. We’ve seen everything from Siberian Tigers who work as bodyguards to Mouse Detectives who have had their doughnuts stolen, from Dark Elf heroes to the trials and stresses faced by students at University. The young people who participated found out the power of descriptive language and concepts such as “the illusion of choice”.

In our first year we ran 73 Twine workshops in St Ann’s Valley, Aspley, Clifton, Bulwell Riverside and Nottingham Central Libraries as well as additional sessions in Thorneywood Hospital and Home Education Learning Centre and HMP Nottingham. We have also been honoured to have had 11 leading authors and professionals share their experience, and these have been; Dean Wilkinson, Ian Livingstone, Gabrielle Kent, Tony White, Rob Yescombe, Jeff Noon, Stuart Hill, Charlie Higson, Panya Banjoko and Kim Slater.

In what was an exciting first year, Storysmash reached an audience of 1083 participants, has created gaming hotspots in 5 libraries: St Ann’s Valley, Aspley, Clifton, Bulwell Riverside and Nottingham Central. A group of 11 – 25 year olds have also formed a Storysmash group who meet at Central Library on a fortnightly basis where they develop their Twine games and take part in roleplaying game sessions. That same group created their first Twine game called Horizon – Chapter 1 and it is ranked 10th out of over 9000 games.

We have developed a Storysmash Toolkit for:
KS3 English teachers
Library staff

The toolkit provides an overview of the Storysmash journey, some of the lessons learned and challenges that we faced. There is also a comprehensive teaching guide along with lesson plans (including scaffolding and stretch goals), additional notes and resources.

As a final comment, we can’t help but feel humbled and in awe of the young people we’ve worked with whose creativity has been staggering and ultimately an inspiration to us.